The calendar year of 2017 for Japanese women’s volleyball ends with the Empress’s Cup. One December 23rd, the semifinals were played at Tokyo’s Ota Ward Gymnasium.
The women’s semifinals had NEC Red Rockets face Toyota Auto Body Queenseis in one match, while Toray Arrows meet the Denso Airybees in the other.
In the first semifinal NEC and the Queenseis split the first two sets. However, the Queenseis dominated the third and fourth sets to win the match 3-1. Turk Neriman Ozsoy led all scorers with 33 points (29k, 3b, 1a) and teammate Saori Takahashi contributed 20 (14k, 3b, 3a). The Queenseis own the spiking and blocking battle. Sarina Koga with 16 (14k, 1b, 1a) and Mizuki Yanagita with 17 (16k, 1a) for the Red Rockets in the loss.
In the other semifinal, Denso Airybees comfortably handled Toray Arrows in straight sets 3-0. Christiane Furst was a wall with 10 blocks out of Denso’s 18 total blocks in the match. Add in 7 kills to Furst’s 10 blocks and she led all scorers with 17 points. Yurie Nabeya and Yui Asahi each contributed 14 (10k, 3b, 1a) and 15 (12k, 2b, 1a) points respectively in the win. American Kadie Rolfzen with 13 (11k, 2b) and Ai Kurogo with 14 (11k, 1b, 2a) for Toray led the way in the loss.
In the final on the December 24th, Toyota had a 2-1 set lead and collapsed in the fourth set losing 25-14 to Denso, which forced a fifth set. Denso had match point at 14-13, but an overpass by Denso gave Toyota an easy kill to tie at 14, on to extra points. On Toyota’s serve, Denso could not convert and a Neriman back attack off the block out of bounds for the kill. Queenseis serving at 15-14. A great dig by Toyota cross court enables Neriman to swing for the match. She hit high off hands which went over the end line for the Queenseis win 16-14 and the match 3-2. Toyota’s second Empress Cup and first since 2008. Ozsoy with 33 points (30k, 3b), Saori Takahashi 21 (18k, 2b, 1a) and Erika Araki with 15 (9k, 5b, 1a) for the Queenseis in the win. Furst again had 17, but flipped the blocks (7) and kills (10) for Denso. Yurie Nabeya had 27 (23k, 2b, 2a) and Rei Kudo with 19 in the loss for the Airybees.
- Toyota Auto Body Queenseis 3-1 NEC Red Rockets (25-19, 22-25, 25-18, 25-15)
- Denso Airybees 3-0 Toray Arrows (25-21, 25-21, 25-17)