JAPAN SWEEPS MEXICO WITH STRONG TEAM EFFORT
Yokohama, Japan, October 1, 2018 – Japan delighted another big crowd at Yokohama Arena on Monday night by defeating Mexico 3-0 (25-15, 25-15, 25-15) in Pool A to improve their win-loss record to 2-1. Mexico slipped to 1-2. It was a fine team effort by Japan, whose chief scorers were southpaw Miyu Nagaoka (14 points/10 spikes), Yuki Ishii (13/12 spikes) and Mami Uchiseto (9/3 aces). Japan recorded a total of 13 service aces. Mexico replied with 10 points apiece for captain Andrea Rangel, Samantha Bricio and Melanie Parra.
In front of a typically boisterous crowd, Japan jumped out to an 8-4 lead at the first TTO behind some super spiking from Sarina Koga and Yuki Ishii and a fine block by Miyu Nagaoka. For Mexico, captain Andrea Rangel led the reply with a searing cross-court winner from the right and wing spiker Samantha Bricio followed her lead.
Japan were looking good at 16-8 at the second TTO and forced a Mexico TO at 18-9. A floating ace from Mai Okumura, challenged unsuccessfully by Mexico, took the home team to 22-10 and they closed out the first set 25-15 with a lusty left-handed blow from Nagaoka on the right. Koga (5), Okumura (4, with 3 aces) and Ishii (3) scored 12 between them in dominating the first set.
The hard-hitting southpaw Nagaoka caused all sorts of problems for Mexico in the second set and Ishii kept up the pressure as Japan looked determined to finish this quickly after the previous night’s 2-hour, 38-minute marathon against the Dutch.
Trailing 18-10, Mexico called a TO to try and stem the flood of Japanese points and Melanie Parra responded with an ace on their return, followed by some crunching winners from Bricio.
Japan’s lead was too big, though, and they made it 2-0 by taking the second set 25-15.
Nagaoka continued to torment Mexico’s defence with her southpaw serve and Mexico took an early TO in the third set, down 6-2.
Despite some fighting quality from Mexico, Japan were able to build up a four-point cushion 16-12 at the second TTO as they prepared for their final push.
Setter Koyomi Tominaga added to Mexico’s woes with a couple of no-look tip-overs at the net and Japan were well on their way at 20-14. A block from captain Nana Iwasaka and a strong finish by a fired-up Mami Uchiseto enabled Japan to close it 25-15.
Japan Head Coach Kumi Nakada: We lost yesterday’s match (3-2 against Netherlands) in a very disappointing way so I was worried if the players could focus on today’s match. But they switched their mindset from yesterday to today’s match and this was a very good point. After the defeat yesterday I wanted to re-set the team and, with such a long way ahead, I thought today was a good time to make major changes to the starting members.
Japan Captain Nana Iwasaka: For me it was the first time to be a starter in this competition so I was a bit nervous, but I was able to fulfill my role. Every member of the team has played on the court after this match so that is good. On some occasions our play was not so sophisticated or smooth and this needs to be corrected. But, after yesterday’s defeat (to Netherlands), we kept our heads up from this morning’s training session. Even though we have a rest day tomorrow we want to keep this momentum going and and prepare for the next match as one together.
Mexico Captain Andrea Rangel: We played a good match but the result was disappointing. We were able to gain the experience we need. Japan’s serve was very strong.
Mexico Head Coach Ricardo De Jesus Naranjo: We were able to play our own kind of volleyball today but, of course, Japan is higher in class than us for sure. Japan served very well and this hugely undermined our attacking capability. In some moments we were able to compete equally with Japan.
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