Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, September 4, 2023 – Thailand faced a daunting challenge from Vietnam to stun the AVC Challenge Cup winners with comeback 3-1 (23-25, 25-14, 25-19, 25-23) win in their last Top 8 clash in Pool E in the 22nd Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship at Chartchai Hall here on Monday. Church-On Moksri and Ajcharaporn Kongyot scored 15 points apiece for Thailand, while Pimpichayakorn Kokram added another 13 points. Rookie Vi Thi Nhu Quynh, the youngest player in the Vietnamese team, delivered 20 points including 18 attacks from 56 attempts.
Both teams came out in full force to trade attacks from the beginning of the opening set. Thailand fielded a formidable line up with the likes of Pimpichaya Kokram, Ajcharaporn Kongyot and hard-hitting Sasipapron Janthawisut , while Vietnam also sent in a strong roster led by star spiker Tran Thi Thanh Thuy.
The first set saw the host side take a narrow 12-9 lead when Sasipapron landed powerful hits and Ajcharaporn unleashed cross-court spikes. Thailand extended the lead to 19-16 before Vietnam fought back hard, with Thanh Thuy producing powerful back-row attacks and rookie Vi Thi Nhu Quynh tearing the Thai defence with her thundering mid-court attacks to help the strong visitors catch up with the host side at 22-22 and went on their superb form to take the hard-fought first set 25-23.
Conceding one set, Thailand replaced Sasipapron with sensation Chatchu-On Moksri and the team quickly established a narrow 5-4 lead before winning 8 points in a row, courtesy of Ajcharaporn’s spectacular attacks and Chatchu-Ok showcasing her prowess with swift counter-attacks and ace serves. As Thailand set an early pace 14-5, the 193cm-tall Thanh Thuy overcame the smaller blockers with her attacks, but the host side still gained control to stretch it to 23-13, allowing one more point from Vi Thi Nhu Quint’s attack to close out the one-sided set 25-14.
In the third set, Vietnam rested Thanh Thuy for the whole set. Thailand and Vietnam put on a good fight, but the former proved a cut above the opponents to get back in front 16-13 and rolled on their rhythm to stretch it to 23-15. Chatchu-On handed Thailand the set point at 24-18, but the Vietnamese were never-say-die as they recovered to win some crucial points. As Vietnamese narrowed the margin 19-24, a Vo Thi Kim Thoa’s serve went to the net and that cost them dear as Thailand finally took the set 25-19.
Vietnam still played the fourth set without Thanh Thuy, but they remained in good form. As Thailand led 4-1, Vietnam clawed their way back to trail the host side narrowly 15-18 and 18-20. However, the host team still had enough to hold them off. With Chatchu-On, Wipawee and Pimpichaya on fire, Thailand advanced 23-19 before Pimpichaya hammered a super spike to hand the team the set point at 24-20. The Vietnamese scored three points in a row to reduce the gap 23-24. Finally, Thailand made short work of the visitors, with Wipawee overcoming the blockers with her great attack to end the Vietnamese challenge.
Thailand had 9 points from three successive wins to top Pool E, followed by Vietnam with 5 points from 2 wins against one loss. Korea came in third place with 4 points from one win against two losses, with Australia finishing fourth position with no point awarded.