Brazil on a roll while, Canada, RPC and Egypt produce 1-1 draws

The Brazilian women’s team have punched in their second victory in the preliminary round of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games sitting volleyball tournament, while the Canadian women’s team, RPC and Egypt men’s teams posted victories to improve their win-loss records to 1-1 at the Makuhari Messe Hall A on Sunday.

Match No. 5 (Men) – RPC v BIH – 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-18)

RPC imposed their superiority over their European rivals Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a display of mighty attacks and great blocks. RPC had the advantage throughout the first set to claim a 25-19 win, and did not let their guard down to continue with their quest for victory. They put more pressure on their opponents to claim a 2-0 lead and claimed the second set 25-18. Bosnia and Herzegovina decided to wake up in the third set and reacted well as they faced increasing pressure from RPC. However, the Bosnian surge was short-lived and RPC closed the game at 25-18.

“Every team deserves to aim for the highest position, so we will try to exert our maximum effort to achieve the best results possible in the competition,” said RPC captain Aleksandr Savichev.

“Unfortunately we had the biggest game against our biggest rivals, RPC, which is causing us a lot of trouble in our sitting volleyball history. It’s a big loss, but we are still aiming to finish second and make it to the semifinals. Now it’s going to be a little bit harder than we expected. We have to go back and figure out our mistakes and gather all our thoughts and do our best for the next match,” Bosnia and Herzegovina libero Jasmin Brkic said.

Match No. 5 (Women) – ITA v CAN – 1-3 (16-25, 14-25, 25-15, 18-25)

The encounter between Canada and Italy promised to be an intense matchup as Canada are eager to record their win after their tough loss to Brazil on opening day, while Italy are looking for their second win.

A tight first set ensued as both teams battled hard, but Canada seemed to have gained edge to win set 25-16, as the Italians were slowed down by their errors. Italy tried to hang on in the second set and produced some nice actions, but Canada took advantage of their opponents’ lack of consistency and focus to gain a 2-0 edge at 25-14.

That seemed to have been a wakeup call for the Italians who came back fired up in the third frame to mount a 10-point margin to extend the match to a fourth set at 25-15. The fourth set was a real battle between the two teams with both sides pushing hard to score, but Canada managed to close the match at 25-19. Both sides now have identical 1-1 win-loss cards and the result of their third match will be decisive for the semifinals.

“We could taste the win in the third set, so our emotions got really in our head wherein you just think about the win and forget about the game plan. Towards the end of the match, we talked that we must play like we practised and go back to our game plan,” said Canada’s top scorer Heidi Peters, who made 34 points in the match.

Match No. 6 (Men) – JPN v EGY – 0-3 (11-25, 7-25, 6-25)

Egypt and Japan were back on court for their second match in Pool A, with the hosts looking to clock a win after their defeat against RPC. Despite the shaky start, Egypt soon got back on track and led by over eight points throughout until they closed the first set at 25-11.

The second set had a similar pace as the opening set, as Egypt kept the advantage with Japan making the most of it fighting and picking up some great balls. The Egyptians were too strong for their rivals and expanded their lead to 18 to win the set 25-7. Japan started the third set with a lead, but it was brief as Egypt went one gear up to cruise to 25-6 win in the third set for a straight-set victory.

“We will take it match by match and we will play each match like a final. This morning, RPC made a big surprise against Bosnia, so. I think we will try to give our next opponents a big surprise,” Egypt captain Hesham Elshwikh said.

“We’ve been preparing for six months prior to this tournament, and we have improved so much physically and tactically. Maybe against Bosnia we didn’t play in the level we wanted, but any match could be anybody’s game, so we will try to focus on our game,” Egypt coach Mosaad Elaiuty added.

Match No. 6 (Women) – JPN v BRA – 0-3 (13-25, 16-25, 16-25)

In the final match of the day, Brazil posted another victory to keep their momentum up in their Paralympic medal quest. They dominated the host team, not only by winning in three sets but not allowing their rivals to take the lead at any point in the match.

With the youngest player of the tournament, Ana Luisa de Souza, seeing action in set one, the Brazilian side maintained a strong stance on the attack to easily win 25-13. Japan’s Yukari Tanaka gave some hope to her team by scoring several aces in the second set, but the fired up run from the service line could not overcome their opponents’ momentum, therefore conceding the set to the visiting side 25-16.

By the third set, Japan struggled on defence, as Brazil kept the pressure up with strong swings from their hitters. The South Americans finally seized the match win with a 25-16 finish in the third set.

“I think we have improved from our match against Canada. We played hard against Japan as they are a good team, so we have to improve one more time against Italy to secure the first place in our pool,” Brazil playmaker Adria Jesus da Silva said.