Japan defeat Cuba in three sets in Pool D


Japan's Saori Kimura spikes.

Bari, Italy, September 25, 2014 – World Grand Prix runners-up Japan beat Cuba 3-0 (25-19, 26-24, 25-23) here Thursday afternoon for their second win in a row in the pool D of the 2014 FIVB Women's Volleyball World Championship.
With the victory in 78 minutes, Japan improved to seven points on a 2-1 win-loss record in pool D.
Key Points:
· Ebata Yukiko was the top scorer in the match with 13 points; Alena Rojas Orta led Cuba with 12.
· Cuba and Japan have met six times at the World Championship.
. Cuba won their last four meetings (twice in 1978, once in 1990 and 2006) while Japan claimed victory in their first two meetings (1970 and 1974).
· Cuba had nine block points to Japan’s three.
· Their most recent meeting at a major tournament was at the 2012 World Grand Prix. Cuba beat Japan 3-1 in the preliminary round.

A couple of mistakes from the Cuban team gave the Asian side an early 4-0 advantage in the opening set. Then Cuba came back with improved attacking to pull within 8-7, but Shinnabe Risa took turns to help Japan hold the lead (12-9). Ebata Yukiko and Nagaoka Miyu continued their magnificent action as Japan wrapped up the first set 25-19.

The second set started with more motivation from Gala's team and coach Manabe Masayoshi called the timeout as Japan trailed at 5-2. Before the second TTO, Japan came back to level it at 15-15 (Ebata's block). Middle blocker Sullian Matienzo made a solid barrier to her team, allowing them to lead at 21-18. But Japan worked hard to close the gap and made it 22-22. Soon after that, Japan saved a set point before Ebata Yukiko scored the winning point at 26-24 and made it two sets to nil.
Japan again started actively in the third set as they jumped to an 8-5 lead at the first TTO. Cuba drew level at 12-12 but a Nagaoka Miyu attack gave Japan a 16-12 lead. Cuba showed great fighting spirit to tie the scoring at 23-23. But Nagaoka Miyu tipped a ball out off rebounds to put the match to an end (25-23).


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