The Dutch Outduel Japan for Pool A Supremacy

  0 Braden Keith | September 30th, 2018 | African Volleyball, Asian Volleyball, International Volleyball, News, NORCECA volleyball, South American Volleyball


  • 29 September – 20 October
  • Schedule
  • Teams
  • Pool A – Japan, Netherlands, Argentina, Germany, Cameroon, Mexico
  • Yokohama Arena, Yokohama
  • Day 1;

After a historic day 1 for the women of Cameroon at the 2018 FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Championship, where they won their country’s first-ever match of this tournament, reality set in on day 2 as they ran headlong into the German team, which handled them comfortably 3-0

That was the first of back-to-back sweeps on Sunday in Yokohama. Mexico, the team Cameroon beat a day earlier, took out Argentina in a tight 3-0 match. That was all a setup for the big show, and probably the most important match of the tournament, between the Dutch and Japan. The two teams traded sets all the way to a tie-breaker, which went point-for-point until the Netherlands took a 3-2 win.

#13 Germany def. #18 Cameroon 3-0 (25-14, 25-10, 25-16)

  • Germany moves to 1-1 (3 points); Cameroon falls to 1-1 (3 points)
  • Attendance; 1,150
  • Match Stats

Cameroon went for it in the first set of this match, but after it became clear that they were overmatched against Germany, they pulled most of their top players, including Laetitia Moma and Christelle Nana, to the bench and used the remainder of the match to build experience for their reserves.

Meanwhile, Lisa Grunding had a big day at middle blocker, hitting 7-for-8 and a dding 2 blocks and an ace. Germany, who also went to reserves late in the match, had a 7-6 blocking advantage and a 5-2 service advantage. Louisa Lippmann had 9.

Cameroon’s top scorer was Estelle Adiana, who had 9 kills on 25 swings.

“First of all I want to congratulate Cameroon for what they did yesterday,” German coach Felix Koslowski said after the match. “They achieved something that nobody expected by winning the first match here against Mexico, and that really alarmed us. I think they have grown a lot and I think it’s very good for volleyball if Africa does well. They really play good volleyball and they really deserve to be here at this World Championship. Of course today against us it was very difficult for them, my team were really focused from the first point until the last and we had a lot of respect for Cameroon. We made a lot of videos about them to understand what we had to do, because this match was very important for us to take the points towards our goal of getting into the next round.”

Cameroon’s post-match comments revolved around the fact that they came into the match knowing that they weren’t of Germany’s caliber, but that their goal was to beat Mexico, and having achieved that they are still happy.

Key stats of the match:

  • Germany hit 45/66 in the match, a 68% success rate.
  • Germany only gave up 6 points on errors in the whole match.
  • Cameroon only gave up 18 points on errors in the match – considering the better opponent, and the use of reserves for most of the day, that’s a better rate than the 29 they gave up in 4 sets on Saturday.
  • Cameroon played their middles the whole game, and Emelda Piata came away with 7 points, including 2 blocks.
  • Cameroon, choosing to bring a 3rd setter instead of a 4th middle, used Djako and Amana at the position in the match. Djako had the better performance of the two, though Cameroon as a team struggled with tempo.
  • This allowed the Germans plenty of time to set up for attacks, and while they only had a modest 7 blocks, they got their fingers on almost everything.
  • Germany had 65% excellent reception in the match.

#26 Mexico def. #11 Argentina 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-23)

  • Mexico moves to 1-1 (3 points); Argentina falls to 1-1 (3 points)
  • Attendance: 3,530
  • Match Stats

After becoming a footnote to Cameroon’s win on Saturday, Mexico bounced-back on Sunday to beat Argentina 3-0. The loss likely eliminates Argentina from advancing, as they’d need to scrape together 2 wins against Germany, Japan, and the Netherlands to do so.

USC alum Samantha Bricio, who was the standout of the loss (she hit almost 70%, highest among qualifying players in all pools on day 1) let Mexico again, this time with 21 points.

Against Argentina, though, it was her electric serve that made the day, as she put up 5 aces.

“I am very happy with this result, we knew this wasn’t going to be an easy match,” said the captain Andrea Rangel, who had 17 points in her column. “Argentina are big rivals for us, but we were able to believe in what we have been practising. That is why we were able to put out a very strong service today, and we will continue believing in what we have prepared.”

Even that effort, though, couldn’t overshadow the performance of 16-year old Melanie Quintero. The 16-year old outside hitter had 18 points, including 17 on 29 swings (59% hitting).

Argentina was led in scoring by middle blocker Julieta Lazcano (6 kills, 4 blocks) and outside hitter Josefina Fernandez (7 kills, 3 aces).

Key stats of the match:

  • On Saturday, Mexican players not named “Bricio” hit just 28.3%. On Sunday, that same group hit 56.7%. Bricio is going to get her points, but that ‘other’ group, including the 16-year old Quintero, is where Mexico’s fate in this tournament will fall. They’ll need an upset win over Japan, the Netherlands, or Germany, and win some tie-breakers, to move to the 2nd round.
  • The win broke a 16-match losing streak for Mexico, dating back to a win over West Germany in 1982

#8 Netherlands def. #6 Japan 3-2 (27-25, 16-25, 28-26, 25-19, 15-13)

  • Netherlands moves to 2-0 (5 points); Japan falls to 1-1 (4 points)
  • Attendance: 7,800

In what became a defensive battle for the top of the table, the Netherlands beat Japan 3-2 on Sunday, which probably means they’ll win the group, having already beaten the pool’s two next-best teams: Japan and Germany.

Japan’s point for pushing the match to a tiebreaker means that they retain the 2nd position in Pool A.

Both teams had a pair break the 20-point barrier. All of the post-match buzz for the Dutch was about opposite Lonneke Sloetjes, who hit 16-for-39 and added 3 blocks ant 1 ace. But she was was outscored in the match by teammate Abbe Buijs, who had 18 kills, 2 blocks, and 1  ace for 21 total points.

The story for the Dutch women in the leadup to the World Championships has been positional battles at both middle blocker and at setter. In the middle, head coach Jamie Morrison has still not settled on the replacement for the injured Robin de Kruijf, as he has split sets between Nicole Koolhaas and Britt Bongaerts in both of the team’s matches so far. Yvon Belien has started all 9 sets so far in the middle for the Netherlands.

At setter, the veteran Laura Dijkema started the first two sets, and 22-year old Britt Bongaerts came in for her relief midway through, and then in the last two sets, the roles reversed.

With Pool A being arguably the weakest of the 4 preliminary pools, though, Morrison has time to experiment before the Dutch face real pressure in the 2nd round.

Japan was led by 25 points from Ai Kurogo and 23 from Sarina Koga, though neither player hit better than 36% en route to those totals. Kurogo added 3 aces to her 22 kills, and in typical Japanese fashion, the team was out-blocked 11-7, but out-aced the Dutch 10-4. Juliet Lohuis, who is usually a rocket at the stripe for the Netherlands, didn’t have any aces in 7 attempts.

Key Match Stats:

  • The Netherlands hit just 40% in the match, the lowest offensive rate for a winning side in this tournament so far, while Japan hit 38%.
  • As part of that, Japan had 49 digs and Netherlands 51. The Netherlands now ranks tied-for-4th in the tournament with 80 digs in 2 matches
  • Sloetjes, after scoring 36 in the team’s opener, is the leading scorer of the tournament with 56 points. Koga is Japan’s top scorer, and 7th-best in the tournament, with 38 – in her first matches back from injury.
  • The 7,800 registered spectators for Sunday’s match is fewer than the 8,385 that showed up to watch Japan’s opener.

Standings after September 30th

Matches Pts Sets Points
Rank Team W L W L Ratio W L Ratio
1  Netherlands 2 0 5 6 3 2.000 209 212 0.986
2  Japan 1 1 4 5 3 1.667 189 145 1.303
3  Germany 1 1 3 4 3 1.333 173 144 1.201
4  Mexico 1 1 3 4 3 1.333 160 158 1.013
5  Cameroon 1 1 3 3 4 0.750 132 160 0.825
6  Argentina 0 2 0 0 6 0.000 106 150 0.707
Date Time Score Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5 Total Report
29 Sep 13:10 Mexico  1–3  Cameroon 25–17 23–25 16–25 21–25 85–92 P2 Report
29 Sep 15:40 Germany  1–3  Netherlands 25–22 21–25 22–25 30–32 98–104 P2 Report
29 Sep 19:20 Argentina  0–3  Japan 15–25 13–25 12–25 40–75 P2 Report
30 Sep 13:40 Cameroon  0–3  Germany 14–25 10–25 16–25 40–75 P2 Report
30 Sep 16:10 Argentina  0–3  Mexico 20–25 23–25 23–25 66–75 P2 Report
30 Sep 19:20 Japan  2–3  Netherlands 25–27 25–16 26–28 25–19 13–15 114–105
1 Oct 13:40 Germany   Argentina  
1 Oct 16:10 Netherlands   Cameroon  
1 Oct 19:20 Mexico   Japan  
3 Oct 13:40 Argentina   Netherlands  
3 Oct 16:10 Mexico   Germany  
3 Oct 19:20 Japan   Cameroon  
4 Oct 13:40 Netherlands   Mexico  
4 Oct 16:10 Cameroon   Argentina  
4 Oct 19:20 Germany   Japan  

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of Braden's first foray into sports journalism came in 2010, when he launched a swimming website called The Swimmers' Circle. Two years later, he joined as a co-founder. Long huge fans of volleyball, when Braden and the SwimSwam partners sought an opportunity to …

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