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FIVB World Grand Prix 2006
Match Description
Japan sweep Korea 3-0

Winning smiles: Japan players celebrate

Tokyo, August 19, 2006: Japan powered their way to a second consecutive straight-sets victory in Pool A of the World Grand Prix 2006 at Ariake Coliseum on Saturday night.
 Japan beat Asian rivals Korea 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 25-17) to join Brazil with a perfect 2-0 win-loss record going into Sunday's last day of action in the four-team round-robin.
 Japan started the match bristling with confidence and ideas, and quickly opened up a 5-1 lead thanks to the outstanding form of Erika Araki, who had scored 12 points the previous evening in the 3-0 victory over Cuba.
 Sachiko Sugiyama also added two trademark spikes, running round setter Yoshie Takeshita to score from a sharp angle on the right.
 The Koreans were struggling to catch their breath amidst Japan's electrifying start, but southpaw Hwang Youn-Joo lifted their spirits with a clean winner on the right.
 Trailing 8-4 at the first TTO, Korea staged a comeback and pulled level at 9-9 thanks to improved blocking and some wild Japan attacks. Han Song-Yi also kept the Japan defence busy, but the home team enjoyed a three-point cushion, 16-13, at the second TTO in what was a pulsating opening frame.
 Jung Dae-Young caused Japan problems at the net, and finished off an incredible rally which featured a flying one-handed dig by libero Kaoru Sugayama that had the packed arena gasping.
 When Japan led 21-17, Korea coach Kim Myeong-Soo called a TO, but Japan went on to clinch it 25-20 with a winner from Miyuki Takahashi.
 Han was the dominant force at the start of the second set, breaking through at regular intervals thanks to her athletic leap and crisp spikes, and a cheeky spike into space from setter and captain Kim Sa-Nee took Korea to the first TTO ahead 8-7.
 The two Asian rivals were producing some exciting rallies for the noisy capacity crowd, with liberos Sugayama and Kim Hae-Ran demonstrating agile and athletic defence.
 Saori Kimura, on her 20th birthday, came up with some timely spikes, and Japan led by only one point at the second TTO, 16-15. Head coach Shoichi Yanagimoto replaced Kana Oyama with Mari Ochiai for the restart, and the coach was punching the air as the newcomer gave Japan extra momentum. Ochiai brought up set point at 24-18, and Japan closed it out 25-20 to lead 2-0.
 In the third set, 16-year-old Bae Yoo-Na attacked Japan's defence, but it was Araki who took Japan to the first TTO ahead by one after swooping down the middle to score. When Japan jumped from 8-7 to 10-7, Korea coach Kim called a TO to address the situation.
 A brilliant deep winner from Kimura after another long rally put Japan ahead 15-9, and Sugiyama pounced down the middle for 16-11. Jung kept the Koreans close with her outstanding net play, both blocking and attacking, but Japan had victory in sight and took the third set 25-17 in another convincing performance.