Fukuoka, Japan, 15 November, 2001 - It
will be a do-or-die day for all six teams when action
continues on Day 3 of the World Grand Champions Cup
women's volleyball event in Fukuoka, western Japan, on
China and Japan lead the field with two from two.
Russia and Korea have one win each, while USA and Brazil
surprisingly are still winless after the first two days
of competition held in Saitama.
Even though winless after Day 2 following losses to
Korea and China, NORCECA champion, USA still clings to
the knowledge that the winds of fortune can change very
quickly in a single round robin format. But they will
have to be at their best if they are to defeat European
champion Russia in the opening match on Friday.
"We have no particular strategy," said
Robyn Ah Mow, US captain and playmaker. "We just
need to find the rhythm we had - not that long
South American champion Brazil, also winless, also
sees a light at the end of the tunnel.
"Our team is quite stable in our strength. We
lost two matches, but in the remaining three days, we
will be giving it our best," said Brazil's captain
and star player Virna Dias.
Brazil meets Korea in match two Friday.
The match of the day, certainly for the 9,000 plus
partisan fans expected to fill Marine Messe stadium,
will be the match between China and host nation Japan -
with one team taking a clear lead for the US$300,000
first prize cheque.
Both teams enter the match on the top of the ladder
with a 2-0 record after China dismissed Russia and USA,
while Japan have put in it best performance in years to
defeat Brazil and Korea.
China's head coach Chen Zhonghe was again low-key in
his predictions of the match against the host
"We lost to Japan twice this year, and beat them
five times. We are taller and have better attack power
than the Japanese, but my players are not stable enough
to claim the domination," Chen said after the 3-1
win over the U.S. on Wednesday.
Japan's head coach, Masahire Yoshikawa believes
Japans best chance of defeating the powerful Chinese is
for his team to keep its focus and to play its own style
of volleyball, to not let the Chinese dictate the style
"China and Japan volleyball is quite
different. We want to play with our rhythm and a
Japanese style volleyball against China," he said
Shan Lei, Xinhua News Agency
Fukuoka, Japan, 16 November, 2001 - China is on
its way to the first world-level title for this
newly-formed team after defeating host nation Japan 3-0
in the final match of Day 3 of the 2001 World Grand
The young Chinese team, which was only organized in
April, now tops the six-team standings with a perfect
record of three wins. It has overtaken Japan (2-1) and
has a clear lead over title-holder Russia (1-2), World
Grand Prix champion USA (1-2), South American champion
Brazil (1-2) and wild card Korea (1-2).
If China wins its match against Korea on Saturday,
and Japan loses its match against Russia, the young team
will win be the 2001 Grand Champions - its first major
title win since it World Championship win in 1986.
"We did a great job in blocking, which we won by
16 to 2," said Chinese head coach Chen Zhonghe
after the match. Chen is also a new member of the team,
only starting as head coach after China's disappointing
fifth place at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
"The main reason for the loss is we didn't play
our normal defense," Japanese head coach Masahiro
"China made it through by concentrating on
severing and blocking." With combined efforts of
Zhao Ruirui and Yang Hao, China opened the match at 7-1
before Japan clawed back to tie at 16-16. Chen Jing
claimed the set for China with a surprise spike on a
The second set was a reverse version of the story as
the two sides traded point for point, before China broke
away after 12 each to finish with for an identical
result as the first set, 25-21.
China scored six straight points down the stretch in
the third set to take an unsinkable lead at 24-20, then
steered all the way to another 25-21 set win, taking the
match in straight sets.
"We ran for a good start at the beginning of the
match, which is very important to have the players
calmed down before the partisan local fans," Chen
"It will be the first world-wide title for many
years for China if we win here," he added.
China's captain Feng Kun said, "We were
fully award of the difficulties to play against Japan
here and made good preparation for the match."
"The Japanese team received much more pressure
after winning the first two matches, so it just didn't
display its best tonight," said. Chikako Kumamae,
Japan's captain a huge celebrity among the local female
"We were too slow to catch up with the Chinese
pace, while the disadvantage of height is also a big
reason for the loss."
The United States and Brazil also tasted their first
victories of the event as the U.S. won the first match
of the day against Russia 3-1 (18-25, 25-22, 25-20,
29-27), while Brazil routed Korea 3-0 (25-21, 25-14,
25-15) in earlier matches.
After a lack-luster first set, which they were down
18-25, the Americans picked up their attacking power on
Danielle Scott and Sarah Noriega to take the upper hand,
winning the following two sets, 25-22 and 25-20.
Toshiaki Yoshida, head coach of the U.S. said:
"We know how good Gamova's shots are, but we didn't
change our strategy though she did really well in the
first set. I just told my players not be afraid the
Russian block - to use it." Gamova had a game-high
"We don't play as well as we did in the
Grand Prix, but I think my players will gain confidence
from today's win," he added. Russian head coach
Nikolai Karpol said : "It's a close game,
unfortunately we lost it."
The wild card Korea, who has not finished in the top
three in the world level competitions for years, put up
a fight in the first set with well-organized defense,
which they lost 25-21, before fading away.
Korean head coach Kim Cheol-yong attributed the
defeat to the loss of two injured starters, setter Kim
Sa-nee and center-blocker Lee Yun-hui.
Brazil's captain Virna Cristine Dias said,
"Today we played the best match so far in the
tournament. I hope we could keep on and win again."
"Everything just went well today and we avoided
losing easy points on mistakes," said Brazil's head
coach Marco Aurelio Motta.
Brazil will meet the U.S. on Saturday's second match
after Japan-Russia match, with China to take on Korea at