China makes bright start at FIVB VNL Macao 2019

The FIVB Women’s Volleyball Nations League (VNL) Macao 2019, sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) and jointly organized by the Sports Bureau of the Macao SAR Government and the Volleyball Association of Macao, China, kicked off today at the Macao Forum.  Hosts China made a good start with a straight-set triumph over Thailand, while Korea secured their first win of this year’s VNL campaign by defeating Belgium.

In the first match of the day, Korea dominated Belgium on route to a 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-21) victory. It was a back and forth affair early in the first set as both teams struggled to find their form. The score remained close until Kim Se Young came to the service line for Korea. She powered down an ace and then forced a poor pass on the following serve which propelled her team to the first significant lead at 13-9. This gave the Koreans some momentum and they continued to build on their lead until Park Eunjin came to the service line to close out the set with some more impressive serving.

The Koreans continued with the strong serving in set two as Lee Dayeong got her team out to a quick 2-0 lead. Consistent play by the Koreans helped them jump out to a four-point lead at the first technical timeout. Korea continued to grow its lead with a varied attack and remained in control for the remainder of the set.

The final set was a wild affair as Korea roared out to a 14-3 lead. It appeared the Koreans were in for an easy win but it was the Belgians who turned things around with some emotional play and battled back to trail 14-16 at the second technical timeout. This forced the Korean coach to make several substitutions which eventually halted their opponents advance. Korea maintained a two-point lead the rest of the way before closing out the set 25-21.

Kim Heejin lead Korea with 16 kills and one block while Lee Juah and Kang Sohwi chipped in three aces each. Britt Herbots was the top performer for Belgium with 13 kills.

Roared on by the home fans, China scored a impressive 3-0 (25-21, 25-17, 25-9) win over Thailand. China’s Yuan Xinyue made her presence felt early in this match, compiling three kills and one block before the first technical time-out in set one. While China had the lead for the majority of the set, the Thai squad never trailed by more than three points. When Thailand pulled to within one point at 20-21, Zhu Ting came in off the bench and helped her team regain a three-point lead. It was Zhu who closed out set one with a powerful kill from the right side.

Set two saw Thailand jump out to an early 8-6 lead, thanks to strong plays at the net from Pleumjit Thinkaow. Although they trailed by two at the first technical timeout, it was China who responded to take a four-point lead at the second technical timeout. A Thai hitting error gave the Chinese an 18-13 lead and the Thai team never recovered. China took set two 25-17.

China jumped out to an early 9-3 lead in set three, thanks in part to Li Yingying who scored at will from the left side. The Chinese kept up the pressure and built a 16-point lead before closing out the final set 25-9.

Gong Xiangyu led China with 12 kills while Yuan Xinyue added nine kills and two aces. Chatchu-On Moksri was the leader for Thailand with eight kills and one ace.

Thailand takes on Korea in the early match tomorrow while China and Belgium will meet in the evening match. A limited number of remaining tickets for tomorrow’s match will be on sale at 3:30pm at the Macao Forum.  Tickets purchased online can be redeemed at the ticketing counter at the Macao Forum upon presentation of valid receipt and personal identification document, starting two hours before the first match commences. Tickets for the final day (May 30) are sold out.

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