Japan grab the bronze medal at Women’s U23
Tijuana, Mexico, October 12, 2013 – Japan captured the bronze medal of the inaugural FIVB Women’s U23 World Championship Open following a 3-1 (25-16, 20-25, 25-11, 25-19) victory over United States at the Baja California High Performance Center on Saturday night.
For the last two sets of the contest, it was a marvelous exhibition from the Japanese side with a combination of defence and exciting fast offence.
Yurie Nabeya and Saori Takahashi were the main offensive weapons for Japan as they finished with 16 points apiece while Sarina Koga added 13 around the excellent performance from setter Kanami Tashiro.
Gina Mancuso topped USA with 13 points and Ariel Turner and Erica Wilson each contributed 11 points.
Japan held the advantage in aces (7-4) and the Americans led in blocks (9-7).
Yurie Nayeba and Suzuka Hashimoto helped Japan to take an 8-6 lead. Japan increased the distance to 12-7 with their usual fast pace, but Ariel Turner and Hayldey Hodson combined for spike and ace to cut the gap. Then it was time for Fumika Moriya and Saori Takahashi to restore the comfortable margin and the 16-10 score at the second TTO. The first set concluded at 25-16 with the right side spike by Sarina Koga.
The big spike by left-hander Monique Mead sent USA in front 8-7. The Americans widened the difference to 13-10 behind a couple of blocks by Jordyn Poulter and Sha’Dare McNeal and led 16-11 at the second TTO. They continued to increase the margin to 19-14 and captured the second set 25-20.
Japan stormed into an 8-2 advantage in the third set with Takahashi’s spikes leading the way. The Asian side arrived into the second TTO in front 16-18 and continued on the same path with their outstanding defence. Asuka Nomura scored the last four points of Japan with one block against Gina Mancuso followed by her own three spikes and a 25-11 score.
In the fourth set, Sarina Koga provided five points with her attacks for an 8-4 Japanese lead. The Asian squad was working with all cylinders as they moved on to a 16-7 score at the second stop. Then Mancuso sparked an American comeback to narrow the distance to 24-19 before Takahashi finished things with a terrific spike for 25-19.