Thursday, September 06, 2007
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Minnow Indonesia proved itself to be a team worth reckoning with after pushing three-time Asian champions China to five sets at the Asian Volleyball Championship here on Wednesday.
However, the host missed the chance to stun the Asian heavyweights after dropping the last set to lose 3-2 to the much-taller Chinese volleyballers.
"We lost the first two sets as our players were too nervous," Indonesian assistant coach Mahfud Irsyada said at the post-match press conference.
"Fortunately, they got their confidence back in the third and fourth sets," he said.
China romped to an easy 25-16 win in the first set and then took the second set 25-15.
Playing in front of more than 4,000 vociferous fans, Indonesia caught its stride in the third set and began playing more relaxed.
Indonesia won the third set 25-21 and then evened things up 2-2 by taking the fourth set 25-23.
However, the upset was not to be, as China regained its form and dominated the deciding set 15-10.
"Despite the loss, I am still pleased with the way the team played. The players performed their best. We are just unlucky," Mahfud said.
China's head coach Zhou Jian'an said he was a bit surprised by Indonesia's solid defense.
"I think we are lucky. Indonesia played very well especially at blocking. Even if we broke in to their blocking, their defenders were ready to receive the ball," said Zhou.
He said the shorter Indonesian players used good timing to block the smashes by the taller Chinese. (02)