FIVB - Volleyball World Grand Prix 2012

MATCH INFO

Germany edge closer to qualification


German captain Margareta Kozuch celebrates

Osaka, Japan, June 22, 2012 – In a battle between two mid-table teams it was Germany who stole a march towards qualification for the World Grand Prix Finals with a four-set win (25-22, 25-12, 17-25, 25-16) over hosts Japan.

Both teams entered the match with three wins and three losses, Japan in seventh place in the standings and Germany just behind in eighth. But it was Germany who walked away victorious to the disappointment of the Osaka crowd. Leading the way for Germany was Corina Ssuschke-Voigt who had an incredible game all around, scoring 23 points, including seven aces and five blocks. Leading all scorers was Japan’s Saori Sakoda with 26 points in a losing effort. In total, Japan were outblocked 15-3 in the match.

Japan edged ahead 6-3 to start on a hard drive by Sakoda, but from there Germany took nine of the next 11 scores capped by a precision ace from Kozuch to go ahead 12-8. They kept that edge with Ssuschke-Voigt attacking well with a great block on Kanako Hirai, later followed by a hard spike to help her side up 24-18. Japan bravely fought off five set points, but the deficit was too big, and Ssuschke-Voigt closed it 25-22 by picking the corner with a drive (her sixth score), taking the first set for Germany.

Ssuschke-Voigt would top that performance in the second, dropping a pair of consecutive aces to drive Germany out front 6-0. They extended that to 13-5 on a Margareta Kozuch spike that Japan couldn’t get to. Sakoda tried to carry Japan back single-handedly after that, with her patented high-flying attack repeatedly confusing the German defence, cutting the lead to 14-10. But it proved a mere speed-bump as Germany took 11 of the next 13 points to close the set, with Ssuschke-Voigt scoring 10 in the set, an astounding five of those for aces.

Japan got things going in the third however, as Sakoda scored four early on sparking Japan on a run that saw them take nine of 11 to go up 11-6. Christiane Fürst had some success attacking, but Japan’s Sakoda was attacking even better, one of her eight points in the set pushing her side ahead 18-12. Kano Hirai gave Japan set point with a stunning block on Anne Matthes, and fittingly Sakoda closed out the set for Japan 25-17, two sets to one for Germany.

A Maiko Kano ace gave Japan a 4-1 edge to start the fourth, but strong attacking by Anne Matthes put Germany back ahead 8-6 at the TTO. Sakoda kept scoring, but didn’t have much help attacking, as Maren Brinker effectively countered for Germany with three straight aces to stay ahead 15-11. And from there Ssuschke-Voigt took over, posting her fifth block of the match on Japan’s Kurihara to go up 18-13, and delivering another two aces down the stretch, her seventh on match point to win 25-16, three sets to one.
 

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