Cuba starts VNL Week two falling to Japan

ORLEANS, France, June 21, 2023.- In a Pool 3 game in Orleans on Wednesday, Japan stayed undefeated with a convincing 3-0 (25-21, 25-16, 25-21) shutout of Cuba.

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The Cubans managed to outblock (8 to 3) and outserve (3 to 0) Japan, but committed far too many unforced errors during the match (30 against 17).

Their outsides Miguel Lopez and Marlon Yant finished with 10 points apiece.

Match action Cuba v Japan VNL 2023

Japan stormed the match on a 4-0 run. Cuba caught up at 9-9, but it was only momentary. With opposite Yuji Nishida spearheading the attack, the Asians broke away again and cruised on to close the first set at 25-21 on an off-the-block hit by Ran Takahashi. Japan clearly outplayed Cuba in the second set as well, especially with their first-tempo offence, with middle blocker Akihiro Yamauchi leading the way. He spiked to bring in set point and, upon his serve that followed, the opponents committed an error that closed the set at an emphatic 25-16. The third set was the most hard-fought of the three, with Cuba maintaining control of the scoreboard for most of the first half, while Marlon Yant dominated at the net. However, taking advantage of the abundant Cuban unforced errors and with Takahashi keeping the fire burning in offence, Japan regained control on the court and cruised on to close the match at 25-21.

On Thursday, Cuba will face Slovenia.

Volleyball Nations League 2023: full schedule and results