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Japan claim first World League win beating Germany in tie-break


Japan picked-up its first win in the World League after beating Germany in the fifth set

Japan, Koshigaya, June 29, 2014 - In their final FIVB Volleyball World League match of the season, Japan finally picked up their first win, beating Germany in Koshigaya 3-2 (25-22, 25-22, 14-25, 23-25, 17-15) at the Koshigaya City Gymnasium on Sunday.

This was the fourth match of Japan against the Germans in World League play, with Germany winning the other three. This was an entertaining see-saw match, thrilling the hometown Koshigaya fans who had hoped to host World League matches in 2011, but could not because of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Japan was led by the dynamic duo of Kunihiro Shimizu and Yu Koshikawa, who scored 24 and 22 points, respectively. For Germany, Marvin Prolingheuer scored 22 points, a valiant effort on his birthday.

The first set was close, with Shimizu living up to his promise to attack better than they had on Saturday, scoring a pair of six in the set to push Japan out front 7–5 early. Germany’s Prolingheuer attacked well as he did on Saturday with six points in the opening frame, but neither side led by more than two points until the very end, until an ace from Yamato Fushimi put Japan over the top 25-22.

Dropping the first set appeared to spark the Germans, as Prolingheuer and Björn Höhne came out firing to push their side up 7-4. But Japan came back with strong attacking from Shimizu and Koshikawa, the latter with a particularly stunning pipe attack tying it at 17-all, and then an ace from Naoya Shiraiwa gave Japan a 20-19 lead. A wonderful block from Hideomi Fukatsu gave the home team a 23-21 edge, and Shimizu pitched in a pair of kills to finish 25-22.

Both teams were even early in the third set, but then Germany went on a 5-0 run to go ahead 12-7, largely from great attacking of Prolingheuer on the wing. Japan were frazzled, making this set an easy one for the Germans. Ryusuke Tsubakiyama looked nervous in a brief appearance off the bench, his errant attacks late giving it to Germany 25-14.

Those nerves appeared to carry over into the fourth set for Japan, with errors receiving and in service allowing Germany an early 8-5 edge. But Japan regained their composure, and eventually took a 21-20 edge on an ace from Shimizu. But again errors plagued them late, and a Tom Strohbach spike evened the match at 2-2, taking the set 25-23.

The German block, which had been so dominant in the win over Japan on Saturday, got rolling again in the tie-break, with two consecutive stuff blocks on Koshikawa pushing them ahead 8-4. But a pair of aces from Yamato Fushimi brought Japan back within one at 10-9. Germany’s Collin gave his side match point, but Shimizu and Koshikawa brought Japan back to take the tie-break 17-15, and the match 3-2.


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