Eboli, Italy, June 14, 2018 – Marlies Janssens made a consistently impressive performance on all counts to help Belgium finish their FIVB Volleyball Nations League campaign with a win – a hard-fought 3-1 (26-24, 23-25, 25-19, 25-21) victory over Thailand.
Janssens scored four aces, five stuff blocks and seven spikes for a total of 16 points, many of them coming in key moments of the match.
Kaja Grobelna was quite instrumental to Belgium’s successful ending of the last set. With a great spike off the opponents’ block, she fired the last point of the match shaping up her tally to 19 points. Despite having her ups and downs during the match, Britt Herbots once again rose to the occasion to top-score 23 points for Belgium’s win, including three aces and two blocks.
Both Chatchu-On Moksri (20 points) and Ajcharaporn Kongyot (17 points) made a big match, driving Thailand through the two hours of a nip-and-tuck battle with some fantastic performances, which, however, proved insufficient for a Thai victory.
Each of the four sets was a roller-coaster ride with big swings in the scoreline and either side being potentially able to win it. It was Belgium that proved more focused in the conclusive moments that decided the outcome and won the match tying the head-to-head record with Thailand at one victory apiece and extending the opponents’ losing streak in the VNL to nine games.
Thailand were the first to reach set point at 24-23 in the first part of the match. A pipe by Kaja Grobelna kept Belguim alive before Marlies Janssens aced to give her team an opportunity to close the set. In the next rally, it was she who set the ball for Celine Van Gestel’s attack that finished it off at 26-24. In the second set, Belgium bravely denied the first four of Thailand’s five consecutive set points with Janssens chipping in with a two-hand pushdown on the overpass.
With the Asian side running off with a solid lead at the beginning of the fourth set, the 21-year-old middle player put on a monster block to complete a Belgian comeback for 7-7. Moments later Janssens pushed her squad further ahead with a series of five serves, two of which went down as aces. This gave Belgium a five-point lead, which was practically impossible for Thailand to recover from, especially with Grobelna going on a rampage to get the job finished.
Belgium completed their inaugural VNL campaign with four wins out of 15 matches and a 13th place finish. Thailand settled for the penultimate 15th place with two victories on record.