Team Thailand demonstrated their formidable blocking skills in a thrilling showdown during their recent match at the Volleyball Nations League 2023 (VNL 2023) Pool 1 in Antalya. Led by the exceptional talent of Thatdao Nuekjang, who single-handedly secured seven of the team’s 13 kill blocks, Thailand outshined South Korea, securing a resounding 3-0 victory (25-17, 28-26, 25-21) in Sunday’s clash. With this impressive win, Thailand improved their overall record to 2 wins and 2 losses, accumulating a total of seven points. Consequently, they climbed to a commendable eighth place in the current standings. Meanwhile, despite their relentless efforts, South Korea suffered their fourth consecutive defeat in straight sets since the start of the competition.
Thailand’s dominance was not limited to their impeccable blocking performance; they also outperformed their opponents in terms of attack, delivering 48 successful spikes compared to Korea’s 41. The standout player, outside hitter Chatchu-On Moksri, emerged as the match’s leading scorer with an outstanding 20 points, including two kill blocks and two aces. Pimpichaya Kokram, playing as the opposite, contributed 13 points to the team’s victory, while Thatdao, the proficient middle blocker, not only exhibited her formidable blocking skills but also added four attacking points to her impressive tally of 11 points. On the Korean side, outside hitter and captain Park Jeongah showcased her prowess with three kill blocks, leading her team’s scoring with a total of 14 points.
Thailand entered the match with great fervor, swiftly taking a commanding 4-0 lead in the first set. The set unfolded as a one-sided affair, with Chatchu-On displaying her prowess on eight occasions, propelling Thailand to a decisive 25-17 victory. However, in the second set, Korea demonstrated a significant improvement in their gameplay, particularly in their attack. The Korean team fiercely fought back, pushing the set into overtime and maintaining control of the scoreboard for the majority of the first half. Remarkably, they were the first to reach set point.
Undeterred by the mounting pressure, Thailand remained composed and managed to regain control of the set. With Thatdao’s relentless blocking, they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, ultimately prevailing with a close score of 28-26. Despite their setback, Korea refused to surrender and stormed into the third set with an impressive 4-0 run, establishing their dominance with a 16-13 lead. However, Thailand refused to succumb and mounted yet another hard-fought comeback. With the score evenly matched at 21-21, the Thai players displayed their resilience, embarking on a crucial four-point streak that culminated in a decisive double block from Wipawee Srithong and Hattaya Bamrungsuk, securing the match in their favor.
Looking ahead, Thailand’s next challenge awaits them on June 14, as they prepare to face Germany in Brasilia, marking the commencement of their second week campaign. Meanwhile, South Korea will square off against hosts Brazil in the same pool, determined to rebound from their recent string of defeats.