Russia, Japan Score Upsets in Grand Prix Pool G1

  0 Wendy Mayer | July 22nd, 2017 | Asian Volleyball, European volleyball, FIVB World Grand Prix, International Volleyball, News

FIVB World Grand Prix – Group 1

Pool G1

Japan def. Serbia 3-2 (21-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-20, 15-12)

Russia def. China 3-1 (23-25, 25-22, 25-18, 28-26)


Japan followed the lead of Yurie Nabeya as it rallied to score a five-set upset of Serbia, while Russia came through with a four-set win over China with help from a pair of 20-point efforts.


Japan 3, Serbia 2

Japan rallied from down 2-0 to upset Serbia in pool play on Saturday as Yurie Nabeya registered 26 points, including a match-high 22 kills. The win increases Japan’s chances of moving up the rankings, but Serbia has already secured its spot in the Final Six.

Japan outscored Serbia 106-105 in the match, with help from a 7-3 lead in aces and three points on errors (26-23). The Serbians registered three more kills (66-63) and outblocked Japan 13-10 in the loss.

Nabeya downed 22 kills and added two blocks and two aces to pace Japan. Sarina Koga (19) and Risa Ishii (12) also posted double-digit scoring efforts. Koga put down 17 kills and served up two aces, while Ishii chipped in 11 kills and a block. Haruyo Shimamura and Ayaka Matsumoto put up three blocks apiece, while Koyomi Tominaga served up a team-leading three aces.

Four Serbian players posted double-digit point performances led by Brankica Mihajlovic’s 16. Mihalovic put down 15 kills, while Sanja Malagurski added 12 and Stefana Veljkovic chipped in 11 putaways. Jovana Stevanovic added 12 points, with nine kills and a three blocks. Bojana Zivkovic put up at a team-leading four stuffs.

Serbia led Set 1 throughout and had built a 16-9 lead midway through Set 2 en route to victories. Japan adjusted at the break and took advantage of Serbian miscues in Set 3 and stole away the 25-23 win with five of the final six points. The Japanese carried the momentum to a 16-11 lead in a 25-20 Set 4 victory to knot the match at two sets apiece. Serbia led 8-6 in Set 5, but Japan rallied to a 14-12 lead and the victory.


Russia 3, China 1

Russia racked up 16 blocks and got 20 point efforts from Kseniia Parubets and Irina Voronkova in a four-set upset of China.

Russia outdid China 61-53 in kills and 16-13 in blocks, while the Chinese edged the Russians 6-4 in aces and scored one more point on errors (20-19).

“We doubled the effort when preparing for today’s match against China,” Russian coach Konstantin Ushakov said. “We are happy to take the victory as China are one of the strongest teams in the world.”

Parubets notched 18 kills and four blocks, while Voronkova downed a match-high 19 kills to pace the Russians. Irina Zaryazhko (15) and Iuliia Kutiukova (13) were not far behind. Zaryazhko recorded a match-high six blocks, while Kutiukova added 12 kills.

Four Chinese players managed double-digit point performances led by Xiatong Liu’s 15. Jingwen Qian (14), Yunlu Wang (14) and Xinyue Yuan (11) followed. Liu tallied 12 kills, two aces and a block, while Wang and Qian added 11 and 10 putaways respectively. Yuan put up a team-best four blocks.

“Today we tried a new set of a starting lineup,” Chinese coach Jiajie An said. “I am pleased with their performance as it is normal for them to have errors. It is a good experience for them to adjust their rhythm and improve through competitions. Our blocking did not exert enough pressure on our opponents. I still want to congratulate Russia on the win.”

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About Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer has worked in athletics media relations for the last 20 years. The Northwest Missouri State alumna is currently senior writer for after spending the last 15 years with Purdue athletics.

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