At the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City on Thursday afternoon, Japan completed a clean sweep of Pool B with a commanding three-set victory over Australia, 25-4, 25-11, 25-15, to advance to the next round unbeaten.
With a 3-0 win-loss record following the victory, Hinotori Nippon now leads the group, while Australia is still looking for its first victory with a 0-3. But the quarterfinals are up next for both teams.
“We only had little time to prepare for this competition with this team, but we did great and I’m so happy about it. Personally, it wasn’t my best, but we gotta win this game, so that was really great.”
– Nishikawa said of their group sweep through an interpreter
Yuki Nishikawa, an outside hitter, led Japan once more with 18 points, eight of which came in the lopsided opening set. She also finished with 13 spikes, two blocks, and three service aces. With 10 assaults and six service aces, Mizuki Tanaka added 16 markers.
The 2018 runners-up got out to a large 16-1 lead in the first set by taking advantage of Australia’s passing errors, leading to a lopsided victory for the set lead.
Despite Australia getting their block coverage to function for transition, the story remained the same in the second frame. Japan persisted in finding ways to get beyond Australia’s defensive strategies, eventually winning the second set as well.
In the third set, Australia found its rhythm and reduced the deficit to nine, 9-18, but it was too late for the team as Japan easily won and swept the pool.
The only Japanese player to reach double figures was Miyu Nakagawa, who scored 11 points on nine attacks, one block, and one service ace.
Yuki Nishikawa, who finished with 18 points and three service aces and two blocks, was happy to assist the Japanese in sweeping all of their group matches.
While Khiani Garton-Dodd scored four of her seven points during the third-set burst and finished with six spikes and one serve ace, no Australians reached double figures. In this match, opposing batter Caitlin Tipping was only allowed two attacks.
On Saturday, Japan and Australia face their respective final eight opponents: the former at 11 a.m. against the Pool A champion and the latter at 8 p.m. against the Pool A fourth-place team.
Scores per set are as follows:
First set 25 – 4
Second set 25 – 11
Final set 25 – 15
Win goes to Japan.