AFTER five days of action-packed volleyball, only two teams remained perfect — South Korea and Japan — in the 19th AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship.
Kim Yeon-koung, who didn’t see action against New Zealand and Sri Lanka, was deployed in the starting six for the first time when the Koreans swept erstwhile unbeaten Kazakhstan 25-21, 26-24, 25-10 in the final day of the quarterfinals classification round.
The London Olympics Most Valuable Player uncorked 18 points on top of 16 digs and five receptions for South Korea to top Pool E with a clean 3-0 mark.
Hwang Mink-young added 12 markers for the Koreans.
Yang Hyo-jin churned out six points in two sets before she was stretchered out late in the third set after an awkward landing that resulted to minor lower back injury.
Kazakhstan slid to a 2-1 record to finish second in Pool E.
On the other hand, Japan brushed off a shaky start to emerge on top of Pool F as it handed Thailand its first defeat in four sets 22-25, 25-20, 25–22, 26-24 Monday at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan City, Laguna.
It pulled off a complete team effort to deny the Thais.
Last year’s Asian Women’s Club Championship Most Valuable Player (MVP) Sarina Koga paced the assault for the Japanese, delivering 26 points off 23 attacks.
Risa Shinnabe chipped in 16 markers while Mai Okumura had 12. Erika Araki and Yurie Nabeya also tallied 10 markers apiece.
Chatchu-on Moksri and Ajcharaporn Kongyot combined 39 points for the Thais, who dropped to a 2-1 win-loss slate at the end of the second round in Pool F.
With the win, South Korea is set to face No. 4 seed in Pool F Chinese Taipei while Japan will go up against Vietnam in the crossover quarterfinals Tuesday.
Kazakhstan and Thailand will collide with reigning champion China and host Philippines, respectively.