Ljubljana, Slovenia, September 14, 2017 – 2015 runner-up Turkey scored their third win at the 2017 FIVB Women’s U23 World Championship in Ljubljana on Thursday night by seeing off Japan 4-1 (15-12, 15-5, 15-9, 12-15, 15-8). Thus, the Europeans kept their hopes for a semifinal spot alive but need a clear win over Bulgaria in Friday’s last Pool B round if Brazil beat Cuba.
All matches in Ljubljana are played under a new scoring system currently being tested: a best-of-seven, 15-point set format.
Japan, on the other hand, cannot confirm their exceptional performances from 2013 (bronze medal) and 2015 (fourth rank).
Beyza Arici, Asli Kalac, Hande Baladin and Ebrar Karakurt teamed up in all skill categories and combined for 31 attacks, 16 blocks and three aces. Rei Kudo and Nanami Hirose scored nine points each for Japan. The Turks outblocked the Asian side 19 (!) winners to four.
Turkey needed strong nerves in the early stages of the match as Japan got off to a good start. However, the Europeans fought back bravely to turn the tables at 12-12. It was the key moment in the match with Turkey wrapping up the first set 15-12 and continuing their run in the second, third and fifth set.
Turkey coach Ataman Guneyligil: “It was a tough but very important match. In our preparations for the match against Japan, we saw some weaknesses in their attack and we worked on that. Our serves were very good and that is why they could not score.”
Turkey captain Cagla Akin: It was a very important match for us. We won it with great serves and blocks. Tactically we played very well. We are facing Bulgaria tomorrow. We have not watched them yet, but we will have to fight hard.”
Japan coach Kiyoshi Abo: “First of all I would like to congratulate Turkey for their performance today. We were preparing well for this match but we did not have enough strength to win it.”
Japan captain Misaki Yamauchi:J “It’s a disappointment for us because this was a very important match for both teams. The Turkish team was mentally very strong. So were we, but they managed to overcome us. Unfortunately we lost and we are very sad.”
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