There will be a new champion in the Empress Cup after five-straight years, the Hisamitsu Springs were defeated in a five-set match by the Denso Airybees. Denso in the two matches in V.League play against the Springs had pushed them to four sets, but with Hisamitsu being perfect in the league never really challenged them. However in today’s match, the Airybees, won the first two sets by the minimum 25-23 and then 27-25. The Springs had to play catch up and won the next two sets. With the score tied at 13-13, Hisamitsu had serve but could not manage an attack after two digs, to give Denso a 14-13 lead. Denso serving for the match forced a free ball, which led to Yurie Nabeya killing the ball for the upset. Hisamitsu outscored the Airybees in the match and should have won this match based on talent alone. Yet, that is why we play the game.
The lone Challenge League team remaining in the tournament, the Okayama Segaulls faced the NEC Red Rockets. Okayama also got out to a two-set lead on the Red Rockets, but NEC came from behind to tie the match and send it to a fifth set. The fifth set was very tight and went to extra points. Kana Ono had a block to give NEC a lead at 18-17 and then a Seagulls error gave NEC the set win 19-17 and the match 3-2.
Toyota Auto Body Queenseis had an upset of their own against JT Marvelous. The Queenseis had been swept by the Marvelous in both of the V.League matches this year. Yet, with a set win in extra points in the third set and a dominant fourth set, the Queenseis advanced to the semifinals with a 3-1 win.
Toray Arrows took care of Hitachi Rivale in four sets, to also advance to the semifinals.
Quarterfinal Results, December 17, 2017
Denso Airybees 3-2 Hisamitsu Springs (25-23, 27-25, 22-25, 15-25, 15-13)
NEC Red Rockets 3-2 Okayama Seagulls (22-25, 17-25, 26-24, 25-16, 19-17)
Toyota Auto Body Queenseis 3-1 JT Marvelous (25-20, 16-25, 26-24, 25-16)
Toray Arrows 3-1 Hitachi Rivale (25-21, 25-18, 20-25, 25-13)
Semifinals, December 23, 2017
NEC Red Rockets vs. Toyota Auto Body Queenseis
Toray Arrows vs. Denso Airybees
Final, December 24, 2017