YOSHINO STEERS JAPAN TO HARD-FOUGHT 3-1 WIN OVER KOREA
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, May 20, 2018 – Formidable Japan put it past fighting Korea in a hotly-contested four-setter of the 12th Asian Women’s U17 Volleyball Championship, entertaining fans at the Nakhon Pathom Municipality Gymnasium on Sunday with their superb form, never-say-die attitude and amazing determination.
Yoshino Nishikawa scored a match-high 20 points including 16 kills from 41 attempts to lead Japan, reigning and seven-time champions, to a dramatic 3-1 (25-18 19-25 25-14 25-17) win. Ayana Funane assisted 11 points. Park Suyeon topscored Korea with 10 points including 7 attacks and 3 ace serves.
With powerful Yoshie Kawakami heading the team’s assault, Japan attacked powerfully from the very beginning of the first set to lead 6-0. Korea gradually pulled their game together and hit back gallantly to narrow the gap 13-14. However, the Japanese continued blocking sprees to stretch it to 24-18 before a spike from Park Suyeon went wide. Japan took the first set 2518.
Conceding one set, Korea regrouped and played more consistently to win the second set 25-19. The third set turned out to be the similar script as the first set when Japan came up with brilliant form. They produced an excellent offensive combination from Yoshino Nishikawa and Yoshie Kawakami mixed by scintillating blocks by Madoka Kashimura and Yoshino Nishikawa to win the comfortable set 25-14.
Korea gave it everything they had in the fourth set to keep their high hopes alive, but Japan proved a tough nut impossible to crack. Taking a commanding 15-9 lead, Japan stormed on with devastating attacks to win the set 25-17 and match.
“It was a good game for us. Both teams played a fast game. This was our first match in the championship and I think my girls played nervously. Fortunately, they improved on serves in the following sets and we started to play better. Against China tomorrow (Monday), we have never seen them. However, since winning the Championship is our initial target, we have to play much better than this in the match against the Chinese. We trained only 15 days before competing here and that’s why my girls played with mistakes. So, tomorrow (Monday) we have to play better than this,” Japan head coach Daichi Saegusa commented.
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