Vinh Phuc, Vietnam, May 1, 2023 – Altay lived up to expectations, brushing off Paykan in thrilling three-setter 25-15, 25-20, 25-18 in their classification round for 5th-9th places in Pool E to next battle it out with Japan’s Hisamitsu Springs for the fifth place in the 2023 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship at the Vinh Phuc Gymnasium on Monday.
Altay and Hisamitsu have yet lost a match in the 5th-9th ranking round, with the former beating Hip Hing from Hong Kong, China 3-0 and Khuvsgul Erchim 3-0 and the latter demolishing Paykan 3-0 and Hip Hing 3-0. The Monday’s Pool E matches saw Altay sweep Paykan 3-0 and Hisamitsu down Khuvsgul Erchim 3-0. Following the similar three wins, both Altay and Hisamitsu collected 9 points apiece and as a result, the match between them on Tuesday will serve as the decider, with the winning team finishing the fifth place and the losers the sixth position in this championship.
Altay, the 2021 champions and silver medallists at the last year’s edition in Semey, Kazakhstan, got off to a slow star to narrowly trail Paykan 4-7. After that, the Kazakh giants, fielding strong players with the likes of Sana Anarkulova, who landed the MVP award at the 2021 edition as well as the Best Outside Hitter the following year, stormed back with powerful attacks from Anarkulova and Tatyana Nikitina and solid blocks by Nikitina and Valeriya Chumak to level it at 11-11 and surged ahead the Iranians with an 8-point advantage at 23-15. Nikitina and Chumak delivered the set point at 24-15 through their effective block before Anarkulova produced an ace serve to take the first set 25-15.
Paykan maintained their poise and started to play cool at the beginning of the second set. Fatemeh Amini joined forces with Mona Ashofteh, unleashing powerful attacks to briefly take the lead 7-5. However the leads changed hands shortly after that when Altay came back much stronger. They pulled their game together and fought back hard to even it at 10-10 and advanced 22-18.
Despite putting up a fierce fight, Paykan still found the Kazakhstan counterparts uncatchable. Mona produced an effective drop close to the net, allowing the rivals difficult time to pick up. The Iranians reduced the gap to 20-22, but moments later Altay never looked back to score three points in succession for the set win 25-20.
Both sides fought it all-out to win the third set, with Altay needing to end the rivals’ challenge and the Iranians making amends for the…
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