Kyoto, Japan, June 6, 2015 - France dominated the action in the two opening sets before a thrilling finish gave them a 3-0 (25-12, 25-14, 28-26) win over Japan on Saturday.
France got off to a great start in the match. Booming serves from Kevin Tillie helped them win five points in a row and jump ahead before the first technical time-out with the score at 8-3. The visitors were able to stop the powerful Japanese attack and dominate the rest of the set to take it 25-12.
The following set saw more of the same as France dominated the net by regularly blocking the Japanese spikers. On the other side of the net Le Goff and Tillie were hard to stop in attack and led France to a 25-14 victory in the set.
Just as it seemed that the visitors held a firm grip on the match Japan raced away to a 12-6 lead early on in the third set. Once again it was mostly their great blocking that allowed France to get close at 14-15 before a pair of simple errors from Yanagida and Shimizu made things even again at 22-all. A controversial referee call gave the home side a set point at 24-23, but the French saved it with a spike from Tillie. In a fashion symbolic of the entire match France closed out the set with a great block from Mory Sidibe. France were brilliant in this skill today with 11 block points against just the one from Japan. The home fans will be expecting a lot more from their team when the two teams play again on Sunday.
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