• Kyodo

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Japan suffered a crushing defeat by Italy in straight sets Monday, falling to a 0-2 record in the women’s volleyball preliminaries at the Athens Olympics.

The Japanese women, hoping to win the first volleyball medal in 20 years, stood helpless before the quick and powerful Italians as they fell 25-16, 25-13, 25-17 at Peace and Friendship Stadium, despite strong scoring efforts by Miki Sasaki and Megumi Kurihara.

Italian ace Elisa Togut and two of her teammates notched 16 points each to help claim the squad’s second straight victory.

Japanese team coach Shoichi Yanagimoto said his team had no chance after the players got themselves distracted by the strategy of their opponents.

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