Japanese national women’s volleyball team outside hitter Mayu Ishikawa will move to Florence, Italy, for the upcoming season.

Italian women’s volleyball’s top division, 메이저놀이터 Florence, announced today that Mayu Ishikawa has chosen to play in Florence, Italy for the upcoming 2023-2024 season.

Ishikawa said, “There are many strong teams in Italy. I wanted to play at this level, and I hope to learn and grow through various experiences,” Ishikawa said, expressing her excitement for her new team. “It’s my first time, so I have some anxiety, but it’s a rare opportunity to play on the Italian stage. I will approach it with a strong mindset,” he said.

Ishikawa, who joined Toray in the 2019-2020 season and won the Rookie of the Year award, proved himself in his first season. He went on to become the top scorer in Japan’s V-League this season, leading the team to a runner-up finish.

In addition to his club career, Ishikawa has also had a stellar international career. She earned her first cap at the age of 19, competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and was a starter at the 2022 FIVB World Championships, where she finished fifth.

At the heart of Ishikawa’s decision to travel to Italy was the disappointment of Tokyo 2020. At the time, Japan suffered a disappointing group stage exit. At the time, Japan failed to advance in the tournament after losing a close full-set match to South Korea. Ishikawa’s desire to improve was fueled by this disappointment, so he took the plunge and traveled to Italy.

Ishikawa will continue to play for the national team for the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic qualifiers, and he hopes to use his experience in the Italian league to help him qualify for the Olympics. “(Italy) has height and power unlike the Japanese league. I want to grow a little bit and bring what I’ve learned abroad to the Japanese national team and grow together,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ishikawa’s brother, Yuki Ishikawa, also plays for Milan in Italy. As an older brother and senior, Ishikawa has some advice for his younger brother who is leaving his home country and heading to the international stage: “You need to study English to communicate with your teammates.”

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