Japan spikers advance to second round at worlds

Kyodo News

Japan booked its place in the second round of the FIVB Women’s World Volleyball Championship with a 25-18, 25-7, 25-14 rout of winless Algeria on Sunday.

Japan’s third win in as many matches guaranteed that the host will finish in the top four in six-team Pool A. A total of 16 teams advance to the second round.

Saori Sakoda scored a game-high 18 points while converting 68 percent of her spike attempts. Megumi Kurihara and Ai Yamamoto followed with nine points each for Japan.

“Our serve-reception wasn’t good but we spiked very well today,” Japan head coach Masayoshi Manabe said. “Sakoda showed the best performance. She kept her mistakes to a minimum and stepped up when needed.”

Japan is now tied with Serbia atop the Pool A standings with six points.

Serbia defeated Peru 25-21, 16-25, 25-21, 25-18 earlier at Yoyogi National Gymnasium to secure its spot in the next round. Peru dropped to 1-2.

In Pool B at Hamamatsu, Olympic champion Brazil defeated the Netherlands 25-19, 25-18, 25-14 to stay unbeaten, along with Italy.

The Dutch team fell to 1-2. Italy cruised to a 25-9, 25-7, 25-21 victory over winless Kenya.

At Matsumoto, the United States took sole possession of the Pool C lead with a 3-0 mark after beating Germany 25-23, 26-24, 25-17.

At Osaka, defending champion Russia took care of Canada 25-13, 25-16, 25-21. Russia and South Korea both have six points after preserving their unbeaten starts in Pool D.

South Korea handed China its second loss, winning the match 25-22, 25-23, 25-23.