Vinh Phuc, Vietnam, May 1, 2023 – Hisamitsu Springs, fielding only 10 players in this match, saw off Khuvsgul Erchim in comfortable straight sets 25-15, 25-7, 25-8 to claim their consecutive two wins (and three in total) in the classification round for 5th-9th places in the 2023 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship at the Vinh Phuc Gymnasium on Monday.
The 5th-9th ranking round is playing in Pool E, which comprised Hisamitsu Springs, the 2002 and 2014 champions from Japan, Khunvsgul Erchim, the first team ever from Mongolia, Iran’s Paykan, Hip Hing VC from Hong Kong, China and Altay VC, the 2021 champions from Kazakhstan.
Hisamitsu sent only 11 players to the continent’s top-tier club championship, but against the Mongolians on Monday, Minami Nishimura, the lone libero in the team, had a fever and could not play in this match, leaving the Japanese side to field only 10 players in this match. Small-built opposite player Akari Shirasawa, 164cm tall, came for the rescue to play in the libero position.
Still, despite playing without the well-trained libero, Hisamitsu remained strong offensively in their lineup spearheaded by rookie Ayane Kitamado, who will join the Japan national U21 squad for the FIVB Women’s U21 World Championship in Mexico later this year, Sae Nakajima and Mika Yoshitake. Hisamitsu took the comfortable first set 25-15.
Khuvsgul Erchim tried to make amends in the second set, with Bayanjargal Jigjidkhorol firing good shots and Khandsuren Gantogtokh fast spikes. However, Hisamitsu went on their spectacular attacks, speed and consistency to win the completely one-sided set 25-7.
The Hisamitsu’s fine form and powerful attacks did not allow the unfancied rivals’ any comeback opportunity in the third set. The Japanese started strongly for the commanding lead with a 10-point clear at 15-5 and extended it to 23-7. Talented Kitamado produced a back-row attack to deliver the match point, but Khandsuren saved the day for the Mongolians as she carried out an effective sliding attack which went unanswered.
However, the Mongolians’ high hopes of comeback was completely shattered when a serve from substituted setter Tsedevnambar Tsetsen-Ochir went wide. Hisamitsu Springs clinched the set with ease 25-8 and match.
Ayane Kitamado and Sae Nakajima scored 15 points apiece for Hisamitsu Springs, while Khandsuren Gantogtokh and Saruulgerel Ganbaatar led Khuvsgul Erchim with 5 points each.
After the match, Hisamitsu Springs head…
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