Busan, Korea, August 7, 2011 – Led by the two Saoris – Sakoda and Kimura – Japan breezed past Germany 3-0 (25-22, 25-13, 25-19) in a Pool C Preliminary Round match in the 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix in Busan on Sunday.
Sakoda topped all scorers with 20 points, while teammate Kimura was close behind with 19. For Germany, Margareta Kozuch was the leading scorer with 12 points.
2011 FIVB Volleyball World Grand
Japan outscored Germany 75-54 and outblocked them 9-3. The two teams were even on serves at 6-6.
The result saw Japan (2-1) finish second behind unbeaten Brazil in Pool C after the first weekend of play in the 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix. Korea (1-2) were third and Germany (0-3) fourth.
The first set on Sunday was close, with Germany strong in striking and blocking well. Japan were characteristically well-organized and also defended well. At 13-13, Germany’s Maren Brinker earned an attack point and left attacker Heike Beier earned a service point to put Germany ahead, before Japan pulled back to 18-18. Sakoda then turned on her power and Germany were unable to defend well, allowing Japan to take the set by three points.
Led by star setter Yoshie Takeshita, Japan had too much for Germany in the second set. Kimura and Sakoda started to dominate at the net and Germany lost the initiative of the game. The Germans’ errors and poor reception meant Japan had little trouble securing the set by a surprising margin of 12 points.
Japan didn’t let up in the third set. They used their organizational power and defensive skills to move ahead before Germany fought back with Kozuch scoring consecutive service points. The Germans’ defense also improved and the match became a close contest for a while. But once again, Sakoda and Kimura were set up by the skills of Takeshita as Japan retook control, easing to a six-point win in the set and a handy 3-0 match victory.