Thailand, Korea dominate rivals in opener
Jeongah Park led the Koreans' assault with 16 points in a walk in the park straight sets win over New Zealand.
BINAN CITY, Laguna –- The big guns flexed their muscles early in the opening day of the 19th SMM Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship Wednesday at the Alonte Sports Arena here.
South Korea easily hurdled New Zealand, 25-21, 25-14, 25-12, despite benching its top player Kim Yeonkoung the entire match in Pool C while Thailand manhandled newcomer Maldives, 25-5, 25-12, 25-9, in Pool D.
Korean head coach Sungjin Hong sat out Kim Yeonkoung to give his star more time to rest after their campaign in the 2017 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix recently where the squad finished second in Group 2.
“We just came from the Grand Prix. She (Kim) is too tired today that’s why she didn’t play,” said Hong, who added that the Korean ace spiker is expected to rest the team’s next game against Sri Lanka Thursday at Muntinlupa Sports Complex.
Hong hinted that Kim Yeonkoung might see action against Vietnam on Friday when the Koreans return here.
Jeongah Park led the Koreans' assault with 16 points including 13 off attacks while Minkyoung Hwang finished with 12.
Sooji Han got nine while Miyoun Kim scored eight for Korea, which finished runner-up behind China two years ago in Tianjin.
Francesca Edmondson had 10 for New Zealand, which made its return stint in the competition for the first time after five years of absence.
The Kiwis gave the Koreans a tough fight in the first set, keeping the game tight. But the Koreans kept their composure and pulled away for good after breaking a 21-21 tie.
From there the Koreans cruised for the win.
Meanwhile, Thailand also gave its star hitter Pleumjit Thinkaow and setter Nootsara Tomkom a day off in the squad’s 53-minute demolition of Maldives.
Hattaya Bamrungsuk took over the scoring job to finish with 12 points while Wipawee Srithong had 10 for the 2015 bronze medalists.
Maldives received a rude welcome with only Rashida Hawwa scoring in double figures with 10.
Thailand will take on Iran on Thursday.
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