Surabaya, Indonesia, July 27, 2017 – Title-hotshots Japan remained on course after brushing off Kazakhstan in straight sets 25-18 25-19 25-23 in their first top-eight playoff match of the SMM 19th Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship at the Tri Dharma Petrokimia Gymnasium on Thursday.
Japan, which pulled off a surprise 3-1 win over defending champions and hosts Iran in the final showdown of the previous edition two years ago in Tehran, dominated the first two sets 25-18 25-19, thanks to their impenetrable defence and explosive attacks from Yuki Ishikawa and Masahiro Yanagida.
Kazakhstan tightened their defence and hit back bravely with an aim of making amends for the loss in the first two sets, but Japan performed exceptionally well to blunt the rivals’ determined efforts. With terrific Ishikawa unleashing a barrage of aggressive attacks, Yanagida carrying out powerful mid-court spikes, Japan clinched the hotly-contested third set 25-23 and match.
Masahiro Yanagida led Japan with 13 points including 9 kills from 18 attempts. Yuki Ishikawa contributed 10 kills and 2 blocks. Vitaliy Varivodin claimed 12 points for Kazakhstan.
“It’s good to win in three sets, but I’m not satisfied with the quality. In some moments, we came up with low quality. Against Korea on Wednesday, we played bad with side-outs. We also have a bad rotation of players because we don’t have so many good players in our team….Ishikawa, Yanagida and Yamaguchi Akihiro. The day after tomorrow, we will play hosts Indonesia. It’s important to win the game. However, we have to think about the quality and what we have to do. In terms of the real target of our team, we just focus it for ourselves,” said Japan’s head coach Yuichi Nkagaichi.
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