BEIJING, 9 August - USA came out on top in an exciting four-set match against Japan (25-20, 20-25, 25-19, 25-21) at the Capital Gymnasium on Saturday.
Tatyiba HANEEF-PARK and Danielle SCOTT-ARRUDA set the pace for the USA in the first set, building a 3-0 lead, but then ace setter Yoshie TAKESHITA (JPN) set up Saori KIMURA (JPN) for a back-row attack to keep Japan on their heels at 8-7.
The USA's right side hitters were unstoppable, though, despite Japan's excellent floor defence, and they won the set 25-20 even with Logan TOM (USA) struggling with her spikes.
Japan tightened their defence in the second set. TAKESHITA was all over the court as she made the best set passes of the match and organised the Japanese defence together with libero Yuko SANO (JPN).
The USA also raised their game, having five unanswered points in the middle of the set, but Erica ARAKI (JPN) made some good blocks towards the end to give Japan the second set 25-20.
The USA won the third set comfortably, 25-19, to put them in the driving seat once again.
Japan responded at the start of the fourth set with solo blocks from ARAKI and then then there was an exchange of leads until a HANEEF-PARK spike deadlocked the score at 19.
The USA then took control, led by their solid defence as Japan struggled with their attacks. Saori KIMURA'S attack went wide as the USA reached the set point and then Kim WILLOUGHBY blocked KURIHARA to end the set and match 25-21.
Danielle SCOTT-ARRUDA (USA) top scored with 22 points.