The Thai women’s team followed an impressive 3-0 win over Turkey on Saturday (July 22) with another inspired performance against their European opponents to finish as Pool H1 winners at a packed Hua Mark Indoor Stadium yesterday night (July 23).
The victory – only Thailand’s third in nine matches in this year’s campaign – put an end to a six-match winning streak for the Italian team, who rested most of their key players, including Paola Ogechi Egonu. Italy were assured of a place in the finals after their victory over the Dominican Republic on Saturday.
Veteran captain Pleumjit Thinkaow was Thailand’s top scorer with 14 points, while their two rising stars Pimpichaya Kokrom, 19, chipped in 13, and Chatchu-On Moksri, 17, added 12.
Anastasia Guerra scored 10 points and Indre Sorokaite added eight for Italy.
Despite their failure to qualify for the finals in China next month, Thailand will take heart from the three wins, which all came against much taller and physically stronger opponents – defending champions Brazil, Turkey and Italy – with all being straight sets victories.
The team, led by coach Danai Sriwacharamaytakul, will look back on the two very costly losses against the Dominicans, who are also likely to miss out on the finals after their loss to Turkey earlier in the day, and a thrilling 3-2 defeat against Japan in the opening weekend.
Thailand were projected to finish 10th in the 12-team Group 1 tournament with the pools competition coming to an end yesterday.
The top-five sides join hosts China in the finals in Nanjing from Aug 2-6.
Earlier, Turkey recorded their first victory in Bangkok, defeating Dominican Republic 3-0 (25-14, 33-31, 25-23).
Poles Uslupehlivan was Turkey’s highest scorer with 19 points. Meliha Ismailoglu followed with 12 points, matching Dominican Republic's Jeoselyna Santos, who scored all her 12 points in attack.
Both teams also recorded one of the longest sets this weekend, duelling in the second until Turkey prevailed33-31.
Serbia remained atop the 12-team standings, followed by the United States, Italy, Japan, Netherlands and holders Brazil. China finished seventh.
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