Kyoto, Japan, November 20, 2013 - Coming off a disappointing loss against the Italians on opening day of the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup, Russia looked for a better effort against host Japan.
After loss to Italy, Russia rebounds by punishing home team Japan
Russia was led by Dmitriy Ilinykh who scored 12 points in the victory, including three blocks. He was supported by Alexey Spiridonov with 10, who won the player of the match award. Leading all scorers was Japan’s Kunihiro Shimizu, who scored 14 for Japan. Russia out-blocked the host team by a count of 15 to 5.
Russia didn’t give an inch to Japan to start this match, with no Japanese player scoring a point until Kazuyoshi Yokota hit a hard spike down center to make it 11-4. Russian attackers Spiridonov, Dmitriy Muserskiy, and Maxim Mikhaylov were a handful for the Japan defense, and the home team just couldn’t come up with an answer. Kazuyoshi Yokota tried a heated attack of his own, but Russia defended it well and with Spiridonov fired it back just as quick to go ahead 21-12. They’d cruise from there to take the first set 25-16.
Japan managed to stay a little closer to Russia in the second, although Russia’s big man Muserskiy did his best to spoil their efforts, delivering a blistering jump serve for an ace to make it 9-4. The Russian attack was frustrated momentarily mid-set by Yoshihiko Matsumoto and Shimizu, who put consecutive block stuffs on Ilinykh for scores to make it 15-10. From there Japan did find some rhythm, but the deficit was too big. A hard Spiridonov spike nearly knocked over Yoneyama, making it 23-16, a point symbolic of the punishment Japan was taking in the match. Mikhaylov underscored the message with a vicious cross-court kill to take the set 25-17.
Shigeru Kondoh was serving well for Japan in the third set, with an early ace to help keep his side closer than in the previous two sets. He followed up with a clever setter dump to pull within one point of Russia at 10-9. But Russia rolled on from there, taking eight of the next ten points to go ahead 17-11 on a run capped by consecutive blocks from Andrey Ashchev and Sergey Grankin. It was easy sailing from there, as they closed it out 25-18 without much difficulty.