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Korea delivers Japan first speedhump on road to Rio while Italy continues to impress

 
Tokyo, Japan, May 17, 2016 - A feisty serving display by Korea has dealt host nation Japan its first loss at the Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament, while Italy continues to impress and The Netherlands bounced back to the winners’ list.

Japan had no answer to the power serving of 25-year-old Kim Hee-Jin, who put Korea into a winning position before star player Kim Yeon-Koung finished the hosts off.

Hee-Jin finished with five aces and the Koreans nine altogether, in a telling statistic that ultimately decided the grudge match.

The much anticipated clash between The Netherlands and Thailand turned out to be a one-sided affair, with the Dutch bouncing back after its loss to Korea on Sunday to play what coach Giovanni Guidetti described as ‘almost the perfect game’.

The Netherlands defeated Thailand 3-0 (25-14, 25-16, 25-20) in a match many believed would go a long way towards deciding who will go to the 2016 Olympics.

Thailand had this match marked down as one it had to win to guarantee a top four finish this week, while the Dutch needed to get back in the winners’ circle after being well beaten by Korea on Sunday.

Italy continue to impress at the Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament in Japan, a 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-23) win against a plucky Dominican Republic team confirming it is the front runner for one of four Olympic tickets on offer this week.

While Italy can start thinking about Rio, for the Dominican Republic an improved performance against the Europeans does not make its chances of Olympic qualification any easier.

And an at-times shaky Peru has kept it’s hopes of qualifying for the Rio Olympics alive with a 3-1 (19-25, 25-22, 25-23,25-23) win over a much improved Kazakhstan in the opening match of day three of the qualifying tournament in Tokyo.

Peru now has a 2-1 record this week, while Kazakhstan remain winless and in desperate need of a win to re-ignite their Olympic dreams.

Peru will take on Italy in the opening match on Wednesday, before Kazakhstan will take on the rampaging Koreans and The Netherlands will face off against Dominican Republic.

The final match of the day will see Japan face Thailand, with Thailand needing to win to keep their chances alive of qualifying for their first ever Olympics.

Top Scorer by Day
26 - Yeon-Koung Kim of Korea v Italy on May 14
22 - Angela Leyva of Peru v Dominican Republic on May 15
30 – Angela Leyva of Peru v Kazakhstan on May 17
 
Top Scoring Performances
30 – Angela Leyva of Peru v Kazakhstan on May 17
26 - Yeon-Koung Kim of Korea v Italy on May 14
 
Top Individual Serving Performances
5 – Kim Hee-Jin of Korea v Japan on May 17
3 - Cristina Chirichella of Peru v Dominican Republic on May 15
2 – Celeste Plak of Netherlands v Thailand on May 17
2 - Martina Guiggi of Peru v Dominican Republic on May 15
2 - Alessia Orro of Peru v Dominican Republic on May 15
2 - Haruyo Shimamura of Japan v Kazakhstan on May 15
2 - Saori Sakoda of Japan v Kazakhstan on May 15
2 - Hyo-Jin Yang of Korea v Italy on May 14
2 - Onuma Sittirak of Thailand v Dominican Republic on May 14
 
Top Team Serving Performances
11 – Korea v the Netherlands on May 15
9 – Korea v Japan on May 17
8 – The Netherlands v Kazakhstan on May 14
8 – Italy v Thailand on May 15
 
Top Individual Blocking Performances
8 – Kristina Anikonova of Kazakhstan v Peru on May 17
5 - Hyo-Jin Yang of Korea v Italy on May 14
5 – Yvon Belien of Netherlands v Thailand on May 17
4 - Anna Danesi of Italy v Thailand on May 15
4 – Cristina Chirichella of Italy v Dominican Republic on May 17
 
Top Team Blocking Performances
16 – Kazakhstan v Peru on May 17
13 – Korea v Italy on May 14
11 – Italy v Thailand on May 15
11 – Peru v Kazakhstan on May 17
 
Highest Scoring Sets
29-27 – Korea v the Netherlands (1st set) on May 15
26-28 Thailand v Dominican Republic (2nd set) on May 14
28-26 Korea v Japan (1st set) on May 17 
 
Highest Scoring Matches
190 - Thailand d Dominican Republic 3-1 (26-24, 26-28, 25-16, 25-20) on May 14

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