Volleyball team picks up third win
World No. 9 Korea shook off some sloppy play against 33rd-ranked Chinese Taipei to prevail 3-0 (25-22, 25-13, 25-19) in Pool E action in the second round at the Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship at Jamsil Arena in Seoul.
After the preliminary action of the 13-team tournament, the top two teams from each of the four groups advanced to the second round and were split into Pool E and Pool F. The two best teams from each of those groups will reach Saturday’s semifinals.
The eight nations in the second round here have also booked their spots in the Asian Olympic qualifying tournament in January next year.
Chinese Taipei, which fielded an inexperienced team with five teenagers, gave Korea all it could handle in the first set, battling back from an early 6-2 deficit to force a 13-13 tie.
Two wing spikers, Kim Yeon-koung and Lee Jae-yeong, came to the rescue for Korea, overwhelming the opponents with successive spikes. Korea pulled ahead to a 21-15 lead.
Chinese Taipei refused to go away and clawed back to make it 23-22, thanks in large part to Korean turnovers. But Korea benefited from Chinese Taipei’s miscues at the end, eking out a 25-22 win in the opening set.
Korea continued to have trouble against the pesky opponent in the second set. But after building a 7-6 lead, Korea reeled off eight consecutive points to take control of the set and the match. Kim Yeon-koung remained deadly from all over the court, while opposite spiker Kim Hee-jin also contributed to the 25-13 win in the second set.
But a seesaw match ensued again in the third set. After Chinese Taipei got the first point, Korea went on an 8-1 run and appeared to be in full control.
Chinese Taipei hung tough, though, and battled back to make it 10-10. Korea dug deep to put together a 9-2 run and closed out the match at 25-19.
Kim Yeon-koung, who’d only played parts of the first sets against Iran and Hong Kong, played the entire match on Thursday.
Korea is hosting the Asian championship for the first time. It has never won the biennial event, which began in 1975, and has had seven runner-up finishes.