Omaha, USA, July 25, 2015 – Italy earned a hard-fought 20-25, 25-20, 28-30, 26-24, 24-22 victory over winless Japan to end the fourth day of the FIVB World Grand Prix Finals on Saturday evening in Omaha, Nebraska, USA.
Japan was led by Saori Sakoda and Yurie Nabeya with 27 and 24 points, respectively. Miriam Sylla and Indre Sorokaite paced Italy with 17 points in the contest. Italy held a 18-10 block advantage. Italy (2-2) challenge Brazil (2-2) on Sunday, while Japan (0-4), conclude the Finals against Russia (2-2).
Italy led 16-12 in the first set, but Japan charged back to knot the score at 17-all capped by a thrilling rally going to the squad from Asia. Japan went up 24-18 on a 7-0 run with a Shimamura block, two kills from Uchiseto and Sakoda and a block before closing set at 25-20.
Italy answered by bolting to a 6-2 advantage in the second set capped by a Sylla block. After trailing 9-4, Japan moved to within three at 11-8. However, Italy stopped the rally and pushed out to a 16-8 advantage at the second technical timeout.
Shimamura scored a block to put Japan up by three at 19-16 in the third set. Caterina Bosetti scored a kill and block followed by an Alessia Orro block that allowed Italy to tie the score at 23-all. Italy earned a set point at 25-24, but the lead reversed quickly to Japan at 26-25. Valentina Arrighetti tipped to give Italy their second set point at 28-27. Japan turned the tables and captured the set 30-28 on an Uchiseto kill and Shimamura block.
Japan built a 12-7 margin in the fourth set with three unanswered points. Italy responded with three unanswered points prompting Japan to call timeout leading 12-10. Italy chipped away at Japan three-point lead, closing to 19-18. Italy saved two set points to level the set at 24-all, then went ahead 25-24 with a Japan attack error. Valentina Tirozzi slammed the winner at 26-24.
Japan rebuilt a three-point cushion in the fifth set at 11-8 following an Italian error. Italy saved two match points to square the decider at 14-all, then went ahead 15-14 on a Diouf kill as a video challenge reversed a Japan point. Japan saved four match points and went back in front 19-18 with a Haruka joust winner. Italy got its fifth match point try with a Guiggi block at 23-22 then won the match on a video reversal at 24-22.