|Sport Centre 1 side attack against Diamond Food in the final of the 2023 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship on May 2 in Vĩnh Phúc Province. VNA/VNS Photos|
VĨNH PHÚC — Sport Centre 1 made history on May 2 to become the first team ever from Việt Nam to win the 2023 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship in Vĩnh Phúc Province.
Sport Centre 1, fielding national team players, came from behind to beat Diamond Food Fine Chef-Air Force Club of Thailand by three sets to two in the highly-anticipated final showdown at the packed 3,000-seater Vĩnh Phúc Gymnasium
The dramatic victory, coupled with a remarkable unbeaten record in the continent’s topflight club championship, ended Việt Nam’s 22-year gold-medal drought since making their debut in the 2001 championship as hosts.
The country’s previous best result in this annual competition was in 2011 when Thông Tin LienVietPostBank finished fourth place on home soil.
Star Trần Thị Thanh Thúy scored a match high 30 points including 28 attacks for Sport Centre 1. Her teammates Trần Tú Linh and Vi Thị Như Quỳnh made great performance to add 20 and 17 points, respectively.
Lead setter and captain Nootsara Tomkom, mixed offensive combinations from powerful attacks from Wipawee Srithong and Sasipaporn Janthawisut with intensified blocks by Natasa Cikiriz and Thichakorn Boonlert for the convincing victory in the first two sets 25-21, 25-17.
Sport Centre 1 tried their best but their effort could only help to narrow the score.
|Top three teams of the 2023 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship. Sport Centre 1 is the first Vietnamese team to win a a title.|
Coach Nguyễn Tuấn Kiệt of Sport Centre 1 made several changes in the third set and his tactics paid off.
Sport Center 1 gradually pulled their game together and stormed back with spectacular attacks and gutsy displays to win 25-20, making home spectators at the stands go wild, shouting, clapping, dancing and waving flags.
The Vietnamese side continued playing well with their consistency and confidence to clinch the fourth set 25-22, forcing a do-or-die tiebreaker.
Captain Thúy, who plays professional league with PFU Blue Cats in the Japanese V.League Division 1, showed off her outstanding performance in the decisive set.
She helped the Vietnamese team to fight neck and neck with Diamond Food before breaking away to lead 13-9. The hosts made their visitors' hard try useless, denying all of their attempts.
Their brilliant form led to a 15-10 win and gave them the championship trophy.
On their way to the top podium, Sport Centre 1 defeated Liaoning Donghua of China 3-1 (17-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-16) in the semi-finals. They beat Iranian Paykan 3-2 (25-21, 21-25, 25-18, 22-25, 15-11); Hisamitsu Spring of Japan 3-1 (25-20, 17-25, 25-15) and King Whale Taipei of Chinese Taipei 3-1 (25-13, 25-23, 20-25, 25-23) in the group round.
|Trần Thị Thanh Thúy of Sport Centre 1 was voted the best player of the championship. Photo of AVC|
Thúy was voted the best outside hitter and MVP of the tournament while her teammate Nguyễn Khánh Đang was the best libero.
Liaoning Donghua took the third place after beating King Whale Taipei 26-24, 25-20, 22-25, 25-21.
The first win in history of Việt Nam is a strong push for them ahead of the 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia.
They are in Group B with the Philippines, Singapore and the hosts. The team will defend their second place in the previous Games. VNS