Volleyball News


Yokohama, Japan, October 4, 2018 – Japan stormed to a 3-0 (25-27, 20-25, 24-26) win over Germany in the final Pool A match at the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship on Thursday, spurred to victory by the irrepressible Sarina Koga, who notched 21 points in a dominating display.

Ai Kurogo also came up with some big points for the hosts, scoring 18 times, eight of which came in a scintillating first set performance.

Germany more than played their part in a gripping game of volleyball though, and Louisa Lippmann was again their biggest scorer, putting up 21 points, including 18 spikes.

Japan had won seven of their last eight matches against Germany at world level major tournaments, including the last four, and they came into this match roared on by a buoyant home crowd at Yokohama Arena. The first set gave the fans plenty to get excited about too, as both teams tore into proceedings with some wonderful attacking play, spearheaded by Kurogo and Lippmann, who put up eight and 10 points, respectively, all from spikes. It was ultimately Koga who decided things in Japan’s favour though, slamming down to make it 27-25.

Koga was then the standout performer in the second set, acing to put Japan 8-4 up at the first technical time out before a wicked spike to make it 14-10. Erika Araki ensured Kumi Nakada’s team didn’t lose momentum with a sensational block on a Lippmann spike to make it 19-13 to Japan, after which Koga took over proceedings and hammered home spike after spike, finishing with nine points in the set including the winner.

The third set was to be another breathless affair, with Japan seemingly on course for the win before Lippmann aced to close the gap to 22-19. Felix Koslowski’s side then won the next four points to move ahead, at which point Japan sent on Miyu Nagaoka – top scorer with 20 points in their last match against Cameroon – who instantly spiked to tie the score at 23-23. The teams then exchanged a couple more points before Germany failed to return a Koga serve, sparking jubilant celebrations that almost took the roof off the arena.

Victory ensured Japan finished second in Pool A, having won all of their games in straight sets aside from the 3-2 loss to winners the Netherlands. Despite defeat Germany still finished third and will also take part in the second round, traveling to Nagoya with the Netherlands, Japan, and Mexico to participate in Pool E, which begins on Sunday.

Japan player Sarina Koga: It’s good that we won in straight sets but from halfway through the first set I began to make mistakes so I want to correct that and work harder in the second round.

In the first set I hardly scored any points and wasn’t able to find my rhythm, but towards the end of the second half of the match I had more occasions where I received sets in good positions so I was able to score. Even so, I think I could have done more when the opposition was marking me, so I think I have to be more ingenious when I have an opponent on me.

Japan player Ai Kurogo: In the first set I felt a similar sensation to that from the Netherlands match, and was really happy we were able to win the first set today. In the second and third sets we began to make more mistakes, myself included, so I want to go for zero mistakes in such cases and work hard in the second round.

Japan coach Kumi Nakada: In the third set things got a little dangerous, but we went aggressively in search of three points in this game and each player fulfilled her role to the end. I think we can go into the second round in Nagoya in good form.

(Sarina) Koga has shown a lot of feeling this season. I think she wants to change something and wants to absorb something. She has a very strong passion for these things, she shows that in practice. She has bumped into walls and having been through such experiences she is where she is. I think she has changed the way she engages herself with volleyball, which has given greater depth and width to her play. The way she strikes each ball and is more observant of the block by the opposition and goes around it, it seems like she’s putting a lot more ideas into her play now. In today’s match too; not flashy, but very stable without too many fluctuations.

Germany coach Felix Koslowski: That was a very tough match for us. I want to congratulate Japan, maybe they played their best match in the tournament so far. My team also played great today, they fought great even if they were down three or four points, and I think we really deserved one set today. I’m very upset about the result but I’m very proud and very happy about the performance of my team, and I hope we can keep going in the next round in Nagoya in this way.

Germany captain Maren Fromm: I want to congratulate Japan for their great victory today. It was exactly what we expected, it’s like playing against a wall when you’re playing against Japan – you have to go three or four times to earn a point, and that’s what they showed today. It was really difficult to put the ball on the floor, but I think the first and the third sets were really good from us. We played until the end, just missing a little bit, a little step forward. But okay, we have to see that they are still stronger and learn from them.


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