As the Japanese men’s V.League reached matchday 10, the Panasonic Panthers looked to keep their 2 win advantage over the Toray Arrows and Toyota Gosei Trefuerza.
The Panthers faced FC Tokyo, who were still looking for their first win of the season. Both teams split the first two sets, but the Panthers comfortably took the third and fourth sets to win the match 3-1. Since the shift to a 21-match regular season in 2014-2015, FC Tokyo has a record through matchday 10 of 9 wins, 64 losses and 34 points, the worst in the V.League Premier League over that time frame. Still each year they get challenged in the promotion/relegation and they win. The Panthers won the spiking battle by 13 points and also by 4 in blocks too. Poland’s Michal Kubiak led all scorers with 21 points (14k, 4b, 3a) and teammate Kunihiro Shimizu had 20 (19k, 1b) for Panasonic. Bosnian Milan Pepic led FC Tokyo with 17 points (12k, 4b, 1a).
Toray Arrows tried to keep pace with Panthers, when they played JTEKT Stings. Both teams split the first two sets. Toray took the third set, 25-21 and JTEKT responded in the fourth with the same score in their favor. In the fifth set, the match went to extra points, with Toray winning 17-15 and the match 3-2. The five set win for Toray meant that Panasonic would extend their points lead by 1 to 8 points. Essentially meaning that Toray is 3 wins behind Panasonic. Bulgarian Matey Kaziyski led all scorers with 32 points (29k, 3a) for JTEKT. Toray’s Canadian Gavin Schmitt had 29 (27k, 2a) points. Schmitt’s teammate Yamato Fushimi had 4 blocks to go with 11 kills and 1 ace in the win.
JT Thunders met the Suntory Sunbirds, and Suntory’s Masashi Kuriyama has been wearing a mask the last couple of weeks to protect his nose. After the match on November 11th, when Kuriyama was named MVP of the match, he put his mask on the V.League Mascot Vuili stuffed animal shown above, so very cute. Both teams split the first two sets, but JT won the third and fourth sets by the same 25-22 score. Australian Thomas Edgar led all scorers with 35 points (28k, 2b), 5 of which were aces for JT. His teammate Kodai Yoshioka had 19 (17k, 2a) points to contribute to the win. Suntory’s Yadrian Escobar had 23 points (19k, 2b, 2a) in the loss.
Sakai Blazers faced Toyota Gosei Trefuerza, who were without Igor Omrcen and on a three-match losing streak. Sakai pulled an upset winning 3-1, fairly comfortably. However, without Omrcen, Toyota had had difficulty in finding enough support to win. Sakai had 9 more blocks to contribute to the win. Wallace Martins had 29 points (27k, 1b, 1a) for Sakai. Japanese national team player Takashita Dekita had 5 blocks for Sakai in addition to 4 kills and 1 ace for 10 points. Trefuerza’s Takuya Takamatsu had 16 in a losing cause. Trefuerza drop to 4th place with the loss.
Results from Matchday 10, November 26, 2017
Panasonic Panthers 3-1 FC Tokyo (25-19, 18-25, 25-17, 25-21)
Toray Arrows 3-2 JTEKT Stings (25-17, 23-25, 25-21, 21-25, 17-15)
JT Thunders 3-1 Suntory Sunbirds (25-16, 25-27, 25-22, 25-22)
Sakai Blazers 3-1 Toyota Gosei Trefuerza (25-17, 25-18, 22-25, 25-18)
Schedule for Matchday 11, December 2, 2017
Sakai Blazers vs. Toray Arrows
Panasonic Panthers vs. Suntory Sunbirds
Toyota Gosei Trefuerza vs. JTEKT Stings
JT Thunders vs. FC Tokyo