Soga once again was Japan's driving force as she unveiled a total of 19 points against Serbia
Rosario, Argentina, August 23, 2017 - The first eight finals match in Rosario was a phenomenal struggle between Japan and Serbia, with the Asian champions collecting the win and the quarterfinals berth 3-2 (25-21, 25-18, 26-28, 19-25, 17-15) sparked by Haruna Soga’s 19-point scoring total.
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Supporting key scorer Soga were Japan’s Yuki Nishikawa (15) and Mao Ito (12), while Serbia was topped by Sara Caric and reserve player Dejana Lekic, with 21 and 16 points respectively. Captain Jovana Mirosavljevic did very well on digging balls in the back row and also contributed to the scoring total of her side with 12 caps.
At a very close first set, Japan escaped 20-18 in the final track and converted it into 25-21 with their defence-counterattack formula. The Asians extended their streak and comfortably netted the second set 25-18, but the next one was a true thriller - Japan dominated all the way until a 24-19 but Serbia erased seven match balls with an amazing defensive job of Mirosavljevic and Lekic in the front line to discount 28-26. Both of them continued hammering and Serbia also blocked to tie the game 25-19, to create a fifth set with emotions through the roof. Japan led 7-4, the Europeans recovered with Lekic and the score showed a 13-point tie when the break appeared. Serbia had a match ball after a Caric block, but Japan dodged that one and won it a while later 17-15.