USA withstood a slow start, taking on brave position Thailand, 17-25, 25-13, 25-23, 25-18, to claim their seventh victory of the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Nations League, Sunday afternoon at the SMART Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
It is the fourth consecutive win for the three-time defending VNL champions in the Pool after suffering their only defeat so far against Japan to reach a league win-loss record of 7-1.
The United States also extended their mastery of Thailand with a 14-1 head-to-head record. The Southeast Asian team’s only victory against the United States came in a five-set thriller in the preliminary round of the 2009 World Grand Prix on home soil in Bangkok.
The world no. The No. 1 team took control in the fourth quarter, taking advantage of a late-set 18-14 lead to claim victory over Thailand.
Alexandra Frantti continued to be a solid producer for the United States, finishing with 27 points on 24 kills, two blocks and an ace. Fellow outside hitter Robinson Kelsey added 10 points on nine kills and an ace, while middle tackle Chiaka Ogbogu also finished with 10 points on eight blocks, one block and an ace.
Thailand started well, covering the ground well against the vaunted American offense, and with plenty of counter-attacking options, the Asians won the first set, 25-17. Captain and setter Guedpard Pornpun turned to her bowling hitters as Ajcharapon Kongkyot and Chatchu-on Moksri scored five runs apiece.
It was the Americans’ turn to tighten their cover in the second set and in return look for gaps in the opposing defense to take a 12-7 lead before the technical timeout. Thailand tried to stay tight, but the United States closed their blocks better and with a comfortable margin the second set went in favor of the latter, 25-13.
The reigning Olympic champions, however, had some trouble with their overtaking early in the third and went down 10-12 at the break. A close battle ensued before the Americans broke a 20 stalemate and won 25-22 to take the set advantage.
The United States will try to maintain the winning streak when they take on Belgium (3-5) on June 29 at 8 p.m. in Calgary, Canada.
Kongkyot topped the scoring for Thailand with 25 points on 2 kills and a block, while Moksri scored 13 on 10 points, a block and two service aces.
The reigning SEA Games defending champion slipped below 0.500 at 4-4 but is still among the top eight who can advance to the final round.
Thailand, on the other hand, will face winless South Korea (0-7) also on June 29 at 5 p.m. in Sofia, Bulgaria.
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