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World Grand Prix 2005 - Match Descriptive

Match Descriptive

Japan beat Netherlands 3-1 (22-25, 25-20, 28-26, 25-22) - duration 2:04
14-Jul, start time: 18:00, end time: 20:04 - Attendance: 8'500
City: Sendai; Hall : Sendai City Gymnasium
Japan restore their pride with win over Netherlands
Sendai, Japan, July 14, 2005 -- After suffering opening-night nerves on Wednesday, Japan came back in style on the second day of the World Grand Prix finals on Thursday.
Japan, brushed aside by Italy in straight sets the previous night, beat the Netherlands 3-1 (22-25, 25-20, 28-26, 25-22).
The win improved Japan's record to 1-1, while the Dutch fell to 0-2.
The performance, and result, were just what Japan needed after a disappointing start to the six-team tournament.
The dynamo Miyuki Takahashi was the inspiration, with 21 points, including 19 kills, but Japan as a team were transformed from the previous evening.
The Dutch built up a five-point lead at 19-14 in the first set, but Japan showed the fighting spirit and attacking spark that had been lacking the previous night to pull within one point at 22-21.
The tall, blonde line of Dutch blockers proved decisive at the net, though, and enabled the Netherlands to take the first set 25-22.
Japan struggled to deal with the Netherlands' aerial bombardment in the second set, especially from Debby Stam, and when a four-point deficit appeared at 13-9, coach Shoichi Yanagimoto called a time-out to regroup.
The talk did the trick, and, behind the power serving of Takahashi, Japan won five points in a row to surge ahead 16-14.
Japan now had some momentum, especially in their blocking, and Athens Olympian Ai Otomo closed out the set 25-20 with a winner from the right.
There was a nailbiting end to the third set, as Japan squandered four set points before winning it 28-26 on their fifth, a serve from Chie Yoshizawa which deceived Chaine Staelens.
The first three sets had taken 80 minutes, proving how closely matched the teams were.
The Dutch were beginning to look tired against Japan's fast and varied attacks, as the hosts moved them to all corners of the court.
Huurman remained a constant threat, though, and scored some timely points to interrupt Japan's rhythm.
On their second match point, Japan won when Kim Staelens's serve drifted long.