Japan's rookie setter Aki Momii

“Our goal is to be No.1,” said Japan rookie Aki Momii on their campaign objective at the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

After playing a key role for JT Marvelous in their back-to-back title wins in the Japan V.League, the 20-year-old is focused on delivering great playmaking performances at the VNL.

The young setter is a woman of action and has done wonders for Japan’s offence with her setting proficiency that enhances the speed, power and skills of her teammates. Her efforts resulted in a perfect start in the VNL’s opening week as Japan defeated Thailand, China and Korea.

The young playmaker is relatively tall and is equipped with excellent technical skills. And she certainly has a solid command and control of the game.

Setter Aki Momii has been key to Japan's successes so far

Setter Aki Momii has been key to Japan's successes so far

Playing in consecutive matches at a constantly high level is no easy task for a young player, and having a winning mindset makes Momii an even bigger asset for her squad.

There was a dip in Japan's form against 2019 VNL silver medallists Brazil to start the second week, but their setting performance remained strong.

“Before the match we have to think more that we must win, to be stronger mentally,” Momii said.

“The most important was our good passing – our sideout didn’t work. We have to improve ahead of the next game.”

A match loss could easily bring down the mood of a rookie, but Momii is unfazed by the setback against Brazil and keeps her focus instead on working better with her team and on her skills.

“Our opponents are very important, but the focus should be on improving as a team in terms of skills. As for myself, I need to improve on my serve and set up better combination plays for my teammates.”

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On Tuesday, Momii showed up with that winning mindset to overcome host Italy's challenge with a down-to-the-wire 3-2 (27-25, 25-19, 16-25, 21-25, 15-13) victory. Japan followed up on that victory with another against Russia on Wednesday 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-21) to give Japan five wins in six matches so far.