Tokyo, 17th November 2019
Match 13 – Bronze Medal Game – JAPAN v UKRAINE
Match 14 – Gold Medal Game – USA v RUSSIA
JAPAN v UKRAINE – 3-0 (25-20; 25-22; 25-10)
Japan spurred on by home soil advantage to beat Ukraine 3 sets to 0
Ukraine started very strongly, showing determination and serving hard from the start leading 4-2. Japan seemed to be a bit tense probably due to the presence of a bigger crowd and were trailing 6-2 . Too many lifting errors on the Japanese side saw Ukraine take off at 12-5. Spurred on by Kikuchi (#9) serving and excellent blocking from the front line, Japan came back to a point difference at 14-13 for Ukraine. Lifting errors however cost Ukraine points and both teams were level at 15 all. Some great defences were seen on either side of the net. Japan managed to overtake Ukraine to reach 22-18 with great serves from Sumitomo (#3). One last push and Japan were off with the first set 25-20 thanks to a hard hit from Nishiie (#1).
Japan took an early 6-2 lead with some great serving from Ogata (#6). Some lifting errors again on the Japanese side followed by Lozko (#6) clever serving got Ukraine ahead on the score at 7-6. Podliesna (#8) found her hitting arm and scored but Japan caught up with Sumitomo (#3) again serving her heart out to come back in the lead at 12-10. Ukraine’s receiving line suffered a lot from the Japanese serves and were 5 points behind at 16-11 at the second technical time out. Substitutions happened on both sides and Kikuchi (#9) resumed serving to take Japan 18-15 ahead. Ogata (#6) followed suit and got Japan 3 points away from the end of the set. Ukraine regrouped and came back to the score at 22-21 still in favour of Japan but served out at this crucial moment. Japan were one point away from the set and with one block won it 25-22.
Ukraine were understandably down starting in the third set and Japan capitalised on this that by taking a 8-1 lead. At 10-1, Podliesna (#8) woke up and hit the ball hard twice to try and get Ukraine back in the game. Ukraine did not however make the most of this opportunity and behaved like spectators at their own game with Japan taking an incredible 16-3 lead. A lucky pick up from Ukraine saw them get the serve back at 18-4 but with no real result. A great rally between the two teams got the crowd gasping and Japan were soon 20-6 up. Nothing could stop them, not even one last hit from Podliesna (#6) and Japan won the third and final set 25-10 thereby winning the Bronze medal!
USA v RUSSIA – 3-0 (25-12; 25-18; 25-22)
USA wins the battle of the champions 3-0
Russia started strongly in this Gold medal match and took an early lead 4-3. Mednikova was in good form and played cleverly however the USA serve started unsettling Russia and USA was soon leading 8-5 at the first technical time out. Kanahele continued dishing out the serves to get to 10-5 for USA. Mistakes at the net cost Russia a few more points and USA were then 12-6 up. There was no stopping the USA serve. A quick hit from Burkland (#7) saw USA reach the second technical time-out at 16-7. Russia were by then 18-9 down and got the serve back after a full rotation but a lifting error cost them a point and a chance to get closer to the score. Passing was not accurate enough and soon USA were way ahead at 22-10. A great Russian block was spoilt by a lifting mistake at 24-12 but Mednikova (#3) made up for it with a great hit. It was too little too late though and USA took the first set 25-12.
In the second set, a substitution on the Russian side saw Arbatskaya (#8) get the ball back for her team but Holloway (#5) retaliated instantly with a cross court hit. USA were focused and did not let any ball drop. A fantastic rally at 5-3 for USA got the crowd excited. This seemed to help Russia get back in the game and even lead shortly at 6-5. An overzealous Okorokova (#7) at the net gave the point away to USA and the first technical time out back in the lead 8-7. The following rallies gave way to a festival of blocks on both sides to the delight of the crowd but ended up in favour of USA. USA continued their battle at the net and soon reached the 2nd technical time out at 16-12. More pressure on the serve from USA saw the team advance to 19-14. A double substitution on the Russian side did not help them get back in the game and USA were on their way to finishing the second set at 22-15. A quick set to the middle and hit by Burkland (#7) sealed Russia’s fate and gave USA the 2nd set 25-18.
Russia started the 3rd set leading at 4-1 following coach Ovsyannikov remotivating his troops at the break. Russia were holding on to their lead which was being threatened and managed to get to the first technical time out leading 8-4. USA were now on the receiving end of Ivanova (#1) serves and were starting to make mistakes. Coach Hamiter had no other choice but ask for a time out at 11-4 for Russia. Churakova (#14) serves became more consistent and Russia increased their lead by 7 points to 15-9. Slowly but surely Russia were getting closer to 25 but the points difference was reducing at 17-14. Consecutive mistakes on the Russian side saw USA come back at 19 all. Coach Ovsyannikov was now shouting at his players from the sideline hoping to get some reaction on court at 20 all. USA held on and kept the fight to get in the lead at 24-22. One serve and one block was enough to crown USA #SittingSuper6 winners on a final set score of 25-22.