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Two down, six left to fight for four Olympics spots at Tokyo qualifiers

 
Tokyo, Japan, May 20, 2016 - The Dominican Republic and Kazakhstan are finished, but the remaining six teams at the Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament in Japan still have a chance to get to Rio with two matches remaining.

Italy’s iron grip on the 2016 Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament was loosened by an impressive 3-0 defeat at the hands of The Netherlands, (25-21, 25-21, 25-21).

Italy had been hoping to lock away its qualification for Rio, but instead will have to wait for the weekend to secure one of four Olympic berths available.

Lonneke Sloetjes, already the leading point scorer in the tournament, was devastating throughout the match. The 25-year-old clocked up ten points in the opening set as Italy looked under serious pressure for the first time in the week.

Korea blocked its way to a hard fought 3-1 (18-25, 25-22, 25-14, 25-21) win against a brave Peru, inspired by an outstanding individual performance from Yang Hyo-Jin.

Hyo-Jin was part of a defensive wall that blunted wave after wave of attacks from a Peruvian side which needed to win to improve its chance of Olympic qualification.

Teenager Angela Leyva was once again outstanding for Peru, finishing with 23 points despite the difficulties presented by the Korean wall.

Thailand is still in the hunt for a berth at it’s first ever Olympic Games, after beating Kazakhstan 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-15).

While the result is good news for Thailand, it also ends the chances of Kazakhstan to get to Rio, having failed to record a victory so far in five matches.

The big question was how would Thailand respond to the disappointment of Wednesday night, when it threw away what should have been an unbeatable lead to lose to Japan 3-2.

The first few points indicated it might be a tough ask to bounce back, but then the team clicked and returned to the fluency of earlier in the tournament.

Japan played below its best, but still did enough to record a 3-0 (25-22, 25-16, 27-25) win over the Dominican Republic, leaving the Caribbean side without a win so far and no chance of qualifying for Rio.

Setter Haruka Miyashita was in great touch for Japan, giving opposite Miyu Nagaoka an armchair ride on her way to a game-high 21 points.

Saturday’s highlight will be the opening game of the day between Thailand and Korea. A win for Korea would finish off Thailand’s chances of qualifying for a first ever Olympics, and also give the Koreans the first ticket of the four up for grabs. 



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
24 – Saori Sakoda of Japan v Thailand on May 18
23 – Angela Leyva of Peru v Korea on May 20
 
Top Scoring Performances
30 – Angela Leyva of Peru v Kazakhstan on May 17
26 - Yeon-Koung Kim of Korea v Italy on May 14
24 – Saori Sakoda of Japan v Thailand on May 18
 
Top Individual Serving Performances
5 – Kim Hee-Jin of Korea v Japan on May 17
4 – Cristina Chirichella of Italy v Peru on May 18
 
Top Team Serving Performances
11 – Korea v the Netherlands on May 15
9 – Korea v Japan on May 17
9 – Korea v Kazakhstan on May 18
8 – The Netherlands v Kazakhstan on May 14
8 – Italy v Thailand on May 15
 
Top Individual Blocking Performances
8 – Yang Hyo-Jin of Korea v Peru on May 20
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
5 – Nuekjang Thatdao of Thailand v Japan on May 18, 2016
5 – Thinkaow Pleumjit of Thailand v Japan on Mauy 18, 2016
 
Top Team Blocking Performances
16 – Korea v Peru on May 20
16 – Kazakhstan v Peru on May 17
15 – Thailand v Japan on May 18
15 – Italy v Peru on May 18
13 – Korea v Italy on May 14
 
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
217 – Japan v Thailand 3-2 (20-25, 25-23, 23-25, 25-23, 15-13)
190 - Thailand d Dominican Republic 3-1 (26-24, 26-28, 25-16, 25-20) on May 14


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