Yokohama, Japan, October 3, 2018 - Miyu Nagaoka guided Japan to a 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-11) win over Cameroon at the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship on Wednesday, scoring 20 points as Kumi Nakada’s side picked up their third straight-sets win of the competition.
Sixteen of Nagaoka’s points came from spikes, while Ai Kurogo also put up 16 points, including two blocks and an ace.
Cameroon were far from a pushover for the hosts though and put up a solid team showing, with Christelle Tchoudjang Nana and Laetitia Crescence Moma Bassoko at the forefront of their scoring efforts, contributing seven points apiece, while Stephanie Fotso Mogoung added a further six.
A packed Yokohama Arena was treated to a feast of top quality volleyball from the very beginning of the first set, with Japan’s technical combination play and Cameroon’s formidable blocking and reception making for some exceptional rallies. Japan went into the second technical time out 16-12 ahead - with a ferocious Yuki Ishii spike the pick of the points - but Cameroon pulled within range to 16-15 after a wonderful feint from Henriette Nadege Koulla. Japan kept their concentration though, going on to wrap things up 25-19 on a Haruyo Shimamura spike.
The difference between the sides in the opening set was ultimately in the amount of errors each made, with Cameroon committing nine to Japan’s two. Akono Jean Rene Bekono’s side sharpened up in that respect in the second set, making just three and trading points with Japan right up until the second TTO. Nagaoka - who had top scored with 16 points the only other time these two met at a world major level, when Japan won 3-0 at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games - was once again on fire after coming on for the second set though, and claimed 10 points as her side took the second 25-20.
That seemed to take the wind out of Cameroon’s sails, and with Nagaoka now having the taste for points - adding a further 10, including three in a row with a spike and then consecutive aces - the third set was something of a formality for Japan, who cruised to a 25-11 win, confirmed after Berthrade Simone Flore Bikatal hit into the net.
Japan’s Pool A commitments conclude against Germany on Thursday, when Cameroon will also be in action against Argentina.