Comments of Yuki Ishikawa after the match against Cisterna on 17 December 2022.
How do you look back on today's game?
Ishikawa: Except for the 4th set, it was pretty close and sideouts were continuing for long, but we easily gave points to the opponent's defense and blockers, for example we hit the ball to the middle blockers easily and got shutted down and also there were some loose balls in defense. So I think that's the difference.
What do you think was the reason why Cisterna scored so many points in a row from the start of the 4th set, even though you were close until the 3rd set?
Ishikawa: We somehow managed to hold out under the opponent's block and defense until the third set, but after that we lost our concentration a little and easily hit the ball to the middle blockers. I think that is why we weren't able to start well in the 4th set. That is a problem for us. Especially how to manage high balls. I think it is difficult to win the coming matches unless we improve in the high ball situations.
How do you look back on your individual performance?
Ishikawa: I lost two aces in the first set, so I have to fix that. And also the serves in the 1st and 2nd sets were not good. As for the 3rd and 4th sets, I was able to make good adjustments, and I was able to serve well in the ending of the match, so I think it will be a challenge to be able to continue that from the beginning of the match.
What was your intention in changing the position where you serve in the third set?
Ishikawa: Our coach tells us to change the position to hit the serve often, so it's also to not let the opponent get used to our serves. So I change the position during the match, even though I haven't changed the target.
In the fourth set, at 18-23, you continued to serve powerfully and succeeded to get breaks. What do you think about when you serve?
Ishikawa: I focus on things like what to do, where to toss the ball, when to hit the ball, when to relax once, and so on.
During today’s match, like the last match, you switched the position of the OH.
Ishikawa: Yes. Today's first I'm the far (next to the opposite) and Milad is the near (next to the setter). We are playing both the near and the far in the practice. It's decided on the day of the match, so we are flexible about it.
Which is easier for you?
Ishikawa: I play as the near all the time in the national team, so I feel it's easier to play as the near. But Milad plays also as the near side all the time in the national team, so who plays as which role depends on our condition of the week.
You mentioned how to deal with highballs is one of the problems of your team. But I think you are world-class when it comes to handling high-sets, especially rebounding. How do you decide how to handle highballs?
Ishikawa: I try to hit the ball strongly when a good set is coming.To be honest, I don't aim for a rebound from the beginning. I do it in bad situations, for example when the set is not good or I can’t step to the spiking enough. But the opponent already knows that I often try to get a rebound according to the data, so they jump lightly or don't jump. That's why I'm thinking about hitting harder even in such a situation.
Christmas is coming soon, will the team do training as usual?
Ishikawa: Yes. We have a match. First of all, I think it will be important to practice what we need to do in preparation for the match.
Thank you very much.