Bari, Italy, September 27, 2014 – Japan knocked out Puerto Rico in straight sets (25-21, 25-20, 25-19) at Palaflorio Saturday afternoon for their third straight win at the 2014 FIVB Women's Volleyball World Championship following an opening loss to Azerbaijan.With the well deserved victory, the Japanese women improved to 10 points on a 3-1 win-loss record in pool D and secured their berth in the second phase.Key points:· Japan and Puerto Rico both reaped ten points from blocking.· Puerto Rico slipped to 1-3 and needed to beat Belgium on Sunday for a chance to stay in contention at the World Championship.· Kimura Saori was the top scorer of the match with 19 points, followed by Nagaoka Miyu (14).
Japan came back from 3-0 (two attacks of Karina Ocasio and one of Yarimar Rosa) to level the score at 4-4. Then they went ahead at 15-12 with an ace of Kimura Saori and held the lead with a block of Nagaoka Miyu on Aury Cruz. Ebata Yukiko closed the set (25-21).
The second set was balanced till the first TTO. After a break of Hinotori Nippon (12-8), Puerto Rico cut the deficit (14-13). Coach Manabe Masayoshi changed the wing spiker Ebata Yukiko with Ishii Yuki. Kimura had some fine spikes to make it 18-14 in favor of Japan, but Karina Ocasio came up big again to pull Puerto Rico within 21-20. However, that's the closest Puerto Rico could go as Japan wrapped up the set with an ace of Miyashita Haruka (25-20).
Manabe's team jumped to a 9-5 lead in the third set. Mojica Vilmarie responded with a wonderful block (9-9). Japan went ahead (15-11) but Puerto Rico did not give up (15-14). A block on Cruz was the decisive break (20-14). Nagaoka Miyu then scored the match winner for Japan (25-19).