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Nagaoka, Japan stun Peru on opening night of Olympic qualifiers

 
Tokyo, Japan, May 14, 2016 - A stunning all-round performance by 24-year-old Miyu Nagaoka has helped Japan to a comprehensive 3-0 (25-23, 25-10, 25-14) win over Peru in front of a rapturous Tokyo home crowd on the opening night of the Olympic qualifying tournament.

It was by no means a lone hand from Nagaoka, with captain Kimura Saori and Erika Araki also enjoying a big night out.


Playing in front of a full house, Japan thrilled the crowd when they raced out of the starting blocks to an 8-3 lead, mainly off the back of some strong defence and attack from Nagaoka and Araki.

But Peru found its feet, and with star player Angela Leyva finding her range, and Carla Rueda winning consecutive points with big net blocks, the South Americans were able to climb back into the set.

When Alexandra Munoz served an ace to give Peru the lead for the first time, at 18-17, the home crowd were stunned. But once again it was Nagaoka who pulled the home side back into the set, Japan eventually finishing on top 25-23 and Nagaoka finishing the set with 11 points.

While Japan had left the door open for Peru in the opening set, in the second set it remained firmly shut. The Japanese were ruthless, with Nagaoka completely dominating, ably assisted by Saori Kimura who built on her single point in the opening set to finish with nine by set’s end.

But it was Nagaoka who was in control. She was scoring points at will, spiking, blocking and serving and leaving her Peruvian opponents stunned.

By contrast, Peru’s Leyva was barely sighted in the second set, which reflected in the 25-10 scoreline.

The third set had a sense of inevitability about it. Although Peru continued to work hard, and looked to be enjoying their work, they could make no impact on the rampant home team.

Nagaoka, Kimura and Yuki Ishii finished strongly to help Japan to 25-14 in the third set, and a match score of 25-23, 25-10, 25-14. 

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