Japan’s Kunihiro Shimizu starred for the Panasonic Panthers.

Tokyo, Japan, November 3, 2020 – JT Thunders Hiroshima and Panasonic Panthers entered the third weekend of the Japanese V1 Men’s League as the only undefeated teams left in the league. Panasonic would face the defending champions JTEKT Stings in their two matches over the weekend, while JT Thunders would meet Toray Arrows, who were winless after four matches.

On Saturday, the Thunders swept the Arrows 3-0 through balanced play from Taishi Onodera, Australian Thomas Edgar and Chinese Taipei’s Chien Chen Chen. Edgar led the Thunders in scoring with 19 points (one block), Onodera with three blocks (11 points in total) and Chen with 10 points (two blocks). Krisztian Padar gave Toray 24 points (two blocks) in the loss.

Panasonic defeated the Stings 3-1, also on Saturday. Kunihiro Shimizu led the Panthers with 21 points (one block and one ace), while his Polish teammate Michal Kubiak had four blocks in his 17 points. JTEKT’s Yuji Nishida had an “off day” with 21 points (two aces). Nishida had seven hitting errors (excluding blocked balls), which was more than Panasonic’s three hitting errors for the match. Also, Nishida was slightly injured during practice, but played on Saturday. He was held out of Sunday’s match due to the length of the season (36 games).

For Sunday, the Panthers had a tight match with the Stings, but swept their rivals 3-0 nonetheless. Shimizu and Kubiak were the power that Panasonic needed to win. Shimizu with 20 points (one ace) and Kubiak with 14 (one block). Ryosuke Hakamaya was the focus of the offence for the Stings and finished with 19 points.

The Thunders could not match the Panthers on Sunday, however. Toray Arrows got their first win of the season 3-1. The loss by the Thunders meant that Panasonic claimed first place in the ranking as the only team undefeated at 6-0. Padar was dominant for Toray with 35 points, including six aces. Edgar had 19 points (two blocks) in the loss for the JT.

Wolfdogs Nagoya swept their weekend series with Sakai Blazers, 3-0 (Saturday) and 3-1 (Sunday). Poland’s Bartosz Kurek has been the focus of the scoring for the Wolfdogs and did not disappoint. Kurek had 24 points (two blocks) on Saturday and 34 points with five aces and two blocks on Sunday. Naoya Takano had 20 points including four blocks in Sakai’s loss on Sunday.

Dmitriy Muserskiy made his first start of the season this weekend for Suntory Sunbirds in their matches against VC Nagano. Suntory swept both matches, 3-0 and 3-1. Muserskiy led all scorers on Saturday with 23 points (one block) and followed that up with 20 (two blocks) on Sunday. Indonesian Rivan Nurmulki was the offence for Nagano with 14 on Saturday and 25 (1 block) on Sunday in the losses. Nagano remain winless and in ninth place, while Suntory jump up the standings to third.

In a battle of winless teams between FC Tokyo and Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler, the Gasmen (FC Tokyo was created from Tokyo Gas in the past) swept their matches 3-0. Petar Premovic led Tokyo on Saturday with 22 points (two aces) and Hideyuki Kuriyama with 18 (two blocks and an ace) on Sunday. Oita with the loss are at the bottom of the league standings.

Match Results for October 31, 2020
FC Tokyo 3-0 Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler (25-19, 25-19, 25-16)
Wolfdogs Nagoya 3-0 Sakai Blazers (27-25, 25-20, 25-20)
Suntory Sunbirds 3-0 VC Nagano Tridents (25-20, 25-14, 25-23)
Panasonic Panthers 3-1 JTEKT Stings (25-20, 25-19, 25-27, 25-11)
JT Thunders Hiroshima 3-0 Toray Arrows (25-19, 25-23, 25-21)

Match Results for November 1, 2020
FC Tokyo 3-0 Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler (25-23, 25-21, 25-22)
Wolfdogs Nagoya 3-1 Sakai Blazers (25-23, 22-25, 25-16, 25-18)
Suntory Sunbirds 3-1 VC Nagano Tridents (25-22, 25-17, 21-25, 25-17)
Panasonic Panthers 3-0 JTEKT Stings (25-22, 27-25, 25-23)
Toray Arrows 3-1 JT Thunders Hiroshima (20-25, 25-20, 25-20, 25-18)

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