FIVB - Women's Volleyball World Cup 2011

MATCH INFO

Cuba keep Japan winless with straight sets victory


Cuba delivered a strong performance tonight in Nagoya to defeat Japan in straight sets

Nagoya, Japan, November 22, 2011 - Cuba handed host Japan its third straight defeat (25-21, 25-23, 25-22) on the third day of first-round action in the 2011 FIVB Men's World Cup at "Nippongaishi" hall on Tuesday. The win lifted Cuba to a 2-1 win/loss in the World Cup, while Japan slumped to 0-3. Fernando Hernandez starred for the winners once more, with strong backing from Wifredo Leon, who was named the most impressive player of the match. Kunihiro Shimizu and Daisuke Yako were the key players in Japan's attempt to get its first win of the tournament.

Cuba split its first two matches, beating Iran and losing to Poland. Japan, which previously lost to Iran and Argentina, just could not deal with the overwhelming power game of the Cubans. Backed by a partisan home crowd, Japan came out with enthusiasm and led 7-6. The hosts were ahead 8-7 at the first TTO in the opening set. Cuba then scored three straight points to go up 10-7 and Japan took a timeout. A service by Shimizu evened the score at 11-11. Hernandez rose high for a spike to make it 14-11 for Cuba. Leon then followed with one of his own. Henry Bell made it three straight for 16-11 at the second TTO. Kota Yamamura broke the streak with a well-placed swipe. A nice block by Isbel Mesa put Cuba up 20-14. Hernandez sent a serve into the net to make it 22-17 and Shimizu followed with a spike. Cuba reached set point when a Japan serve went long. Japan made it 24-21 on a service ace by Yuta Yoneyama but Leon finished the set 25-21 with a spike. Leon notched six points in the first set, while Hernandez had five; Shimizu topped Japan with four.

Japan was on top 8-7 at the first TTO in the second set behind some strong blocking. Consecutive missed spikes by Cuba gave Japan a 13-11 lead. A deft hit by Yako saw Japan with a three-point lead (16-13) at the second TTO. Hernandez ripped another spike to pull Cuba within a point at 16-15. The Cubans tied the score at 18-18 on a wicked serve by Hernandez. Cuba finally moved in front 20-19 on a spike by Bell. Japan tied it 22-22 on a spike by Shimizu. Hernandez's block gave Cuba set point and he finished it 25-23 with one more spike. Hernandez had seven points in the set, while Leon added four. Yako had seven points and Shimizu five for Japan.

The third set began inauspiciously for Japan when Yako served into the net. Japan took a 6-4 lead in the third set on the back of some unforced errors by Cuba and led 8-5 at the first TTO. A spike by Yako gave Japan an 11-7 lead and Cuba called a timeout. Japan surged to an 15-11 lead and was up 16-12 at the second TTO when Leon could not handle a spike. Yako hammered a spike to make it 17-14, but Cuba responded with four straight points to move in front 18-17. The score was knotted 20-20 when Bell uncorked a spike to give Cuba back the lead. A block by Mesa put Cuba within two points of victory at 23-21. Cuba closed out the contest 25-22 on one final spike by Hernandez.


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