Russia crush Japan, extend winning streak to four at Rio 2016


Nataliya Goncharova hits past the block of Saori Kimura as Russia destroy Japan at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 12, 2016 - Russia steamrolled over Japan 3-0 (25-14, 30-28, 25-18) for their fourth win in as many matches at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games women's volleyball tournament.

This leaves Japan having to play it out with Argentina on the closing day of pool play, Sunday, for the last availaible ticket to the quarterfinals. From Pool A, Russia (together with Brazil and Korea) are already assured a spot in the top eight. USA, Serbia, The Netherlands and China have qualified from Pool B.

A couple of substitutions by Japan coach Masayoshi Manabe got Russia slightly confused at the start of the second set. But the reigning European champions quickly regained control after trailing by five at 7-12, at which point coach Yuri Marichev brought on setter Vera Vetrova to subsitute captain Ekaterina Kosianenko. Russia were first to reach set point at 24-20. Still, it took Russia six attempts to get it right, cancelling three set points of Japan in the process, before a kill by Yana Shcherban, a stuff by Irina Fetisova and another kill from the right by Tatiana Kosheleva brought in the last three points.

There was no suprise as to where the scoring came from for Russia, with Nataliya Goncharova (20) and Kosheleva (13) leading the way - though Shcerban's contribution of 12 today was surely very welcome. Captain Saori Kimura was Japan's best scorer with 12 points.

Russia outplayed Japan in blocking (11 stuffs to 7), serving (6 aces to 4) and attacking (49/129 for 38% to 36/128 for just 28%) -but impressively also prevailed in digging.

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