• Kyodo

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Japan cruised past winless Kenya 3-0 in its final preliminary round match in the Athens Olympic women’s volleyball tournament Sunday and advanced to the quarterfinals, thanks to a little help from Italy.

Japan finished the round-robin tournament with a 2-3 record after a comfortable 25-8, 25-17, 25-14 win over the error-prone Africans in Pool A, but it needed Italy to defeat Greece in a later match to make sure of a place in the knockout stage.

And the Italians (4-1) obliged with a 25-19, 25-19, 25-22 win that ended Greece’s own hopes of making the last eight after a fourth loss and helped Japan take fourth place in the six-team group.

Earlier in the day Japan raced into a 9-0 lead with Kana Oyama and Sachiko Sugiyama unstoppable as Shoichi Yanagimoto’s team took the opening set in just 18 minutes.

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