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(Olympics) S. Korea beats Japan to secure quarterfinal berth in women's volleyball

All News 22:51 July 31, 2021

TOKYO, July 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korea beat fifth-ranked Japan in five sets in Tokyo Olympic women's volleyball on Saturday and secured a berth in the quarterfinals.

The 14th-ranked South Korea pulled off a 3-2 (25-29, 19-25, 25-22, 15-25, 16-14) victory over Japan at Ariake Arena in Tokyo.

South Korean players celebrate their victory after winning the Pool A match against Japan in women's volleyball at the Tokyo Olympics at Ariake Arena in Tokyo on July 31, 2021. (Yonhap)

Consequently, South Korea now have three wins and a loss after four matches in six-country Pool A, securing third place regardless of the result of their next match against Serbia on Monday.

The top four teams out of six after round-robin play progress to the quarterfinals.

World No. 1 Brazil is leading the Pool A with four wins, followed by Serbia and South Korea with three each. The Dominican Republic and Japan, both of which have one win, will vie for the last ticket for the quarters.

South Korean captain Kim Yeon-koung displayed her ability both on offense and defense, scoring a match-high 30 points, including three blocks. Attacker Park Jeong-ah and middle blocker Yang Hyo-jin produced a combined 19 blocks in the five-set match.

South Korean outside attacker Kim Yeon-koung (R) spikes in the Pool A match against Japan in women's volleyball at the Tokyo Olympics at Ariake Arena in Tokyo on July 31, 2021. (Yonhap)

Korea and Japan seesawed through the first four sets.

In the first set, South Korea took the early lead thanks to consecutive blocks by middle blocker Yang Hyo-jin and outside hitter Park Jeong-ah. And Kim Yeon-koung's firm defense and offense helped Korea take the first set.

Japan showed better organization of defense and offense in the next set and effectively held South Korean attackers to even the game 1-1.

The third set was tight. Captain Kim led the offense with seven points, while Lee So-young added five points to cap the 25-22 win.

But Korea lost their rhythm in the fourth set and left their fate to be decided in a tiebreaker.

In the fifth set, South Korea let Japan face the match point at 14-12. Park's consecutive points helped South Korea seal the tight final set victory at 16-14.

brk@yna.co.kr
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