S. Korea qualifies for women's volleyball at Tokyo 2020
South Korea qualified for the women's volleyball tournament at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-20) victory over Thailand to take the Asian Olympic qualifying tournament.
Captain Kim Yeon-koung returned from one-game absence to put on a dominant show with 22 points at Korat Chatchai Hall in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, helping South Korea to reach its third straight Olympics in women's volleyball.
Only the winner of this qualifying tournament earned the ticket to Japan.
Kim, South Korea's best attacker, sat out Saturday's semifinals match against Chinese Taipei with an abdominal injury. Despite playing at less than 100 percent, the wing spiker brought her "A" game to the court.
South Korea rallied from an early 4-1 deficit to take a 7-4 lead in the first set, with Kim leading the charge on offense.
Thailand eventually made it an 8-8 tie, and neither side led by more than one point until South Korea went up 17-15, Lee Jae-yeong's spike and an attacking error by Thailand.
Then with a 22-20 South Korean lead, Kim Yeon-koung had back-to-back blocks to get her team to the set point, and Park Jeong-ah finished off the opening frame with a spike.
South Korea jumped out to a 16-10 lead in the second set, before allowing Thailand to cut it to 19-17. Kim came to the rescue once again with some timely kills, as South Korea close out the set 25-20.
Thailand, who'd beaten South Korea in four of their past five meetings, took 14-11 lead in the third set. Then Lee Jae-yeong went to work, scoring four straight points with a combination of kills and block outs to put South Korea up 15-14.
After a bit of a seesaw match, spikes by Park and Lee gave South Korea some breathing room at 22-18.
Fittingly enough, Kim Yeon-koung got the match point when her spike was blocked out after an extended rally. It gave Kim her match-high 22nd point. (Yonhap)