Japan saw off a dogged Dominican Republic in four sets after securing its place in the final round of the Women’s World Grand Prix on Friday.
Italy’s straight-sets win over the Netherlands earlier at Yoyogi National Gymnasium and results elsewhere had already guaranteed Japan a top-five finish in pool play and a final-round berth in China later this month.
Masayoshi Manabe’s team gave home fans plenty to cheer about in the second Pool I game, prevailing 25-15, 23-25, 31-29, 25-20 to improve its overall record to 6-1. The Dominica Republic dropped to 2-5.
” Today, we won 3-1, but I feel some aspects of today’s match weren’t so good,” said Manabe. “For example, we allowed so many points when our service reception didn’t work. I don’t know how many points we lost today, but we’ll try to do better tomorrow (against Italy) with what we learned from today’s match.”
Japan captain Erika Araki added, “We won but we made many mistakes. What’s important is to prepare for the match against Italy and play as a team.”
Mai Yamaguchi nailed a team-high 17 points for Japan while Lisvel Elisa scored 18 points for the Dominicans.
Italy (5-2) beat the Netherlands (3-4) 29-27, 25-16, 25-15.
Twelve teams play nine matches in three rounds of pool play, with the top five to join host China in the World Grand Prix final round taking place in Ningbo from Aug. 25-29.