Nagoya, Japan, September 8, 2017 – Yuki Ishii and Erika Araki helped Japan to bounce back with a 3-2 (25-18, 25-27, 25-15, 16-25, 15-6) win over defending champions Brazil in the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Grand Champions Cup at the Nippon Gaishi Hall on Friday.
Ishii topped all scorers with 18 points, while Araki tallied 18 markers, including six blocks to power the Japanese offence and defence. Risa Shinnabe and Mami Uchiseto added 15 and 12 points, respectively. Brazilians Natalia Pereira and Ana Beatriz Correa led their side with 15 and 13 points.
Japan won its first-ever five-setter in the World Grand Champions Cup. In their most recent encounter with Brazil at the 2017 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix, Japan also won in the tie-breaker.
Ishii headed the offensive charge against Brazil to give Japan a 25-18 opening set win. Brazil struck at the last moment to tie the score at 22-all and seize the win at 27-25. The Asian side were more mindful of their previous set blunder and protected their lead in the third set. The South Americans forced a tie-breaker, but Japan utilised their quickness to win the match at 15-6.
Japan coach Kumi Nakada: After the defeat to Russia, we knew Brazil would be tough but we were determined not to lose two matches in a row, so we want to keep this momentum for tomorrow’s match against USA. When our service is working, it’s easier for us to find rhythm.
Japan captain Nana Iwasaka: The sets we lost, we lost because of ourselves. It was the same in the game against Russia. Today, the players, the reserves and the staff never gave up. All shared a passion to win.
Japan player Yuki Ishii: Today the team won due to great teamwork. At the end of the second set, we had a chance to win. I got a lot of balls but I wasn’t calm enough to convert them. But today’s win will give us good momentum for tomorrow’s game.
Japan player Koyomi Tominaga: Brazil had a very high block and their service got much better halfway through the match. Even though we went to full sets, our substitutes did well and we were able to do our job. In Tokyo, we hardly ever used back attacks, so before the match the players talked about it and Yuki (Ishii) demanded the ball a lot more and was able to score.
Brazil coach Jose Roberto Guimaraes: First, I’d like to congratulate Japan. It was an up-and-down game, but in the fifth set they played really good and they deserved to win tonight. They passed the ball well and their reception was good. Overall, Japan have really good balance in all the basics and have the highest level of technique. They block well and set well and at any moment they can be effective. They also play very fast and they are patient without losing their balance.
Brazil captain Natalia Pereira: We lost against them in the World Grand Prix this year and that was also a full-set match. I think Japan have been making good progress in this time and perhaps our analysis wasn’t good enough. Overall, we lacked patience today. We took the second set 27-25 but then got off to a very bad start in the third set before winning the fourth set and forcing a tiebreak. We need to work harder to improve, but congratulations to Japan.
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