Thu, Nov 09, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Taiwan's winning run grinds to halt

OVERPOWERED After an unbeaten streak with wins over Japan, South Korea and Poland, the Taiwanese squad lost to Turkey in the second round yesterday

AFP , OSAKA, JAPAN

Taiwan's Szu Hui-fang, center, hits the ball past Wu Hsiao-li during their women's second round Pool E match in Nagoya, Japan, yesterday.

PHOTO: AFP

Taiwan's giant-killing run ended yesterday when they crashed in a four-set defeat to European silver medalists Turkey in the women's world volleyball championships.

The Taiwanese women, who shocked Asian rivals Japan, South Korea and European champions Poland in the first stage, suffered their first loss 25-17, 25-16, 21-25, 25-17 in the eight-team Pool E tournament in Nagoya.

"The Turkish team played a wonderful match. We couldn't show our best against them today. Tactically we made too many mistakes. That's why we lost," Taiwan captain Chen Shu-li (陳淑俐) said.

"Our spikes didn't work and the blocks weren't good enough. It made it tough for the defensive players at the back," she said.

Taiwan coach Lin Kuang-hung (林光宏) said he did not expect Darnel Neslihan to play so well, scoring a total of 22 points -- 17 points off her powerful shots, as well as two service winners and three off her blocking.

"Turkey played a wonderful match," Lin said.

"We made every effort to win, but we have to think about the reasons why we lost. Turkey's team was tall, but in Pool A we defeated Poland, who are also tall," he said.

Neslihan said: "This match was very important, because it was the first match of the second round. We wanted to win it very much, and we had no doubt that we would. But Taiwan were very good and we are happy that we won."

Turkish coach Resat Yaziciogullari said: "We have had a good start to the second round. With this win, other teams in this pool now have a chance."

Serbia and Montenegro, Russia and Brazil, who carried over three wins from the first stage, all remained unbeaten scoring their sixth straight wins for 4-0 records in the second stage.

The Serbians fought off South Korea 25-23, 25-19, 25-22, while Brazil outgunned Azerbaijan 25-19, 25-21, 25-23 in Pool E.

"I'm not pleased with the way my team played for most of the match, but I'm pleased with the result. Maybe we were still half asleep. But definitely I'm not happy about the way my players played in defence," Serbian coach Zoran Terzic said.

The two-time Olympic silver medalists Russia whipped Puerto Rico 25-16, 25-10, 25-20 in Pool F in Osaka yesterday.

"We still have problems with our setter," Russian coach Giovanni Caprara said. "We have an inexperienced setter, Marina Akulova, who is quick, and the other setter, Marina Sheshenina, is experienced but slower."

"But we have strong attacks to counter this problem. I hope we can continue to play this way. All our opponents are strong and we have to take it day by day. We cannot afford to lose any matches, because it may affect our semi-final chances," he added.

In other matches, defending champions Italy powered past Poland 25-19, 25-22, 25-13 in Nagoya, while the Netherlands squeezed through to a 23-25, 25-21, 25-23, 23-25, 16-14 win over Germany in Osaka.

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