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 Match info | Description
Japan overcome Dominican Republic in four sets

Japan spike against the Dominican Republic as the home side pick up the win on Friday
Tokyo, Japan, August 20, 2010 – Japan overcame a dogged Dominican Republic in four sets (25-15, 23-25, 31-29, 25-20) to improve their record to 6-1 in the FIVB World Grand Prix in Tokyo on Friday.

The Dominican Republic now drop to 2-5.

Dominican coach Marcos Kwiek had to call an early timeout as Japan rushed to a 6-1 lead in the first set. Kaori Inoue got the home side rolling with an initial spike, which she followed up with a fantastic block on Dahiana Burgos, while Mai Yamaguchi and Yukiko Ebata helped stretch Japan's lead to five points at 10-5. Japan continued to defend superbly negating the big Dominican hitters. A fantastic block by Ai Yamamoto on Altagracia Mambru, a service ace by Inoue and a spate of Dominican errors saw Japan move eight points ahead at 17-9. The Dominicans tried to fight back through Lisvel Eve, but Japan were in control. After Yamaguchi planted a brilliant spike through the Dominican defence to make the score 23-15, the Dominicans twice failed to get the ball over the net to hand the opening set to Japan.

Serving and receiving errors hurt the Dominicans early in the second but they stayed close with some good blocking and Japan was only one point ahead at the first TTO. Japan moved ahead after Ebata notched three straight points, with a block on Mambru and two well-placed hits. But the scores were level again after a massive thump from Marianne Fersola, prompting Japan coach Masayoshi Manabe to call a timeout. The scores stayed close and some good attacking play by Eve for the Dominicans and Ai Yamamoto for Japan kept things that way. Two missed serves aided the Dominicans and they were able to close the set out with a spike by Jeoselyna Rodriguez.

Saori Kimura had a great service spell early in the third set, with the Dominicans failing to return three serves in a row, but two missed serves by Japan and good Dominican blocking kept the scores close. Two Dominican errors and a spike by Kimura put Japan four points up and Kwiek had to call a timeout. A great block by Yamamoto followed by a fine spike from the same player forced Kwiek to quickly call another timeout with Japan six points ahead at 13-7. Japan kept the pressure up and were soon 10 points ahead. Two unanswered serves from Cindy Rondon prompted Manabe to call a timeout at 19-12. Japan couldn't handle Rondon's serves and Manabe had to call another timeout three points later. Only when Rondon made an error herself did Japan end their points drought. But the balance of the set had changed and the Dominicans were back in the game. Sidarka Nunez brought her team right back into the match and the scores were level at 24. Japan saved one setpoint but failed to convert five of their own until a netted serve by Burgos and a wide spike by Eve gifted the set to the hosts and put them 2-1 up.

There was little to separate the two teams early on in the fourth set, but some inspired shot placement by Kimura put Japan four points ahead at 12-8, forcing Kwiek to call a timeout. But both teams were guilty of errors and Japan couldn't pull away from the Dominicans. Two service aces by Akiko Ino then gave Japan a five-point cushion at 18-13. Japan captain Erika Araki showed her class with two super spikes, but a monster spike by Sidarka Nunez and an unreturned serve from Marianne Fersola prompted Manabe to call a timeout. Kimura then came up with a sensational tipover to bring up matchpoint and a receiving error by Eve allowed Yamaguchi to end the match with a first-time shot.

Saturday will see the hosts take on Italy while the Dominican Republic face the Netherlands.


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