Japan get back on track against Dominican Republic


Florence, Italy, September 13, 2018 - Japan celebrated a comprehensive victory in the second match of their World Championship campaign. The players of coach Yuichi Nakagaichi comfortably routed the Dominican Republic in three sets thanks to a good performance from Yuki Ishikawa and Masahiro Yanagida. The Dominican Republic struggled to cope with the fast game of the Japanese team – and recorded their second loss in as many matches in Pool A. 

The Dominican Republic and Japan took to the court of Nelson Mandela Forum for their second match in Pool A, after they had lost their respective previous matches. This means they were extremely motivated to get back on track. Japan had lost 0-3 to Italy in Rome while on Wednesday the Dominican Republic had registered a 1-3 loss at the hands of Slovenia. Team captain Masahiro Yanagida and especially Yuki Ishikawa looked on top form and they helped Japan defeat the Dominican Republic in three sets. On the other side of the net, Henry Lopez was the top scorer for his team with 14 points and two blocks on his own, but he was not enough to pose a threat to Japan.

Japan started strong, but Richi Paulino blocked two attacks of Ishikawa (5-3). This kicked off the Japanese comeback: Issei Otake and Ishikawa brought Japan ahead (12-8). Dominican Republic suffered the speed of the opponent’s game and Japan broke away thanks to a very good performance at blocking – and especially with the help of Otake and Ishikawa. As a result, the first set ended at 25-20 for Team Japan.

The Dominican Republic attempted to come back in the second set but Japan responded for 7-7. Some mistakes punished the Dominican Republic’s team and coach Jose Alexander Gutierrez Sanchez called for a timeout when trailing 9-14. However, Japan was not to stop and won the set 25-16.

In the third set, the Dominican Republic continued to make mistakes and Japan ran away again (6-3). Lopez tried to help his team with two spikes, but Tatsuya Fukuzawa scored two aces for 16-12 and he was the man sealing the Japanese 3-0 victory at 25-16.