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Super Saori II leads Japan past Algeria

Japan found another "Super Saori" in Saori Sakota, who top-scored with 18 points for Japan against Algeria on Sunday
Tokyo, Japan, October 31, 2010 - Japan continued to delight the hometown fans in the FIVB 2010 Women’s World Championship by collecting their third consecutive win with an impressive straight-sets victory (25-18, 25-7, 25-14) over Algeria to remain undefeated. African champions Algeria remain winless for the tournament in the tough Pool A competition.

Japan showed that they are much more than just Saori Kimura, with 22-year-old Saori Sakoda executing her back-attack to perfection to notch 18 points. She was supported by Ai Yamamoto and Megumi Kurihara, who registered nine each. Algeria’s Faiza Tsabet also scored nine.

FIVB Women's World Championship Japan 2010 official page

Japan roared out in the first set, led by Sakoda who scored four early points helping the home side to a 10-4 advantage. Algeria mounted spirited attacks through Zohra Bensalem and Tsabet, but Japan held their lead with contributions from Megumi Kurihara and the captain, Erika Araki. Ai Yamamoto helped out with four points in the set, including a powerful serve that found its mark to make it 22-14. Japan cruised from there and, after Safia Boukhima fought off one set-point, the hosts took it at 25-18.

Japan didn’t give an inch in the second set either, with five unanswered points including a pair of aces from the 1.52m Yoshie Takeshita. Japan reached 11-1 before Algeria’s Lydia Oulmou broke the run with a spike, but Kurihara kept Japan’s momentum up, dropping an ace at the feet of Tsabet. Sakoda continued to fire on all cylinders with two consecutive bombs that made it 18-4, and her high-flying running spike helped Japan clinch the second set 25-7.

Strong serving by Kurihara in the third put Japan out in front at 9-3. Kaori Inoue, who had been rested for the first two sets, then jumped in with a powerful spike to make it 15-8. Kimura, who was also sparingly used, took over at the end with a pair of spikes to close out a wonderful performance, 25-14 against an Algerian side that struggled to deal with Japan's power and combinations.

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