FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship
- July 14-24, 2017
- Cordoba, Mexico
China def. Turkey 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-17)
Russia def. Japan 3-2 (32-30, 25-19, 23-25, 23-25, 15-12)
China and Russia each will have a shot at its third U20 world championship on Sunday after winning in Saturday’s semifinals. China swept Turkey, while Russia survived a scare after losing a 2-0 lead in a five-setter against Japan.
China won titles in 1995 and 2013, while Russia won back to back crowns in 1997 and 1999.
Regardless of the result on Sunday, the 2017 finish will mark the best for the Russians since those title appearances as the team hasn’t managed to make a semifinal since 1999.
Turkey will face Japan in the third place match, looking to secure its first ever U20 podium finish. In fact, the team’s semifinal appearance was the first in its history.
Japan will be searching for its first podium finish since 2007, when it earned the bronze. Japan has finished fourth four times, last in 2015, and third five times. The team’s best ever finish was a runner-up placing in 1985.
China 3, Turkey 0
Turkey didn’t help its own cause, committing 26 errors in a three set loss to China, losing out on a shot at the U20 gold medal.
In addition to the 11 extra points (26-15) on miscues, China also benefitted from a 38-32 advantage in kills and 5-4 lead in aces. Turkey did win the blocking battle 7-6, but it was not enough to overcome the rest of the deficits.
“There are no secrets in our performance, we prepare well for our opponents, set a game plan and perform accordingly,” Chinese coach Mang Shen said. “Our training is structured. We have studied the other two finalists and our practice tomorrow will depend who we face”.
Han Wu paced China with 16 points, including 15 kills. Xiaoqing Cai added 13 points, with nine kills, two blocks and a team-best two aces. Hanyu Yang managed seven points, including a team-best four blocks.
Tugba Senoglu tallied a team-best 11 points, with 10 kills and a block, for Turkey. Tutku Burcu Yuzgenc added eight points, with seven kills and a block. Zehra Gunes and Yasemin Guveli followed with five points, including a team-best two stuffs for Gunes.
“I am proud of my team, back in Boca del Rio my team played two tie-break matches under difficult conditions and the second round was also demanding,” Turkish coach Mustafa Suph Doganci said. “China played with little mistakes and we played bad, like zombies. Our main goal here is to win a medal.”
Russia 3, Japan 2
Russia racked up 19 blocks and limited Japan to just three, hanging on for a five-set win and a shot at the U20 title.
For its part, Japan rallied from down 2-0 to force a decisive fifth set, outdoing the Russian offense in kills 65-61 and earning six more points on miscues (36-30), but it was not enough to overcome the blocking deficit and an 8-7 Russian edge in aces.
Angelina Lazarenko led a group of five Russian players with double-digit scoring efforts, tallying 23 points, including a match-high 17 kills, a team-leading five blocks and an ace. Anna Kotikova (17), Maria Vorobyeva (16), Kseniia Smirnova (13) and Elizaveta Kotova (11) followed. Kotikova scored 12 points on kills and four on blocks, while Kotova also put up four stuffs. Vorobyeva added 14 putaways and Smirnova chipped in 10.
Japan got 20 points apiece from Ai Kurugo and Shiori Aratani, while Miyuki Horie (17) and Shuri Yamaguchi (10) also contributed to the effort. Kurugo put down 18 kills and added two aces, while Aratani chipped in 17 kills and two aces and Horie registered 15 putaways.