After the JT Thunders win against Toyoda Gosei on Saturday in the first match of the Final 3 (Semifinal) without Thomas Edgar for most of the match, the big question was would Edgar be able to play? And if he could not play, could JT win without him? A win by Toyota Gosei Trefuerza would force a 25-point “Golden Set.” Edgar was named on the JT lineup sheet, but would he play?
In the first set, the Trefuerza took a 11-7, and it appeared at the second TTO that it was theirs to win with a 16-12 lead. A three point run by the Thunders brought the Toyoda lead down to one at 15-16. An Igor Omrcen hitting error off the antenna tied the set at 19. At 23 all, Omrcen spiked off the JT block for set point at 24-23 for Toyoda. A Toyoda service error into the net tied the set at 24 and onto extra points. At 25 all, and a spike by Takuya Takamatsu gave the Trefuerza set point at 26-25. An Omrcen block on Shohei Yamamoto gave the set to Toyoda 27-25.
In the second set, Toyoda scored five straight points to take an 8-3 lead at the first TTO. At 8-4 and JT serving, as Igor Omrcen prepared to move into the offense (without getting the set) and his left leg appeared to severely cramp and he held his leg in the air. He was substituted out and replaced by Ryosuke Tsubakiyama as the training staff tried to stretch his leg out. Now with their leading scorer out, the Trefuerza were in the same position at the Thunders. Could the Trefuerza survive with him? Toyoda quickly extended their lead eight at 13-5 with Tsubakiyama serving and hitting out of the back row. From there Toyoda costed to the set win 25-16 and a 2-0 set lead.
With the third set being so important, the Thunders knew that they would have to sweep to keep from going to a “Golden Set.” Toyoda had an 8-5 lead at the first TTO and extended it to 10-5. A Ryota Denda ace gave the Trefuerza a 14-9 lead and kept it to 18-13. A spike by Takamatsu for Toyoda gave them a 21-18 lead. Two straight blocks by the Thunders tied the set at 21. Both teams exchanged kills for 22 all. A Kenta Nakajima block was followed immediately by Daisuke Yako service ace to give the Thunders two set points. Takamatsu hit out to give the set to JT 25-22, 2-1 set lead to Toyoda.
The fourth set forced Toyoda to attack because a fifth set could eliminate them from the playoffs. At the first TTO, the Trefuerza had a 8-5 lead. A 4-1 run by Toyoda forced the Thunders to call time out at 12-6. By the second TTO, the lead was extended to eight at 16-8 and the writing was on the wall, “We’re going to a Golden Set.” Toyoda won the set 25-16 and the second match 3-1.
Takuya Takamatsu of Toyoda led all scorers with 25 points (all kills) in the match. Shohei Yamamoto for JT was their leading scorer with 13 (11k, 1b, 1a) and Daisuke Yako closely followed with 12 (11k, 1a). Omrcen’s replacement Tsubakiyama had 14 (12k, 2a) in three sets. Neither Omrcen nor Edgar were listed on the lineup sheets for the Golden Set.
In the Golden Set the Trefuerza took a 8-6 lead at the first TTO. Toyoda put two points together to take a 13-11 lead at the change of ends. Two straight kills and a hitting error by Toyoda gave the Thunders a 14-13 lead. By this time, the two point lead by Toyoda was the largest in the set. A block by Kenta Nakajima gave the Thunders a 16-15 lead at the second TTO. The teams just kept trading side outs, but a block by Shohei Yamamoto gave the Thunders a 22-21 lead and Toyoda took a time out. After the time out, Hirotaka Kon killed from the middle to tie at 22. The 23-22 point was a really long rally, that ended with a Shuzo Yamada spike for the Trefuerza off the JT block crossing the court width out of bounds. The Thunders used a timeout but Yamada took advantage of a deflected Thunders spike to give the Trefuerza two set points at 24-22. An overpass on the serve receive gave the Trefuerza a swing to win, but Yamamoto for the Thunders stuff blocked it to make it 23-24. Trefuerza took their last time out at 23-24. Daisuke Yako, who had replaced Thomas Edgar after his injury on Saturday, gave the Thunders a service ace that caromed into the stands behind the court to tie the set at 24 all. Onto extra points for this high tension set. Ryota Denda killed from the middle to give the Trefuerza set point at 25-24. Yako had a chance to tie for the Thunders from the back row and hit over the block, but also over the end line for the 26-24 set win for the Trefuerza.
Now with the Trefuerza reaching the Final against Panasonic, can Omrcen get healthy for the first match on March 10th? If he is not able to play, I would give the advantage to Panasonic in Final, which is also a two-match series.
Result of Final 3 Match 2, March 4, 2018
- Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza 3-1 JT Thunders (27-25, 25-16, 22-25, 25-16)
- Series tied at 1-1, 25-point “Golden Set” is played as a tiebreaker
- Toyoda 26-24 JT Thunders
- Toyoda Advances to Final
Schedule for the Men’s Final