Tokyo, Japan, May 29, 2016 – China’s 14 excellent blocks denied Japan of a back-to-back victory when they defeated the hosts 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-23) at the Men’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Sunday.
Zhang Chen and Chen Longhai had four blocks each to support China’s defensive stance on their Asian rivals Japan. The hosts won on the first day of competition against Venezuela but could not completely respond to the overwhelming net defence of China on the second day. China maintained their consistency by limiting their errors to only 15, while Japan surprisingly committed eight more errors than their opponents. Kunihiro Shimizu and Yuki Ishikawa led Japan with 16 and 14 points, while Dai Qingyao and Zhong Weijun contributed 12 and 11 points to the Chinese victory.
China had an 8-5 lead that was wiped out by the Japanese as they scored a 4-1 run that evened the first set at 9-all. China had a two-point lead at 16-14, but their excellent counter-attack helped them increase their lead to 20-15. China got the free pass to win the first set on a reception error and Masahiro Yanagida’s service blunder. The Japanese matched up well in the second set but China patiently worked on their offence through their quick plays. China’s defence once again intimidated the Japanese hitters down the stretch. Dai was ready to put on the finishing touch with a spike to secure the second set for China 25-22.
In the third set, Japan speeded up the tempo of their plays to overcome China’s high blocks, but the opposing side matched their intensity, which resulted to a encounter in the set. After trading points in the set, Japan gained a two-point advantage at 20-18 but China staged a run and seized the advantage at 22-21. Yanagida put Japan back ahead at 23-22 but Shimizu’s service error and China’s two consecutive blocks concluded the match at 25-23.