[Writer's Choice] South Korea Avenges Asian Games Loss with Victory over Thailand in Volleyball
Jay Yim, Aug. 23, 2019, 12:15 p.m.
South Korea bested Thailand at the continental women's volleyball tournament on Friday, avenging their loss from the Asian Games last year.
South Korea, ranked 9th in the world, achieved their hard fought victory over Thailand, ranked 14th in the world, with a score of 3-1 (25-20, 23-25, 25-17, 25-21).
South Korea suffered a loss to Thailand last August in Jakarta of the Asian Games semifinals, which denied them for a second straight gold medal.
Nine of the 14 Thai players faced South Korea last year, while only six of the 14 South Korean players faced Thailand last year. With much familiarity on both sides, the match was tightly contested, but South Korea overcame Thailand's guile, with the size advantage proving to be the difference maker.
South Korean opposite spiker Kim Hee Jin led the team with 26 points, while Kim Yeon Koung and Lee Jae Young each had 19 points. Middle blocker Yang Hyo Jin recorded a team-high of seven blocks as part of her 12 points.
On the Thai side, Onuma Sittirak led the team with 15 points.
In total, South Korea blocked 18 balls coming over in the game, while Thailand only made four blocks.
This was the final match in the 2nd round for the two countries, both of whom has already grabbed a spot in the semifinals with victories on Thursday.
With South Korea winning the match, they take the top seed out of Pool E, due to face Japan, while Thailand, the runner-up, face China.
However, South Korea and Thailand could face-off against one another again if both are to win their matches on Sunday.
The South Korea-Thailand match was a prelude to the Asian Olympic qualifying tournament which is scheduled for January 2020. By reaching the second round here, both countries will be at the regional Olympic qualifiers and will fight to be in the number one spot.
China and Japan, who are the top-ranked Asian nations, have already secured their spots at the Tokyo Olympics. China won their spot by topping their group at the intercontinental event earlier this month, while Japan wins their spot by default for being the host nation.