At the SMM 2nd Asian Women’s U23 Volleyball Championship, Japan and Thailand snatched the final two slots to the 2017 U23 World Championships. The U23 World Championships will be held in Slovenia later this year from September 10-17.
This is the second time in a row that Thailand has secured their spot in the finals of the Asian U23 Championships. The Thai squad took down Vietnam in straight sets 3-0, (25-21, 25-15, 25-20). In the last edition of the Asian competition, Thailand was downed by China, becoming the runner-ups of the tournament. For Thailand Chatchu-on Moksri was the top-scorer on the team with 15 points, 11 of which were kills while Pimpichaya Kokram added another 12 points to the Thai tally.
In the other semifinal matchup, Japan was able to take down Chinese Taipei in a four-set match 3-1, (25-18, 27-29, 25-22, 25-10). For Japan, Misaki Yamauchi posted a team-best 21 points, with 18 being kills while Hikari Kato and Sakamoto added 18 and 16 points, respectively.
In the finals of the competition, Japan was able to make a comeback over Thailand to claim the title 3-2, (20-25, 16-25, 25-19, 27-25, 15-12). The first two sets were all Thailand, but Japan fought back, to tie the match up at 2-2. In the final set, the score was tight for most of the set, but Japan was able to push forward to take the match 15-12.
In the bronze medal match, Vietnam- in their first ever Asian U23 Championships- was able to take down Chinese Taipei in a three-set sweep 3-0, (25-20, 25-19, 25-19). This is the first time that Vietnam has claimed a top-three finish at any Asian competition.
Kazakhstan was too strong for Hong Kong, taking them down in a three-set sweep 3-0, (25-17, 25-13, 25-15) to finish fifth at the competition. Coming in seventh place was Malaysia with a tough five-set match over Iran 3-2, (25-23, 22-25, 25-23, 22-25, 15-13). Malaysia was led by Low Mei Cing who dominated the floor with 30 points, with 27 being kills. Ending the tournament in ninth place was Uzbekistan as they took down Australia in four 3-1, (25-23, 25-21, 23-25, 26-24).
Outside Hitters: Chatchu-on Moksri (Thailand) & Tran Thi Thanh Thuy (Vietnam).
Setter: Miki Sakurai (Japan).
Opposite: Pimpichaya Kokram (Thailand).
Middle Blockers: Ayaka Sugi (Japan) & Hathairat Jarat (Thailand).
Libero: Lai Xiang-Chen (Chinese Taipei).
MVP: Misaki Yamauchi (Japan).
U23 World Championship Teams
- South America: Argentina, Brazil
- Europe: Bulgaria, Slovenia, Turkey
- NORCECA: Cuba, Dominican Republic
- Africa: Egypt, Kenya
- Asia: Japan, Thailand