Japan women miss automatic Olympic berth


In a Friday night match that the U.S. needed to win to take the World Cup title over Italy, Japan was hoping to play spoilers after China had quashed its top three hopes in the day’s matinee contest. And indeed that’s what they did, shocking the U.S. in straight sets, 29-27, 25-23, 25-18.

Leading Japan on the day was Yukiko Ebata with 21points, and she was supported by Saori Kimura who posted 16 clutch points for the home side. And as she did on the previous day versus Germany, Yuko Sano was a key to defending one of the world’s best attacks. For the U.S., Foluke Akinradewo led with 11 points and Logan Tom posted 10. Leading scorer Destinee Hooker was limited to judt nine tallies.

Japan pleased the hometown fans by taking the first three points, but the Americans quieted them just as fast by taking seven of the next eight including a spike and block on Mai Yamaguchi to go ahead 7-4.

China beat Germany in straight sets to retain a hold on third place and an automatic Olympic berth. Japan finished fourth and will have to play in another tournament to qualify.