Backed by home fans, Japan earns first win of tournament with shutout of Iran

The Japanese players gave their home fans a stunning victory.

Japan swept Iran 3-0 (25-16, 25-22, 25-19) in straight sets in Week 1 of the men’s FIVB Volleyball Nations League 2023 (VNL) at Nippongaishi Hall in Nagoya, Japan on Saturday (June 6). Yuki Ishikawa was the star of the show. She scored a match-high 20 kills and had a 43.33% attacking efficiency. A 100% dig rate (5/5) was a bonus. Iran, on the other hand, had a tough time with their offense, being outscored 29-47. At one point in the second set, they led by as much as four points, but were unable to close it out due to indecision.

From the start of the first set, Japan put pressure on Iran. Ishikawa opened the scoring, and the Japanese capitalized on an Iranian error, a quick 메이저사이트 open from Yuji Nishida, and a fastball from Akihiro Yamauchi to take a 5-1 lead. Iran, on the other hand, had a difficult start to the game, with Amin Ismaelnejad’s side not scoring as much as they should have.

Japan didn’t let up and pushed Iran back. Ishikawa’s performance stood out. With a combination of sharp attacking, focused direct scoring, and a spare blocked score, he helped the Japanese extend their lead to a whopping 18-7. A service error by Mohamed Musavi Eragi Saeed allowed Japan to reach the 20-point mark, but a Kento Miyaura kill forced set point, and it was Miyaura who took charge in the 25th point to take the first set 25-16.

In the second set, Iran started strong. Saeed intercepted a quick opener from Takahashi Ran and Javad Karimisotzelmaei’s serve gave them a narrow lead. Add to that blocks from Mohammed Balizadeh and Morteza Sharifi, and Iran had a 9-6 lead.

Japan, however, would not be denied. After closing the gap to a metallurgical margin thanks to the colorful play of Masahiro Sekita, Japan heated up the chase with a two-step center back-row combination of Sekita and Takahashi. A panicked Iran committed a positional error and a service error, and Japan’s fast-breaking attack from Taishi Onodera and Yamauchi pulled them back to 16-15. Ishikawa’s quick opener and Yamauchi’s block then gave Japan the lead, and Ishikawa’s pipe gave them the second set, 25-22.

In the third set, Iran was pushed to the brink, with Mohammedzabad Manavi leading the offense. Japan, eager to end the match with a shutout, responded with Ishikawa and Nishida stepping up their offense. It was Japan who set the tone in the next game, as both teams’ servers were plagued by errors and neither team was able to break through easily. At 10-9, Takahashi’s straightforward attack and Nishida’s clever back-to-back hitting made it 12-9.

At 14-11, the tide was completely in Japan’s favor as Ishikawa finished off a quick Sekita connection with a well-timed attack. A slick dig by Tomohiro Yamamoto, a Nishida kill, and a Takahashi service point added to the momentum. Japan continued to ease into the match, capping it off with a Takahashi kill at 24-19 to seal their first VNL match with a shutout victory.

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