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(LEAD) (Asiad) S. Korea reaches final for women's volleyball

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2014-09-30
(LEAD) (Asiad) S Korea-volleyball
(LEAD) (Asiad) S. Korea reaches final for women's volleyball
(ATTN: ADDS info in 4th para, comments in last 4 paras, photo)
By Kim Boram
ANSAN, South Korea, Sept. 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's ladies eased past Japan 3-0 in the women's volleyball semifinals on Tuesday, setting up the final showdown with defending champ China at the Incheon Asian Games.
South Korea pulled off a comfortable 3-0 (25-16, 25-19, 25-19) victory over Japan in the last-four match at Ansan Sangroksu Gymnasium, on the outskirts of the host city.It had also defeated Japan in straight sets in their first encounter in the group round.
The South Korea-China gold medal contest on Thursday will be a return match after China's 3-2 win at the Guangzhou final four years ago.
China earlier advanced to the final from the other side of the draw on a 3-1 win over Thailand.
The host is eyeing its first Asiad title in 20 years; in 1994, South Korea beat China for the gold.



Volleyball star Kim Yeon-koung, who plays for the Turkish club Fenerbahce, scored 22 points, including two blocks, and Park Jeong-ah supported with 15 points.
In the first set, South Korea's Kim Hee-jin and Park Jeong-ah led the attack to give her team an easy 19-10 lead. Lee Hyo-jin and Kim Hee-jin blocked Nanaka Sakamoto's spike to make it 23-13 and capped the set at 25-16 in just 21 minutes.
The second set started with South Korea's superb attack led by captain Kim Yeon-koung and Kim Hee-jin. Kim Yeon-koung's devastating spikes punctured the opponent's defense, while Kim Hee-jin picked up two aces to take a 7-1 lead over Japan.
With libero Kim Hae-ran's super digs aiding powerful attacks and solid defense, South Korea cruised to a 13-6 lead.
But Japan did not surrender easily there as they did in the first set.
Nao Muranaka, Nanaka Sakamoto and Nozomi Itoh managed threatening counter-attacks and pushed the game tied at 18-18.
South Korea answered with Kim Yeon-koung, whose explosive smashes and blocks stretched the lead to 23-19 and finished the hard-fought set 25-19 in 27 minutes.
The home team also faced a stiff challenge from Japan in the beginning of the third set as their reception and defense went vulnerable.
In the seesaw battle from the start to the first technical timeout, no more than two points separated the two, and Japan took its first lead of the day at 9-8. Then South Korea regained the lead with Kim Hee-jin and Kim Yeon-koung's smashes and moved ahead to 18-12.
With Kim Yeon-koung's strike, South Korea reached the match point at 24-19 and Yang Hyo-jin completed the 3-0 victory.
"We were tenacious on defense, and I think it helped us win today," said coach Lee Sun-koo after the match, speaking highly of libero Kim Hae-ran's stable reception and digs. "If we maintain today's teamwork and fine defense, we can beat China in the final."
Kim Yeon-koung is also confident of gaining the gold medal agaisnt China on Thursday.
"As we watched the semifinal between China and Thailand, we thought we could get the final victory over China," she said.
brk@yna.co.kr
(END)


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