The first set was extremely interesting. It produced a tough battle on the court and several switches in the lead. Some good blocking helped Estonia stay alive through well after the 25th point, but in the end it was Japan’s block that closed the set at 29-27.
The European team stepped up their attacking efforts and took control of the second set, but committed way too many unforced errors to allow the opponents to stay close behind in the score. Andri Aganits’s successful fast attack through the middle shaped up the final 25-23 Estonia’s way.
In the third set it was Kentaro Takahashi’s turn to show off his blocking skills and help Japan establish their complete domination on the court. The Estonians continued to commit many mistakes and could not stay competitive in this set. The Asian team piled up a solid advantage to win it by 25-19.
Noriaki Sako’s squad rushed to a 4-0 beginning of the fourth set, but the Estonians gradually tied at 12-12, followed by an incredible kick save by libero Hardi Talv to give his team the lead. With Renee Teppan behind the serving line and enthusiastic support from their fans on the stands, the team of coach Urmas Tali continued their run through 17-12. The Japanese had no intention to surrender the set and at 18-18 the score was level again. The rest of the set was a continuous battle in every rally. After 24-21 Estonia failed to take advantage of three consecutive set points, but eventually finished it all off at 26-24 to prompt a tie-breaker.
Urmas Tali’s players managed to stay more focused in the fifth set. They outplayed their opponents in offence and blocking and made fewer mistakes to break away and find closure at 15-8.
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