• Kyodo

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Japan’s women’s volleyball players were knocked out of the Athens Olympics after a straight-sets defeat to China in the quarterfinals Tuesday.

News photoKana Oyama concentrates before serving during the women’s volleyball quarterfinal match
against China. Japan was eliminated from the tournament after losing in straight sets.

Japan led in the first and second sets but was unable to stop the Chinese from completing a clinical 25-20, 25-22, 25-20 win in 81 minutes at Peace and Friendship Stadium.

Japan, playing in its first Olympics since 1996, put together some speedy attacks and went 5-3 in front, but China bounced back and Wang Lina, who equaled a team-high 12 points, took the first set.

Again Japan took the initiative to open up a 7-3 lead in the second set, only to be frustrated by China’s high blocking game.

Ai Otomo and Kana Oyama, who had a game-high 16 points, battled bravely to try to bring their team back into the match and the third set was more evenly balanced.

But with the score tied at 15-15, China cranked up the heat and Zhang Ping hit a superb spike and her serve sealed the win and a place in the semifinals.

“We tried really hard, but we still could not win this match and I’m sorry that we will not be playing in the semifinals,” said Otomo, who scored nine points.

“It was exciting taking part in these Olympic Games. We are all delighted we played in Athens. In this tournament there are strong teams and some extremely interesting games took place and it was a great experience for every player,” she added.

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