Japan's quickness in offence and defence proved they can outplay the taller Germans
Montreux, Switzerland, May 28, 2015 - A phenomenal Japanese squad tripped up the German side as the ‘Schmetterlinge’ stumbled to a 3-1 (25-27, 25-17, 25-20, 26-24) defeat at the Montreux Volley Masters 2015.
The crowd were excited to see how Germany kept up with Japan's quickness. A win for Germany would have sent them straight to the semifinals, but Japan managed to outplay Germany even without the injured Yurie Nabeya.
Japan began with a series of fast plays but Germany seemed determined to earn their place in the semifinals. Louisa Lippman was in impressive form and her strikes found their way through the Japanese defence repeatedly.
The Japan coach took a timeout as the score reached 19-18, which was followed up by a beautifully-crafted backrow play by Sarina Koga. In the hard-fought set, no team was able to gain the upper hand until the score reached 24-23 in favour of Japan, which forced the Germany coach to use his timeout. The break worked well as the Germans came back from a set point for Japan and won the first set with an intense fight to 27-25.
The liberos at both ends of the court showed the crowd some magic and both setters set up their hitters with fast and smartly played balls. After a strong start, the Germans could not keep up with the energy and enthusiasm of the Japanese players. Yukiko Ebatta helped Japan gain the upper hand with her strong attacks. Germany were not able to find a recipe that would help them get back on track as they suffered vastly on the very fast and precise Japanese plays. Japan proved that height was not the most crucial component in the sport as Arisa Takada hammered an attack to give Japan victory in the second set 25-17.
The German players appeared to have regained their composure as Lippman and Anja Brandt made their fans cheer, and the substitution of Linda Dorendahl as a backrow player helped strengthen Germany’s defence. Japan proved once more that they know how to play exceptionally good volleyball with their 159cm tall libero Kotoki Zayasu defending their court well. Japan left Germany helpless for a 25-20 win in the third set.
Germany showed fighting spirit in the fourth set, aware that this was their last chance to turn the game around. German libero Lenka Durr was quick on her feet and gave everything in defence to gain control of the important points. Japan, on the other hand, continued to unleash forceful quick attacks, which frequently outplayed the tall German blockers. A German double block became a rarely seen move on the court as the Japanese outpaced them in quick plays. Japan took advantage of Germany’s unforced errors and managed to deadlock the score at 23-all until Brandt’s service was called out. Japan closed the set and match at 26-24.