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Volleyball: Brazil down hosts Japan to clinch Grand Champions Cup

World No. 1 Brazil celebrate after beating Japan at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Sunday night for their fifth straight win at the World Grand Champions Cup. Photo: FIVB.

World No. 1 Brazil celebrate after beating Japan 3-0 at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Sunday night for their fifth straight win at the World Grand Champions Cup and the overall title. Photo: FIVB.

November 17, 2013: World No. 1 Brazil won the gold medal in the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup on Sunday by defeating Japan 3-0 (29-27, 25-14, 25-18) at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

 

Brazil, the 2012 Olympic champions, became the first team to win the title twice as they also won the 2005 edition of the quadrennial event. Japan took the bronze medal, matching their performance in 2001.

 

The South American champions finished the tournament with a perfect 5-0 record for 15 points, while Japan dropped to 3-2 for nine points. USA took the silver with a 4-1 record and 10 points.

 

It was Brazil’s fourth win against Japan in the Grand Champions Cup against one loss. Overall in FIVB tournaments, the Brazilians have a 48-12 win-loss record against Japan.

 

Japan’s Saori Sakoda spikes, watched by captain Saori Kimura (left) and Yuki Ishii (right).

Japan’s Saori Sakoda spikes, watched by captain Saori Kimura (left) and Yuki Ishii (right).

Fernanda Garay was the top scorer for the new champions with 16 points, match MVP Sheilla Castro had 14, while Yuki Ishii was the only Japanese player to get into double figures with 12 points. Brazil scored 17 blocking points to Japan’s two and five service points to Japan’s four.

 

Ze Roberto, Brazil coach since 2003, said: “Now I can rest in peace because for the fans in Brazil, finishing second and last is the same!

 

“The key for us was winning the first set. The double change with Monica [Marinho Pavao] and Claudia [Silva] helped us to erase the deficit of five points and when [Josefa] Fabiola and Sheilla [Castro] came back they were able to maintain the level.”

 

“Also I have to say that our libero Camila [Brait] did a great job with many defensive plays in zone five and that was also very important.”

 

Brazil's Sheilla Castro (pictured) was elected MVP of the final, while teammate Fabiana Claudino was named tournament MVP.

Brazil’s Sheilla Castro (pictured) was elected MVP of the final, while teammate Fabiana Claudino was named tournament MVP.

Earlier, USA defeated the Dominican Republic 3-1 (25-14, 25-16, 21-25, 25-18), while Thailand came from behind to record a historic first-ever victory over Russia, also in four sets (18-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-23).

 

Lauren Paolini was the best scorer for USA with 19 points followed by Jordan Larson-Burbach and Kelly Murphy who each contributed 16 tallies. Dominican Republic’s Gina Mambru finished with 17 points.

 

“For our team, we have a lot to be proud of,” USA coach Karch Kiraly said. “We played against the world best in 2013 and got four wins out of five. All 14 of our athletes here made a real contribution to this team effort.”

 

Onuma Sittirak led Thailand with 26 points, Wilavan Apinyapong added 19, while Pleumjit Thinkaow tallied seven blocks and totaled 13 points. Russia’s Natalia Malykh finished with 19 points.

 

Pleumjit Thinkaow retrieves during Thailand's come-from-behind 3-1 victory over Russia.

Pleumjit Thinkaow retrieves during Thailand’s come-from-behind 3-1 victory over Russia.

“I’ve coached for 16 years and we never beat Russia,” Thailand coach Kiattipong Radchatagriengkai said. “It’s my first time, so it’s a great honour for me.”

 

FIVB Women’s World Grand Champions Cup 2013, Japan

 

20131117_Brazilian-jump_cropFinal Ranking: 1. Brazil (pictured left), 2. United States, 3. Japan, 4. Russia, 5. Thailand, 6. Dominican Republic.

 

All-Star Team: MVP: Fabiana Claudino (BRA); Setter: Hitomi Nakamichi (JPN); Opposite: Gina Mambru (DOM); Outside Hitters: Saori Sakoda (JPN), Onuma Sittirak (THA); Middle Blockers: Iuliia Morozova (RUS), Pleumjit Thinkaow (THA); Libero: Arisa Sato (JPN).

 

Top Scorers

100 – Onuma Sittirak, Thailand

91 – Jordan Larson-Burbach, United States

86 – Natalia Malykh, Russia

75 – Yuki Ishii, Japan

71 – Liubov Shashkova, Russia

68 – Saori Kimura, Japan

64 – Bethania De la Cruz, Dominican Republic

62 – Sheilla Castro, Brazil

59 – Fernanda Rodrigues, Brazil

57 – Kelly Murphy, United States

 

Top Scorer by Day

25 – Bethania De la Cruz of Dominican Republic v Thailand on 12-11-13

20 – Jordan Larson-Burbach of United States v Japan on 13-11-13

20 – Kelly Murphy of United States v Japan on 13-11-13

26 – Natalia Malikh of Russia v United States on 15-11-13

28 – Onuma Sittirak of Thailand v United States on 16-11-13

26 – Onuma Sittirak of Thailand v Russia on 17-11-13

 

Top Scoring Performances

28 – Onuma Sittirak of Thailand v United States on 16-11-13

26 – Natalia Malikh of Russia v United States on 15-11-13

25 – Bethania De la Cruz of Dominican Republic v Thailand on 12-11-13

23 – Jordan Larson-Burbach of United States v Russia on 15-11-13

23 – Jordan Larson-Burbach of United States v Thailand on 16-11-13

 

Top Blocking Performances

7 – Pleumjit Thinkaow of Thailand v Russia on 17-11-13

6 – Iulia Morozova of Russia v Dominican Republic on 13-11-13

6 – Iulia Morozova of Russia v Thailand on 17-11-13

 

Top Serving Performances

4 – Bethania De la Cruz of Dominican Republic v Thailand on 12-11-13

4 – Saori Kimura of Japan v Russia on 12-11-13

4 – Riho Otake of Japan v Russia on 12-11-13

 

Top Team-Blocking Performances

21 – Russia v Dominican Republic on 13-11-13

17 – Brazil v Thailand on 13-11-13

17 – Russia v United States on 15-11-13

17 – Brazil v Japan on 17-11-13

16 – United States v Dominican Republic on 16-11-13

 

Top Team-Serving Performances

11 – Japan v Russia on 12-11-13

 

Highest Scoring Sets

29-27 Japan v Thailand (2nd Set) on 15-11-13

29-27 Japan v Dominican Republic (3rd Set) on 16-11-13

29-27 Brazil v Japan (1st Set) on 17-11-13

28-26 Russia v Japan (2nd Set) on 12-11-13

27-25 United States v Thailand (2nd Set) on 16-11-13

 

Highest Scoring Matches

211 – United States d Thailand 3-2 (13-25, 27-25, 25-22, 21-25, 15-13) on 16-11-13

210 – United States d Russia 3-2 (16-25, 25-22, 25-19, 24-26, 15-13) on 15-11-13

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