Volleyball News

Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan, May 30, 2017 – Japan’s Hisamitsu Seiyaku Springs braved the challenge of Kazakhstan’s Altay VC and won 3-2 (18-25, 25-17, 25-21, 22-25, 16-14) to earn the right for the title at the SMM 2017 Asian Women’s Club Samruk Kazyna Volleyball Championship.

Akane Ukishima, who played off the bench, bested all scorers with 26 points in Tuesday’s match at the Boris Alexandrov Sports Palace.

“Today, I wanted to improve my performance as I was not able to play well in our earlier matches. And tomorrow, if I can, I want to make more than just 26 points. I want to help my team win,” Ukishima said.

In the first set, Altay VC instilled a strong presence at the front line and set up their attackers Yunieska Robles and captain Inna Matveyeva. Hisamitsu Seiyaku Springs ran their offence on Yuka Imamura. The home team posted tight defence at the net to blank their opponents’ usual quick plays, which helped towards a 25-18 win in the opening set.

The Japanese side needed to employ more speed in their offence in the second set in order to throw off their opponents’ tempo, but first, they needed to react in defence with lightning-swift precision. They were able to defend against an aggressive frontline and took a 16-12 lead at the second technical time-out.

Altay VC’s Kristina Anikonova and Robles continued to provide firepower but the Japanese side’s Yuka Taura and Ukishima were also able to keep up, bringing Hisamitsu Seiyaku Springs to 25-17 in the second set.

In the next set, the Japanese club proved their might from the service line, to score off aces and to simply make their opponents struggle with the first ball. They settled into a 16-10 lead at the second technical time-out. The home crowd roared to Matveyeva and Robles scoring successively and saving a set point, but Japan’s setter Erika Sake sealed the third set at 25-21 with a tip-in.

By the fourth set, the crowd was in for a close contest, where Altay VC led in net defence and Hisamitsu Seiyaku Springs led in floor defence. It was a matter of which team could outsmart the other. Both teams had their equal share of hitters, but it was also a matter on which team succumbed to less errors. Even after setter Korinna Ishimsteva was subbed out due to a possible injury, Altay VC took charge to take set point. The Japanese side prolonged but an attack error by Imamura awarded the fourth set to Kazakhstan, 25-22.

The crowd held their breath in the tie-break as teams exchanged points. Sana Anarkulova provided the offensive spirit to bring Altay VC to a 9-7 lead. Ukishima fired from the right to allow Japan to overtake at 10-9. The Kazakh side fought back but later suffered to errors. Japan seized momentum to win16-14 in the decider.

Hisamitsu Seiyaku Springs will face Thailand’s Supreme VC in the championship match on Wednesday, May 31, at 17:00 local time. The eventual winners will earn a direct ticket to the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship in 2018.


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