Japan volleyball squad earns four-set win over Turkey

Kyodo News

Japan beat Turkey in four sets to keep their medal hopes alive at the FIVB Women’s World Volleyball Championship on Sunday, holding on to second place in Group E behind leader Russia.

The host prevailed 25-19, 23-25, 25-19, 25-13, rebounding from its loss to China the day before. Japan, eyeing its first medal at the worlds in 32 years, has four wins through the first five games to trail Russia, which remains unbeaten.

The top two teams from the two groups in the second round advance to the semifinals.

“We couldn’t lose this game no matter what, and we came through,” said Yukiko Ebata, who led the team with 22 points. “I was going to convert on any toss.”

Saori Kimura also had 21 points for Japan, which faces South Korea on Tuesday. The Koreans are a point behind the Japanese in third.

“The players were focused from the start,” coach Masayoshi Watanabe said. “I don’t think we could have had a better game, and our serves were effective. We’ve got to maintain our concentration for the Korea game.”

Turkey suffered its third loss to sit in sixth place, two points behind Japan.

“I want to congratulate Japan. They put on an excellent performance today,” Turkey coach Mehmet Bedestenlioglu said. “We had errors in reception, and we know they have a good defense and we couldn’t match that.

“They also play a very fast attack. When we served better our defense wasn’t good,” he said.

In Group F, Brazil beat Cuba 23-25, 25-20, 25-13, 25-18 to make it 5-for-5 to stay on top, while the United States went down to Italy, 16-25, 26-24, 25-27, 25-27.

The Americans are in second, one point behind the Brazilians. Italy and Germany are in third, two points off the pace of Brazil. Germany swept past the Czech Republic 25-8, 25-17, 25-16.