Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan, July 18, 2018 – Thailand’s Supreme retained their crown.
at the SMM 2018 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship after winning 3-2 against Japan’s NEC Red Rockets (13-25, 25-21, 25-18, 20-25, 16-14) in Wednesday’s riveting championship match at the Boris Alexandrov Sports Palace.
Supreme’s Chatchu-On Moksri and Ajcharaporn Kongyot were the top scorers for the champion team, charting 21 points each. Japanese hitter Nanami Hirose delivered an astounding performance for the runners-up, with a total of 31 points on the board.
Japan’s NEC Red Rockets launched into an 8-2 lead at the first technical time-out, working on their fast-paced yet carefully orchestrated offense. They also worked hard on floor defense to run effective counter-attacks. Misaki Yamauchi and Hirose provided ample firepower to help surge into 16-6 at the second TTO. Supreme enlisted Moksri from the bench, to help amplify their attacks, but the Japan club built a huge lead early on, to win 25-13 in the first set.
In the second set, Supreme saw good rhythm in their plays, enabling Kongyot from the wing and the backline. They also utilized more combination plays to try and match the spread-out offense of their opponents. The Thai club’s single-point lead at the second TTO increased further as their opponents made errors in attack. Supreme took the second set with 25-21.
A close contest ensued by the third set. Teams showed nearly equal levels of play, resulting to a number of exhilirating rallies. NEC Red Rockets captain Mizuki Yanagita continued to play well from the wing, while Kaori Ueno operated from the middle. Supreme sought good swings from Kongyot and Moksri, and went on to take the points at crucial breaks of the set. The Thai club completed the third set with 25-18.
In the fourth set, Supreme went on full speed with their momentum. Setter Nootsara Tomkom kept her team in solid orchestration, taking a commanding 13-7 lead. The Japanese club relied on their main hitters Hirose and Yanagita, but could not seem to gain the advantage. The Thai club maintained their rhythm, playing steadily even in defense. NEC Red Rockets slowly fought their way amassing a 13-point run, with Hirose connecting from the left side. Yamauchi sent an attack and sealed the fourth set with 25-20.
In the decider, Supreme rushed to a seized an 8-5 lead at the change-over. They forced errors upon their opponents by playing tight at the net. The Japan club could only rely on Hirose, but Supreme’s blockers anticipated well for a healthy 12-9 lead. Thai hitter Kongyot continued to deliver amidst the high-tension breaks. Japan’s slowly gained momentum to come within a point 13-12, with Yanagita’s swing from the right. Supreme’s Thinkaow Pleumjit unleashed from the middle to gain match point. NEC Red Rockets jumped in with two points to extend the match. A block and a swing later, Supreme took the tie-breaker at 16-14 for their second consecutive title in the competition.