Japan failed to overcome its height disadvantage as the host country suffered a 25-12, 18-25, 21-25, 25-23, 13-15 loss to Russia on Sunday on the second day of the FIVB Women’s World Cup at Yoyogi National Gymnasium.
Japan is now 1-1 while Russia stayed undefeated with a 2-0 record.
Japan figured the best way to take on Russia, which has the tallest average height among the 12 competing nations at 187 cm per player, was not to let the opponent take advantage of its height.
For the first set, Japan used its serve effectively, keeping Russia from establishing its receive-toss-spike combination. Saori Kimura, Miyu Nagaoka and Yuki Ishii led Japan’s attack to claim the opening set.
However, Russia improved its receiving in the second set and that allowed wing spikers Yana Shcherban and Tatiana Kosheleva to deploy their spikes from high hitting points to beat Japan’s blocks.
Defensively, Russia adjusted to Nagaoka’s attack and scored some points on blocks en route to winning the second and third sets in succession.
Japan replaced Nagaoka with Sarina Koba, who started on the bench, in the fourth set. Koga executed some well-angled spikes to help regain Japan’s offensive rhythm. It also helped Kimura find some spots to attack with her spikes. With Japan leading 20-18 in the fourth set, Kimura scored her third straight point with a spike, giving Japan the momentum to take the match to the decisive fifth set.
The final set saw the score tied nine times but Russia scored back-to-back points with the score deadlocked at 9-9, which made the difference between winning and losing.
Earlier in the day, the Dominican Republic earned its first victory, a 3-0 (28-26, 26-24, 25-17) win over Kenya (0-2), while Argentina recovered from Saturday’s loss to Japan to beat Cuba (1-1) 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-23).
In Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, Serbia (1-1) shocked the United States (1-1) with a 3-2 (25-20, 22-25, 18-25, 25-19, 15-6) upset. South Korea evened its win-loss record by winning 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-18) over Peru (1-1). China (2-0) cruised past Algeria (0-2) 3-0 (25-5, 25-11, 25-8).
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