FIVB Volleyball Girls' U18 World Championship

Press release

USA coach Speraw on win over Japan: We utilized our size, blocked at the net well

USA coach John Speraw, captain Sean Rooney at the press conference that followed their game with Team Japan

Kyoto, Japan, November 19, 2013 - Team USA was delighted to pick up a win on the opening day in the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup over host team Japan, 3–1. The USA coach Speraw was delighted to pick up this win, against an enthused Japanese team.

USA coach John Speraw: We’re very excited to get the win tonight. We had the opportunity to compete twice against Japan before the tournament started, and they beat us both times, playing great volleyball. Early in this match we played really well, utilized our size, we blocked at the net well, used our strengths, I think we passed better than they did. I was not surprised that the beginning of the third set went the way that it did. That was the team we played in scrimmages. They have improved dramatically since World League. Max Holt had a really nice match, and Matt Anderson played well from the service line.

On facing Brazil next: I think we’re going to have to serve better. That was one area tonight that wasn’t very good. To beat Brazil you have to serve well. This tournament was unique in that we didn’t have much preparation time. So this is going to be about watching lots of video tape and preparing. […] We did see them in World League so I think that will be helpful for us.

USA captain Sean Rooney: It’s great to be in Japan to start this tournament. We’re excited to be here, playing in Japan against Japan is an awesome experience. We had fun tonight. And now on with the tournament. […] Today we started with a win, and that’s important in a tournament like this with only five games. We have good a relationship with Japan, they played good defense. We knew they’d be fired up after the break. We’re disappointed with the third set, but tactically we played well in the fourth, and we’re glad to get out of here with a win.

Japan coach Gary Sato: I was disappointed with our start, I think we’re capable of playing better than that. However, I think you saw some instances in the third and fourth set where we played the kind of volleyball we need to play to be successful. We have to give credit to the USA team, they have some members who are Olympic gold medallists, and they know how to rise to the occasion and bring their teammates along. However all our future opponents are the best teams in the world, so things will not get easier than this. We will have to play better.

On using Shun Imamura over Shigeru Kondoh as setter: We started with Kondoh almost the entire season thus far. He provided some consistent play. But Imamura was persistent and earned the right to start tonight. Each one of them has certain setting abilities, if we are passing better, then we can run a certain offense with Imamura.

On playing Russia tomorrow: I’d like to say we can play them like Italy (who beat them today), but we’ll have to go home and watch the film, and see if there are some ways we can attack and counter attack them. But most importantly, we have to play to a certain level of excellence, consistent with how we played in the third set today.

Japan player Tatsuya Fukuzawa: Asked about returning to Kyoto having played his high school volleyball here – I’m very happy to be here in Kyoto, I wanted to show the city better volleyball, and so tomorrow I hope we can do that.

Japan captain Kota Yamamura: It was very hard, we were very nervous about facing America’s height and power, but we’re getting used to it. But this game is over, so tomorrow we’re going to try our best.

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