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Japan crush Costa Rica to fans' delight

Japan's Saori Kimura is a hit with fans of all ages both on the court and off it

Tokyo, Japan, November 2, 2010 - Hosts Japan remained undefeated in the 2010 FIVB Women’s World Championship after a straight-sets win (25-9, 25-13, 25-8) over Costa Rica in Pool A on Tuesday. Costa Rica (1-3) now face a must-win match against Peru on Wednesday to see who finishes fourth in the pool to advance to the second round.

Leading the way for Japan was star spiker Saori Kimura who put 17 points on the board, each one delighting the home-town crowd. Kaori Inoue played a supporting role with 10. Costa Rica’s scorers just couldn’t get anything rolling on the day, Verania Willis posting her team’s best effort with five.

FIVB Women’s World Championship Japan 2010 official page

Japan roared into the match, scoring 11 of the first 12 points capped by a pair of aces by Saori. She went on to score six points in the opener as Japan dominated the Costa Ricans, barely giving an inch the entire set. It was Saori Sakoda, who scored five points in the first set, who drove a winner home past a diving Mariela Quesada Sequeira to put Japan one set up, 25-9.

Japan kept it going in the second, a powerful spike by Sakoda practically knocking over a Costa Rican defender to make it 9-5. Yukiko Ebata contributed a pair and everything was going Japan’s way near the end with the diminutive Yoshie Takeshita (1.59m) climbing for an astonishing block at the net for a point to help close out the set, 25-13.

In the third, solid attacking from Mai Yamaguchi and serving from Inoue gave Japan an early edge. Saori spiked past Paola Ramirez Vargas’s would-be block to score, and Ebata Yukiko followed that with an ace to put Japan 11-5 ahead. This was part of another run of 11 out of 12 points that made it 18-6 for the home team. Japan cruised from there, taking the set 25-13, almost inevitably on an attack from Saori.

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