FIVB - Volleyball World Grand Prix

MATCH INFO

Despite slow start, Japan defeat Germany in five sets


Kawashima's spike on double Germany's block.

Plock, Poland, August 9, 2013 – Japan have equaled their second best winning streak in FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix play with a win Friday against Germany, 3-2 (18-25, 20-25, 25-20, 25-22, 15-12). The five-set match started slowly for Japan, which lost the first two sets to recover for their fifth World Grand Prix win in a row. 

Japan’s Nagaoka Miyu led her team to victory with 27 points, of which 24 were attacks, while Germany’s captain Kozuch Margareta was her team’s lead scorer with 19 points.

In the first set, the German women played especially well on the right wing and were unstoppable against Japan's block. Germany’s Christiane Furst, who tipped a smart dink behind the block to pull ahead for an 8-4 lead, and Corina Ssuschke-Voigt finished their spikes with perfection. Japan’s coach Masayoshi Manabe called for a time out when they were down 14-7, but Germany's block was still too strong for his team. Kanako Hirai’s substitution into the match finally changed the game for Japan, as she finished three spikes in a row to help Japan to come back. Despite the short scare, however, Germany achieved the fist set win at 25-18.

In the second set, Japan’s captain Kimura Saori and Hashimoto Naoko led their team to a 6-2 advantage. After a strong block on Kimura and then spike by Germany’s captain Kozuch's spike on Japan, Manabe asked for time out. Maren Brinker scored from the middle of the net for 21-16, but after good spike by Nagaoka and bad one by Brinker, Germany held on to a three point advantage, leading Guidetti to call for a time out. Beier then set the score at 23-19, and pushed Germany to win 25-20.

The third set started similar, with Japan playing consistent volleyball. Two kills from Aimi Kawashima set the score 5-3, but they could not increase their two point advantage until 11-8. Ishii's ace for 13-9 forced Guidetti to change Brinker for Thomsen, but it did not make any problems for the Japanese women, who still led 16-11. Guidetti asked for a time-out when Japan led 17-13. Germany cut down the distance to the 16-18, although Japan came back to the match gained points after smart kills (22-16). Eventually, it was impossible for Germany to catch up and Japan won the set 25-20.

The fourth set also started neck-and-neck from the beginning, until Germany took the lead 8-6 at the first TTO. Kozuch’s kills for 12-9 were not enough to stop the Japanese team, which equalize the score for 14-14 and 17-17. The game was very close, but after Kimura's ace, foul hit of Christane Furst and spike by Kozuch, Japan took a two-points advantage 21-19 and later 22-20. Brinker rebuilt Germans forces at the end of fourth set. Shinnabe attacked to the horizontal band of the net, which resulted in a check by the challenge system. Referees decided to keep up their decision for 22-22. Hirai and unstoppable leader of Japanese team, Nagaoka, finished their actions for 24-22, securing another win 25-22.


In the tie-break fifth set, both teams started well, not allowing their opponent to take a big advantage. When the set was tied at 3-3, Nagaoka served an ace and then Kozuch was stopped by double block on the Japanese side. Guidetti buoyed his team on time out when the score was 7-5 for the opponent, but it did not changed the game of European League winners. Thomsen and Brinker went onto the court in places of Beier and Geerties and produced a great block of Ssuschke-Voigt for 6-8. In the end, Japan finished the match with an attack by Shinnabe 15-12.

Beside’s Friday’s match, only the first World Grand Prix match between Poland and Japan, in 2004, went to a deciding set, with Poland eventually winning the fifth and final set 15-11.

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