Vietnam pull shocking win over South Korea at Asian volleyball championship

By Hieu Luong   August 30, 2023 | 06:08 pm PT
Vietnam came back to win 3-2 against South Korea in the opening match of the 2023 Asian Women's Volleyball Championship on Wednesday.
Vietnam players celebrate the victory over South Korea in the opening game of Asian Womens Volleyball Championship on August 30, 2023. Photo by AVC

Vietnam players celebrate their victory over South Korea in the opening game of Asian Women's Volleyball Championship on Aug. 30, 2023. Photo by AVC

South Korean women's volleyball are only behind Japan, China and Thailand in Asia in terms of strength. On the world volleyball rankings, South Korea are 35th, 12 places above Vietnam.

The match at Nakhon Ratchasima Stadium, Thailand, initially went as predicted when South Korea won the first two sets against Vietnam. In set one, Vietnam were able to level the score to 22-22, but could not do anything about the powerful shots from the opponent and lost 22-25.

South Korea continued to use powerful serves in the second set. Their defense also played well and Kang So-hwi, Lee Da-hyeon and Park Jeong-ah were consistent with the attacks to help the team win 25-19.

In the decisive third set, Vietnam showed persistence and did not give up. Team captain Nguyen Thi Thanh Thuy and her teammates improved their first touches and limited Kang's dangerous attack. When the score was 23-23, Vietnam made good use of the opponent's error to win 25-23.

Vietnam got a confidence boost after winning this set while South Korea’s stamina began to decline. The resilience of South Korean players was no longer good and their attacks were constantly blocked. When the score was 15-15, Vietnam scored five points in a row before winning 25-17 in the fourth set.

In the fifth set, Vietnam proved to be more prolific and durable. Captain Thuy scored eight points and brought the overall win to the team.

After the match, coach Nguyen Tuan Kiet said the team played with more than 100% of their ability. The two factors that brought Vietnam to victory came in the third set, which were the first touches and the ability to read the attacks of South Korea.

This victory gave Vietnam a great chance to top group C, when the remaining two opponents Taiwan and Uzbekistan are rated lower. The first position will help Vietnam enter the second group stage as the number one seed, avoiding strong opponents and increasing the chance to finish in the top four overall.

The 2023 Asian Women's Volleyball Championship is taking place from Aug. 30 to Sept. 6. The top three teams in the tournament will qualify for the 2025 Women's Volleyball World Championship.

After 20 editions, China have the most titles with 13, followed by Japan (five) and Thailand (two). Vietnam's best result was fifth place in 2015 and 2017.

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