Japan prevail against Mexico in four sets


Tijuana, Mexico, October 5, 2013 – Japan scored a 3-1 (25-19, 25-13, 20-25, 25-15) victory over Mexico to cap the first day of action in Pool A of the FIVB Women’s U23 World Championship at Baja California High Performance Center on Saturday.


The Japanese played excellent defence throughout the match and committed 16 unforced errors to 24 by the defeated side. Both teams finished with 6 aces and Mexico held a 10-7 advantage in the blocking department.


Saori Takahashi and Yurie Nabeya each finished with 16 points to top the winning side while Suzuka Hashimoto and Haruyo Shimamura chipped in with 12 and 11 points, respectively.


Mexico’s Andrea Rangel had a match-high 21 points followed by Alejandra Isiordia who concluded with 14 tallies.


Mexico led 8-7 at the first stop following some exciting rallies. The home side maintained the slight margin at the second technical time-out with Isiordia producing some sparkling spikes much to the joy of the local crowd. Saori Takahashi tied the scores at 18-all and gave Japan a one-point lead at 19-18. Mexican setter Alejandra Perales scored with a disguise play but Nozomu Ito gave back the lead to Japan hitting off the block. After two spectacular saves by libero Miku Torigoe, Hashimoto scored a couple for a four-point lead at 23-19. The same Hashimoto scored with a dink and Ito blocked Claudia Rios for the 25-19 score.


The second set saw Japan taking an 8-6 lead playing excellent field defence. The Asian team expanded the gap to 13-9 with Takahashi providing the firepower with her big shots and Ito scoring with one ace. Japan was sitting on a comfortable 16-9 lead at the second technical time-out. When play resumed, the Japanese slowed down a little for a moment but recovered almost immediately while the Mexican side could keep the pace and intensity of their opponents. Japan took the set 25-13.


Mexico jumped to an 8-4 lead in the third set. Japan tied at 14-all but Gema Leon responded with one spike followed by one service winner for a two-point difference at the second technical time-out. When the action resumed Leon scored another ace followed by an opponent error for a 18-14 difference.  The home team took the third set 25-20 when Andrea Rangel landed a big cross-court shot.


Japan returned to the fast track in the fourth set with consecutive spikes by Suzuka Hashimoto, Takahashi and Haruyo Shimamura en route to an 8-6 difference. They increased the gap to 16-9 and silenced the home crowd. The actions finished when Sarina Koga scored twice around a block by Takahashi for a 25-15 score.