Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, July 3, 2009 – Japan, former two-time world champions and consecutive two-time Asian winners, showed their class in their opening set against the European champions Belgium by taking the lead from the beginning 5-0, courtesy of Yumiko Mochimaru’s spectacular spikes at the net.
Despite the strong challenge, Belgium, with the height average of 181cm against the smaller-built rivals’ 175cm, found Japan an impossible nut to crack to go down in the close first set 23-25.
The Belgians recovered from the first-set loss to bounce back mightily. Lise van Hecke was the Belgium’s comeback. The 185cm powerful hitter unleashed a series of devastating spikes to help the team win the second set 25-19.
Their confidence boosted up, the Belgians started to produce the goods. They attacked fiercely from all angles, foiling the Japanese attempts to strike back and won the thrilling third set 25-22.
The fourth set was very close as Japan played consistently, while Belgium continued their aggressive attacks. Both sides were caught at 23-23 and again 24-24 and never died easily. Belgium were in better form to eventually beat the Japanese 31-29.