Drews and Jack lead JT Marvelous and Denso to Japanese Women’s V1 semifinals


2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League MVP Annie Drews scored 33 points as her club team JT Marvelous progressed to the semifinals of the Japanese Women's V1 League.

Tokyo, Japan, January 20, 2020 - Going into the final day of the Japanese Women’s V1 League Playoffs Final 8 on Sunday, six teams (three in each of the two groups) were still alive to make the semifinals.

Two of the matches would be potential win or go home matches: Denso Airybees (6 points, 1-1) versus the Toray Arrows (5 points, 1-1) in Group A and JT Marvelous (6 points, 1-1) versus the Okayama Seagulls (6 points, 2-0) in Group B. Both matches would be played first in the two locations for the last day of group play.

Related article: Stars of the game lead Denso & JT Marvelous as Japanese Women’s V1 League reaches playoff rounds

The Saitama Ageo Medics in Group A were second (5 points, 2-0) before the start of play and hoping for a loss by the Arrows in less than five sets. A Toray win in five sets would force Saitama to match the Arrows with a win. While a Toray win in less than five sets, would allow Saitama to advance to the semifinals with two set wins, as the Medics would have more wins than Denso in the Final 8, 2 wins to 1 win.

In Group B, Toyota Auto Body Queenseis were in a worse position with Okayama and JT Marvelous in front of them. Toyota had five points (1-1), while Okayama and JT Marvelous were both at six points and a record of 1-1. A win by Toyota against Hisamitsu Springs (1 point, 0-2) would put Toyota into the semifinals, regardless of the Okayama versus JT Marvelous match result. Toyota could lose in five sets and qualify for the semifinals if JT Marvelous lost in less than five sets. In this scenario Toyota and JT would tie on points and wins, but the Queenseis would have a better sets ratio as the second tiebreaker.

There was a lot of tension in the stands and on the court as play started on Sunday.

In Group A, the Airybees jumped out in front of the Arrows in the first set and never looked back winning it 25-16. The second set saw the Arrows get an 18-15 lead, but Denso fought back to take the set 27-25. With the 2-0 sets lead, Denso pushed to end the match in three sets, and they did so with a score of 25-22. Sinead Jack lead the Airybees in their 3-0 sweep of the Arrows with 19 points, 13 spikes, 5 blocks and an ace. The sweep also gave the Airybees first place in Group A. With the loss by Toray, Saitama clinched their berth in the semifinals. Saitama won their match with NEC to end group play at 3-0 and 7 points.

Moving over to Group B, Annie Drews was completely unstoppable with 33 points for the JT Marvelous in their 3-0 sweep of the Okayama Seagulls. Drews had 31 spikes on 54 attempts, 9 of the spikes coming from the backrow (14 attempts), and also two aces. With the win, JT Marvelous would finish first in Group B and the Okayama Seagulls would have to wait for the result of the Queenseis versus Springs match.

Toyota needed a win to advance to the semifinals, jumped out to a 1-0 set lead by dominating the first set 25-16. However, the Springs took the second set, tying the set count at 1-1 with a score of 25-22. In the third set, Toyota jumped to a quick 5-0 lead, but the Springs fought back to take the set 28-26 and a 2-1 sets lead. In the fourth set the Queenseis jumped out to a big lead, which the Springs nearly brought back, but Toyota finished out the set 25-20 to tie the match and go to the tension packed final set. Hisamitsu were down 6-7, before a 7-0 scoring run gave the Springs a big lead to coast to the upset win 3-2 and kept the Queenseis from making the semifinals. Neriman Ozsoy had 30 points, 29 spikes and a block in the losing effort for the Queenseis, while Yuki Ishii led the Springs with 27 points, 25 spikes, a block and an ace in the win for Hisamitsu.

Standings, match schedule and results

Group A Match Schedule and Results
January 11, 2020
Saitama Ageo Medics v Denso Airybees 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 28-26) in Saitama, Saitama Prefecture
Toray Arrows v NEC Red Rockets 3-2 (25-16, 23-25, 24-26, 25-19, 15-8) in Saitama, Saitama Prefecture

January 18, 2020
Denso v NEC 3-1 (20-25, 25-19, 25-17, 25-20) in Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture
Saitama v Toray 3-2 (25-20, 16-25, 21-25, 25-20, 15-8) in Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture

January 19, 2020
Denso v Toray 3-0 (25-16, 27-25, 25-22) in Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture
Saitama v NEC 3-2 (25-20, 16-25, 23-25, 25-23, 15-12) in Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture

Group B Match Schedule and Results
January 12, 2020

JT Marvelous v Hisamitsu Springs 3-1 (14-25, 25-12, 25-14, 25-19) in Saitama, Saitama Prefecture
Okayama Seagulls v Toyota Auto Body Queenseis 3-2 (25-18, 22-25, 25-16, 23-25, 15-8) in Saitama, Saitama Prefecture

January 18, 2020
Toyota v JT Marvelous 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-19) in Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture
Okayama v Hisamitsu 3-2 (29-31, 20-25, 25-12, 25-23, 15-10) in Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture

January 19, 2020
JT Marvelous v Okayama 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 27-25) in Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture
Hisamitsu v Toyota 3-2 (16-25, 25-22, 28-26, 20-25, 15-9) in Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture

January 25, 2020

Played at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Tokyo
Denso v Okayama
JT Marvelous vs. Saitama

Third Place Match
January 26, 2020

Played at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Tokyo
Semifinal Losers

Championship Match
January 26, 2020

Played at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Tokyo
Semifinal Winners