Two-time defending champions Suntory Sunbirds lead the way among the ten clubs competing for the title
Back with JTEKT Stings, Nishida is one of the attractions of the Japanese League this season
The 2022-2023 season of the men’s Japanese V. League is set to begin this weekend, with ten matches to be played on Saturday and Sunday and each of the ten clubs appearing twice in the opening week.
The competition will continue until April 2023, when the season champions will be celebrated. The women’s calendar will begin next week, with the first matches set to be played on Saturday, October 29, and Sunday, October 30.
Two-time defending champions Suntory Sunbirds will be led once again by Russia star opposite Dmitriy Muserskiy, who will share the court with Japan national team setter Masaki Oya, the Most Valuable Player of the 2021-2022 season, and China national team middle blocker Peng Shikun.
Last year’s runners-up Wolfdogs Nagoya have Pole opposite Bartosz Kurek, who made it to the Dream Team of the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship, as well as Japan national team outside hitter Kenta Takanashi and libero Tomohiro Ogawa.
Meanwhile, one of the clubs with the richest history, the Panasonic Panthers feature an experienced core with two-time world champion outside hitter Michal Kubiak of Poland and Japanese stars Hideomi Fukatsu (setter), Kunihiro Shimizu (opposite) and Akihiro Yamauchi (middle blocker).
JTEKT Stings on the other hand, probably made the two biggest signings of the season, bringing star opposite Yuji Nishida back to the V. League after he spent a season in Italy, and adding Slovenian national team captain Tine Urnaut to their squad, which also features Japan national team setter Masahiro Sekita and middle blocker Go Murayama.
JT Thunders Hiroshima also made a pair of noticeable signings, adding American Olympic medallist outside hitter Aaron Rusell and Chinese national team opposite Jiang Chuang. The Sakai Blazers have Canadian opposite Sharone Vernon-Evans as their main player and he will share the court with Japan national team libero Tomohiro Yamamoto and veteran middle blocker Yoshihiko Matsumoto.
Other international players will appear in the remaining four clubs, with Hungarian opposite Krisztian Padar continuing as Toray Arrows’ main player, Chinese outside hitter Zhang Binglong playing a key role for the Tokyo Great Bears, Thai outside hitter Kantapat Koonmee leading the way for Oita Myoshi Weisse Adler and Indonesian outside hitter Doni Haryono strengthening the VC Nagano Tridents.
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