Juncos, Puerto Rico, September 17, 2015 - To bring down Bulgaria by the margin they needed to stay in track for a semifinal berth, Japan made use of some reserve players and that was a crucial thing for captain Mizuki Yanagita. Coach Kiyoshi Abo underlined the positive energy that appeared after losing to Dominican Republic.
Ivan Petkov, Bulgaria coach: “We should have won that third set, but they had a bit of luck with that serve that touched the net and fell. But we should have closed it earlier - we were leading up to four points ahead. The substitutions worked for us, not only for the play but also to bring some new emotions to the team. Also, we played more relaxed when we know we were without chances of qualifying.”
Mizuki Yanagita, Japan captain: “In one word, teamwork was our best feature today. We played as a team - when one of us was out, the one that entered fitted perfectly into our game. If we qualify for the semifinals, our goal is the gold medal. We decided that before the tournament and we will start thinking of it again if we make it through.”
Kiyoshi Abo, Japan coach: “It was very important for us to win this match in straight sets, to have the best amount of chances for the semifinal. The team showed the spirit we wanted in the third set. After losing to Dominican Republic, our players changed their attitude and that was a key moment for the team. That made me confident.”