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Japan Beats U.S. Women in Series Finale

October 04, 1987|ERNIE CASTILLO

Saving the worst for last, the United States women's volleyball team ended a successful tour on a sour note Saturday night when it was swept by Japan, 15-7, 15-13, 15-11, in front of 1,689 at UC Irvine's Bren Center.

It was only the second win on the seven-match tour for Japan.

Not much of a homecoming for a U.S. team that features eight players from Southern California, including two starters from Orange County--Irvine's Kim Oden and Laguna Niguel's Angela Rock.

After outstanding performances in Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota, U.S. Coach Taras Liskevych wasn't ready for complacency, distraction and, yes, overconfidence in front of the home folks.

"Being back home in Southern California, where we got away from the tour focus, was not conducive to good play," Liskevych said. "We had a great tour and we dominated Japan . . . but we didn't take tonight's match to heart. We just didn't focus on the task at hand."

Oden, for one, downplayed the home court disadvantage theory.

"Orange County is home for a lot of players, so there should be more incentive to play well here," she said. "We've been playing long enough in front of home crowds to deal with that. We simply didn't play well tonight. We could not get it together as a team."

The Americans jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first game, a 5-0 lead in the second and a 6-0 lead in the third. But the team's passing was erratic all night.

"We were slow on our serve receives," said Rock. "Basically, we couldn't pass tonight. We showed on this tour that we're capable of beating Japan on a consistent basis. We also showed we can't take anything for granted."

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