Jordan Thompson hoarded 34 points for the United States to overwhelm reigning Olympic champions China 3-0 (29-27, 25-22, 25-21) in Pool B of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 women’s volleyball competition on Tuesday.
Thompson, Boskovic’s high scoring games put USA and Serbia on top of standings
It’s the day of the opposites in Tokyo
Опубликовано 03:49, 27 июль 2021
Thompson’s 28 thundering attacks echoed at the Ariake Arena and complemented her four blocks and two aces. The opposite, who scored double figures in each set, had additional support from outside hitters Michelle Bartsch-Hackley and Jordan Larson who scored 15 and 12 points, respectively.
Thompson had 12 points in the extended first set, including the point that closed the set at 29-27, and logged 11 markers each in the succeeding sets.
“I just wanted to help the team in any what that I could, whether that was going to be on the court or on the bench,” Thompson said.
“I really wanted to be a solid team player contributing with my attacking, blocking or defence, or just being an encouraging teammate. I knew that whatever my role was, I wanted to do it well. So that was what I was focusing on because I just wanted to help our team reach our goals.”
China’s celebrated captain, Zhu Ting, led her team with 18 points, but had little help from the other hitters as Li Yingying was well guarded by the USA defence and could only score 11.
USA executed well to get their opponents out of system and responded well defensively. Justine Wong-Orantes manned the floor well and the American blockers stalled their opponents’ powerful hitters.
Tijana Boskovic matched the scoring output of USA opposite Thompson of 34, coming off 31 attack winners, two deflections and a service ace to power Serbia’s straight-set (25-23, 25-16, 26-24) defeat of hosts Japan in their Pool A encounter.
The left-handed opposite was setter Maja Ognjenovic’s go-to hitter who made 15 points and saved the Serbians from a tight opening set encounter with the Japanese.
In the next two sets, Ognjenovic utilised several hitters to run the offence and give their opposite a breather. Boskovic was still involved in most of the plays, but the middle work by Milena Rasic and Mina Popovic produced some point-winners to secure the match victory.
Serbia and Brazil claimed their second straight match win in Pool A, while Italy joined USA in Pool B with a clean 2-0 win-record.
Brazil prevailed in their five-set (22-25, 25-17, 25-13, 23-25, 15-12) win over the Dominican Republic. The match lasted for 2:26 and was the longest match in Olympic women's volleyball history since the introduction of the rally scoring system at Sydney 2000. The previous longest match was 2:21 in a five-set match between Brazil and Russia in the quarterfinals at London 2012.
Fe Garay had a match-high of 26, while Gabi Guimaraes and Carol Gattaz made their respective contributions of 20 and 17 markers to the Brazilian win. Their rivals were headed by the Martinez sisters, with Brayelin and Jineiry scoring 24 and 15 points in the match, and Yonkaira Pena and Gaila Gonzalez added 12 points each.
The Brazilians started with a slow pace in the first set, but that pace picked up in the second and third sets with Fe Garay unleashing her power game.
The Brazilian momentum was halted in the next set, as the Dominicans fought hard until they succeeded to gain the two-point edge to force a tiebreaker. By the fifth set, the Brazilians, however, had better focus and recovered easily in each setback to secure the match.
In the other pool match, Paola Egonu was one point shy of hitting the 30-point mark in Italy’s 3-1 (25-22, 23-25, 25-20, 25-15) victory over Turkey.
Egonu tallied 26 attacks, two blocks and an ace – a performance that overwhelmed Italy's European counterparts.
“Paola is just warming up and we know how capable she is. She is an amazing player. To be honest, we just started, and I think she can show more in this competition,” said Italy captain Miryam Sylla, who also contributed to the win with nine points.
Italy and Turkey each took a set before the 2018 World Championship runners-up nabbed two set victories in a row, with a lot of diligence in their plays.
“We knew that this match was going to be tough because we saw how they played with a lot of determination against China. We had good energy in the beginning, but they changed in the second set. However, we showed our game that we trained hard for it in the last few months,” Sylla explained.
“When they start scoring, they can be a really fiery team, so our tactic was to always get our focus back quickly each time we lost a point. We had to make sure to play hard in each point, and work hard on block and defence, especially on reception since they have a strong serve.”
Meanwhile, the ROC squad played a clinical match against Argentina to win 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-13), redeeming themselves after starting with a loss against Italy last Sunday.
ROC played catch-up at the start of the match, but as soon as the wing players started to hit their rhythm, they took the lead and sealed the opening set win. Nataliya Goncharova led the ROC attackers, registering six markers each in the next two sets.
Goncharova topped all scorers with 17, and got some scoring support from Arina Fedorovtseva and Irina Voronkova who made 12 and 11 points, respectively, while Erika Mercado and Elina Maria Rodriguez made 13 and 10 in the losing effort.
In the final match of the day between Korea and Kenya, Korea earned their first win in the tournament with a 3-0 (25-14, 25-22, 26-24) win over Kenya.
Stefano Lavarini utilised the tandem of Kim Heejin and Kim Yeon-Koung to power the offence of the Korean team, while Luizomar Moura depended on his wing players Sharon Chepchumba Kiprono and Leonida Kasaya to lead Kenya.
Heejin led all scorers with 20 points and Yeon-Koung added 16.
Korea had a fast-paced game to easily dominate their rivals in the opening set. The Kenyans somehow recovered from that setback but still conceded the next two sets as Korea implemented a good service and attack game.
Women’s volleyball will be back on Thursday with matches between Italy and Argentina at 09.00, and Korea and the Dominican Republic at 11.05. In the afternoon, Serbia will take on Kenya at 14.20, then China will face ROC at 16.25.
Hosts Japan will have a tough opponent as they face 2021 VNL silver medallists Brazil at 19.40, then it will be a VNL podium finishers face-off as three-time winners USA play against third-placers Turkey at 21.45.