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Japan spikers outplay Turkey in FIVB World Grand Prix Finals

by Jack Gallagher

Staff Writer

Japan scored a clinical straight-sets (25-13, 25-17, 25-17) victory over Turkey in the second day of play in the FIVB World Grand Prix Finals at Ariake Colosseum on Thursday night.

The win puts Japan (2-0) in first place ahead of defending champion Brazil (1-1) in the event.

Star Saori Kimura and Yuki Ishii powered the Japan attack with 14 points each. Miyu Nagaoka contributed 12 in the triumph.

Neriman Ozsoy was the high-scorer for Turkey with 11 points in the loss.

Japan excelled in all facets of the game, but was especially outstanding on defense. The hosts blocked well and made several excellent saves to keep balls in play, much to the delight of the partisan crowd on hand.

Turkey, ranked 11th, was coming off a huge upset of world No. 1 Brazil on Wednesday and just didn’t have it on this night. Turkey made several unforced errors and appeared fatigued at times.

“Today’s game went just as we had planned in our pre-match meeting,” said Japan coach Masayoshi Manabe. “First, we served great and that helped break Turkey’s rhythm, and we blocked their high balls and our defense was good. Everything went according to plan.”

The result was a nice present for Manabe on his 51st birthday.

“We started well and our reception was good,” said libero Yuko Sano. “When we played Turkey in the first week, they broke our service. Today, we knew our reception would be important so we tried to concentrate on that. We want to take this power into tomorrow’s game.”

Japan, which has never won this title, will take on China on Friday evening.

In earlier action, Brazil cruised past China in straight sets (25-23, 25-20, 25-21).

Jaqueline Carvalho and Fernanda Rodrigues paced the South Americans with 15 points apiece in the win.

Liu Xiaotong had 13 for China in the loss.

Brazil, a nine-time winner of this competition, rebounded following Wednesday’s surprise loss to Turkey.

China stands at 1-1 following the defeat.

Russia downed Belgium in straight sets (25-23, 25-16, 25-19) in the first match of the day. The result leaves Russia with a 1-1 mark, while Belgium dropped to 0-2.

Natalia Malykh led the Russian attack with 16 points.

Lise Van Hecke was the top scorer for Belgium with 15.

The six-team, round-robin tournament features three games each day and runs through Sunday. Japan will play in the night match each day.

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