Turkey clinch Finals spot with win over Japan
Osaka, Japan, June 23, 2012 - Turkey found themselves in third place in the Women’s 2012 FIVB World Grand Prix going into Saturday’s match versus hometown Japan in Osaka. They needed two points to reach their first ever finals, and they got that with the win, their seventh of the tournament, winning 3-1 (25-23, 25-14, 25-21, 25-17).
Turkey were led by their lethal lefty Neslihan Darnel with 16, including three aces. She was supported by Eda Erdem Dündar who scored 16, three for blocks. Leading all scorers on Saturday was Japan’s Mizuho Ishida, who posted 21 points in a losing effort. Japan’s Saori Kimura and Yoshie Takeshita were used sparingly in this match.
Japan were digging well early, but Darnel helped Turkey out to a 7-4 lead with an ace and a spike. But the home side bounced back as Kurahari scored five including an ace of her own to make it 9-8 Japan. They would extend their lead to three, but Turkey’s Gozde Kirdar Sonsirma put a stunning block on Kanako Hirai to tie at 15-15. It stayed close late when Hirai rebounded with a stuff block on Erdem Dündar to go up 23-21. Soon after the captain Yoshie Takeshita came in to set up Ishida for a kill on match point 25-23, taking the set for Japan.
But Turkey bounced back in the second as Kirdar Sonsirma pushed a floater over the Japanese defense who were caught too far up. She’d soon follow with an ace to help put her side up 9-2 at the TTO. Japan cut that lead to 12-7 on consecutive blocks by Kaori Inoue, but four scores late from Kirdar Sonsirma pushed Turkey back ahead 19-11. From there, a trio of scores from Darnel gave it to Turkey 25-14, evening the match at one set a piece.
Japan’s Ishida was scoring well in the third with six scores early, but Turkey’s Kirdar Sonsirma was on the offense as well, helping her team stay even 9-9. She would later help Turkey push ahead with a hard drive to make it 16-13 at the second TTO, Ishida scored her tenth point of the set after a wonderful reception let to her spike soon after to close within one of Turkey at 22-21. But a stunning block by Naz Aydemir on Maoki Kano gave Turkey match point, and a calm Darnel ace took the all important third set 25-21
Turkey carried that momentum into the fourth with Erdem Dündar blocking well, stuffing Kurihara twice to go up 9-3. But with Saori and Takeshita playing this set, Japan managed to bounce back with strong attacks and an ace by the setter to help draw close at 12-8. But Erdem Dündar added two more spike and an ace late to help her side pull back ahead 21-13. A Önal Güldeniz spike would clinch it 25-17 for Turkey, 3 sets to 1.