Vinh Phuc, Vietnam, May 2, 2023 – Formidable Sport Center 1 made history on Tuesday to become the first team ever from Vietnam to capture their unprecedented title in the 2023 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship following their epic comeback 3-2 win against Diamond Food Fine Chef-Air Force in the highly-anticipated final showdown at the packed 3,000-seater Vinh Phuc Gymnasium.
The dramatic 21-25, 17-25, 25-20, 25-22, 15-10 victory with remarkable unbeaten record in the continent’s topflight club championship ended the country’s gold-medal drought for 22 years since Vietnam made their debut in the 2001 championship as the host nation. They have never made the podium, with the country’s best result in this annual competition taking place in 2011 when Thong tin LienVietPostBank finished fourth place on home soil.
Star spike Tran Thi Thanh Thuy scored a match high 30 points including 28 attacks for Sport Center 1, while Tran Tu Linh, and young star Vi Thi Nhu Quynh, 21, kept good company to add 20 and 17 points respectively. Wipawee Srithong scored 20 points on Diamond Food’s losing effort.
Sport Center 1, fielding all Vietnam national players in their final preparation for the next week’s 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Cambodia, were strong offensively with the likes of powerful Tran Thi Thanh Thuy, 193cm, who currently plays with PFB Blue Cats in Japan V.League Division 1. Also strengthening the team were Tran Tu Linh, and Vi Thi Nhu Quynh.
Former consecutive two-time Thailand League champions Diamond Food were spearheaded by highly-skilled setter and captain Nootsara Tomkom and strengthened by Wipawee Srithong, Sasipaporn Janthawisut, Kaewkalaya Kamulthala and Thichakorn Boonlert, all of them Thailand national players who competed in the last year’s VNL campaign, while 193cm-tall Serbian Narasa Cikiriz also proved a major force to be reckoned with.
Diamond Food mixed the offensive combinations from powerful attacks from Wipawee and Sasipaporn with intensified blocks by Natasa and Thichakorn for the convincing victory in the first two sets 25-21, 25-17.
However, things turned sour for the Thai team in the third set. Diamond Food took an early lead with a 3-point advantage at 11-8, but Sport Center 1 gradually pulled their game together and stormed back with spectacular attacks and gutsy display to level it at 16-16 and broke away 21-17, much to the great delight of home fans packing the competition venue.
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