Entering the fifth week of play in the Japanese Men’s V.League, the Panasonic Panthers were on a three game winning streak and looking to extend that to four with a win over JT Thunders. The Thunders meanwhile were looking to keep pace with a win. Panasonic dominated the first set 25-15, but the Thunders took a close second set 25-23 to tie the match. The Panthers got leads in the 3rd and 4th sets and held them to win the match 3-1. Panasonic was very efficient spiking by hitting .495 (59k-3b-5e on 103 swings) as a team and dominated with their 10 blocks to 3 for the Thunders. Kenji Shirasawa had 6 blocks for the Panthers. Panasonic was also +7 from the service line (+2 aces and -5 errors). Kunihiro Shimizu 17 (15k, 1b, 1a), Michal Kubiak 21 (17k, 2b, 2a) and Tatsuya Fukuzawa 17 provided a balanced attack for the Panthers. Australian Thomas Edgar was essentially the only offense for the Thunders with 29 (28k, 1a).
FC Tokyo were still looking for their first win of the season against the Suntory Sunbirds. FC Tokyo had a lead in the first set, but Suntory came back to take the set 25-23. Suntory did not FC Tokyo get into the second set winning 25-14. In the third set, Suntory held off FC Tokyo to sweep the match 3-0. Suntory won the match at the service line +8 (+4 aces and -4 errors). Cuban Yadrian Escobar had 3 aces and tied for the leading scorer with Masashi Kuriyama for the Sunbirds with 18 points. Milan Pepic for Tokyo had 19 points, all kills.
Toray Arrows met Toyota Gosei Trefuerza, with Trefuerza’s Croatian opposite Igor Omrcen not listed on the roster for the match. Toray used their Canadian opposite Gavin Schmitt to dominate the spiking battle, with 16 more kills than Toyota. A comfortable 3-0 sweep by Toray leapfrogged them into 2nd place, past Trefuerza. Gavin Schmitt led all scorers with 23 points (21k, 2b).
JTEKT Stings played the Sakai Blazers in a five set match. Sakai who were looking for their 3rd win of the season, got out to a 2-set lead. The Stings fought back to win the 3rd and 4th sets to go to a 5th set. JTEKT got out to a five-point lead in the 5th and did not look back. With the win, JTEKT matched JT Thunders on wins, points, and sets ratio, but the Thunders have a slightly better points ratio to claim 4th place, while JTEKT are in 5th. Bulgarian Matey Kaziyski had 31 (29k, 1b, 1a) for JTEKT, while Brazilian Wallace Martins had 30 (26k, 3b, 1a) for Sakai, effectively cancelling each other out. The five-point difference for JTEKT at the service line (+1 ace and -4 errors) decided the match, as JTEKT outscored the Blazers 106-100 for the match.
Results from Matchday 9, November 25, 2017
Panasonic Panthers 3-1 JT Thunders (25-15, 23-25, 25-18, 25-21)
Suntory Sunbirds 3-0 FC Tokyo (25-23, 25-14, 25-22)
Toray Arrows 3-0 Toyota Gosei Trefuerza (25-17, 25-21, 25-21)
JTEKT Stings 3-2 Sakai Blazers (19-25, 22-25, 25-22, 25-17, 15-11)
Schedule for Matchday 10, November 26, 2017
Toray Arrows vs. JTEKT Stings
Toyota Gosei Trefuerza vs. Sakai Blazers
Suntory Sunbirds vs. JT Thunders
Panasonic Panthers vs. FC Tokyo