Netherlands: Thailand defeated longtime nemesis Turkey 3-2 in a thrilling five-set opener at the FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Championship on Saturday.
Chatchu-on Moksri led all scorers with 33 points, including three serving aces, two kill blocks and 28 spikes, to pace the Thai attack. Pimpichaya Kokram added 12 points and Hattaya Bamrungsuk had 10.
The Thai side faltered in the first set but won a lengthy second set before dropping the third. They recovered to take the fourth set and took match point in the fifth-set tiebreaker on a serving error by their opponents. The final scoreline was 17-25, 31-29, 22-25, 25-19, 15-13.
Entering Saturday’s match, World No.14 Thailand had lost to sixth-ranked Turkey in their previous five meetings, most recently at the 2022 Nations League.
“I don’t know what to say. My heart is full of happiness to win this match today because we worked and trained very hard before that,” Chatchu-on said after the match.
“I want to thank all my teammates for helping each other and playing a fantastic game. We wanted to show our best performance and the style of volleyball that we love, no matter if we won or lost.”
The 2022 world championship, being staged in the Netherlands and Poland, began on Friday and ends on Oct 15.
Thailand will now head for Gdansk, Poland where they will play their remaining first-round Pool B matches, starting with Poland on Tuesday.
Coach Danai Sriwacharamaytakul aims to steer the team through to the second round in the 24-country tournament.
Thailand is seen as having a decent chance of reaching the next round as the top four teams in each of the four first-round pools will advance.
The other teams in Pool B are Poland, Croatia, South Korea and the Dominican Republic.
So far this year, the Thai women have won the SEA Games, finished eighth in the Nations League, third in the AVC Cup and won the Asean Grand Prix.
They are making their seventh appearance at the world championship, with their best finish being 13th in 2010 and 2018.
Thailand’s Pimpichaya Kokram in action at the net during the opening match against Turkey at the FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Championship in Arnhem, Netherlands on Saturday. (FIVB Photo