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Argentina spikers triumph against Japan for second straight day

by Jack Gallagher

Staff Writer

Argentina completed a sweep of Japan with a four-set (25-21, 25-19, 23-25, 25-17) victory in their World League Pool D match on Sunday afternoon at Komaki Park Arena.

After defeating Japan in straight sets on Saturday, the South Americans once again overpowered their opponents with strength and good combination play as they raised their record to 5-3 on the season.

Japan did perform better, but had trouble with reception and fell apart after seizing the lead midway through the second set. The loss kept Japan winless at 0-8.

Japan showed some spark by taking the third set, but was unable to sustain the momentum.

Federico Pereyra sparked Argentina with a match-high 19 points. Lucas Ocampo contributed 13 in the win.

Kunihiro Shimizu was the top scorer for Japan with 15 in the defeat, while Yu Koshikawa had 13.

“Today was a risk for us,” said Argentina coach Julio Velasco. “We won 3-0 yesterday and did not have any time to train before the early start today. I told the team to start fast and concentrate or else Japan could get going and make it tough for us. We worked as a team today.”

Velasco said his side let down in the middle of the match.

“We relaxed in the third set and they took advantage,” he noted. “We made 11 errors on their 25 points. They were using tips and slow balls that gave us problems. We did better in the fourth set.”

Japan coach Masashi Nambu had little to say following the loss.

“I advised the team in our pre-match meeting about tactics. I told them sometimes we have to improvise,” he commented. “We need to concentrate on our service reception.”

Japan captain Yu Koshikawa thinks his team has to become tougher and more analytical going forward.

“From now on we have to find more mental power,” he stated. “It is not all about results, but finding a way to put together one good play after another for the future.

Argentina moved out to a 5-4 lead in the opening set following a nice dink by Pereyra. A floating spike by Martin Ramos sent Argentina into the first technical timeout with an 8-6 advantage.

Lucas Ocampo drove a spike deep into a corner to make it 10-6 for the South Americans and Japan then called a timeout. A spike by Naoya Shiraiwa took the score to 11-7. Pereyra’s serve into the net moved Japan within two at 14-12. Japan showed much better play at the net in the first set than on Saturday. Argentina was up 16-13 at the second TTO.

A service ace by Luciano De Cecco gave Argentina a four-point margin at 18-14 and Japan took a timeout. Koshikawa soared high for a spike and it was 20-15. Yamato Fushimi’s spike made it 22-18 and Argentina called a timeout. A service ace by Akihiro

Yamauchi pulled Japan within two at 22-20. Sebastian Sole spiked to put Argentina within two points of the set at 23-20. Koshikawa spiked for 24-21. Javier Filardi gave Argentina the set 25-21 with a spike into a big open space. Filardi had six points in the set.

De Cecco’s block at the net staked Argentina to a 5-4 lead in the second set. Pereyra ended a lengthy rally with a spike Japan could not handle to make it 7-6 for Argentina. It was 8-6 for Argentina at the first TTO.

A Shimizu spike moved Japan within a point at 9-8. Another Pereyra attack put it at 10-8. A service ace by Yamauchi knotted the score at 12-12. Japan then moved ahead 13-12 on a return error by Argentina. Shimizu tied it again with a spike for 14-14. A net violation by Argentina saw Japan take a 16-15 edge into the second TTO.

Sole leveled it at 16-16 with a huge spike. Shimizu’s reception error gave Argentina back the lead at 17-16. Argentina then surged ahead with three more points for a 20-17 margin and Japan called a timeout. A dink by Koshikawa ended Argentina’s run and it was 21-18. Shiraiwa served into the net and Argentina was two points from the set at 23-19. Ocampo’s nifty return gave Argentina the set at 25-19.

Argentina took an 8-5 lead into the first TTO in the third set. A Shiraiwa spike drew Japan to within a point at 10-9. A Shimizu spike made it 12-11 for Argentina. Koshikawa then hammered a spike to level at 12-12 and Argentina took a timeout. Another Koshikawa spike put Japan in front 13-12. Shimizu’s spike took the count to 14-12. Argentina fired a return long and it was 15-12. A reception error by Argentina saw Japan up 16-12 at the second TTO.

An unforced error by the South Americans boosted Japan’s lead to 18-12. De Cecco’s dink made it 18-14 and Japan took a timeout. Ocampo sent a serve into the net and it was 20-15. Ramos blasted a spike down the middle of the Japan defense and Argentina was within three at 21-18. De Cecco could not handle a return and Japan was on top 23-19. Argentina moved within two at 23-21 when Japan botched a reception. A fine block at the net by Argentina made it 23-22. Koshikawa’s spike gave Japan set point at 24-22. Japan then closed out the set 25-23 when Argentina could not handle a spike.

In the fourth set, Pereyra could not handle a return and Japan moved out to a 5-3 lead. Sole ended a long rally with an emphatic spike to make it 6-5 for Argentina. Ocampo connected on a quick spike and Argentina was in front 8-6 at the first TTO.

Filardi’s service ace made it 9-6. An Ocampo attack gave Argentina a 10-6 margin. Sole’s dink put Argentina up seven at 13-6. Filardi then uncorked another service ace and it was 14-6 as Japan called a timeout. Koshikawa served into the net for 15-7. An Ocampo spike put Argentina ahead 16-8 at the second TTO.

A Pereyra spike made it 18-10. Sole’s spike made it 20-12 as Argentina drove for the finish line. Sole smashed another spike and it was 22-14. Ramos crushed a spike for 23-15. Shimizu served into the net and Argentina had match point at 24-16. Argentina closed out the match 25-17 on a Filardi spike.

Argentina will travel to play Germany next weekend, while Japan meets France in Kyoto.