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


One of the stars of the Japan women's national team, Yurie Nabeya has helped the Denso Airybees to a strong start in the Japanese Women's V1 League leading up to the playoff rounds.

Tokyo, Japan, January 10, 2020 - After a hard-fought regular season of 21 games, the Japanese Women’s V1 League has finally reached its playoff rounds.

Unlike most leagues around the world, the V1 League is split into two conferences, Star and Premier. Each team plays 15 matches (against each opponent three times) within their conference and one match against each of the teams in the other conference for a total of 21 games. The top four teams in each conference advance to the Final 8, while the bottom two teams in each conference advance to the Challenge 4.

V1 League Final Standings at the end of the Regular Season

In the Premier Conference, the Denso Airybees led by Japanese national team players Yurie Nabeya and Mai Okumura have dominated their opponents to finish with the best regular season record at 18-3. The Okayama Seagulls finished in second place with a record of 15-6. The final match of the regular season featured NEC Red Rockets and two-time defending champions Hisamitsu Springs, with the winner finishing in third place in the Premier Conference. NEC swept Hisamitsu 3-0 (25-21, 25-12, 25-19) to finish third.

In the Star Conference, JT Marvelous led by USA national team player Andrea Drews and Japanese national team player Mako Kobata finished in first place at 17-4. In the final match of the regular season between Toray Arrows and Saitama Ageo Medics, the winners claimed second place, while the loser claimed fourth place behind Toyota Auto Body Queenseis. The Arrows swept the Medics 3-0 (28-26, 25-23, 25-22) to take second place on January 4.

The V.League awards its statistical best player awards at the end of the regular season and Toyota’s Neriman Ozsoy was the best scorer with 523 points. Denso’s Sinead Jack was the best spiker with a 52.9 per cent success rate. Hitachi Rivale’s Hannah Tapp was the best blocker with an average of 1.08 blocks per set. Drews won the best server award with 24 aces, and Hisamitsu’s Risa Shinnabe was the best receiver.

The teams that reach the Final 8 are then split into two groups (A and B) based on the results in each conference. The Group A teams will be Denso (Premier 1st place), Toray (Star 2nd place), NEC (Premier 3rd place) and Saitama (Star 4th place). The Group B teams will be JT Marvelous (Star 1st place), Okayama (Premier 2nd place), Toyota (Star 3rd place) and Hisamitsu (Premier 4th place). Before play begins, the teams will be awarded advantage points to start the Final 8 based on their regular season finish in each conference. First place teams will be awarded 3 advantage points, second place teams 2 points, third place teams 1 point and none to those in fourth place.

So, at the beginning of the Final 8, here are the standings for each group with advantage points.

In the Final 8, each team will play three matches in total against the other clubs in the group. Matches will have awarded points (in addition to the advantage points) based on the result of the match and the two teams with the most points in each group will advance to the semifinals. If teams are tied on points, then the team with the most wins will advance. If they are tied on wins, then set ratio and points ratio will be used to determine the team that will advance.

Final 8 Schedule

January 11, 2019
Group A, played at the Saiden Chemical Arena in Saitama, Saitama Prefecture
Denso Airybees vs. Saitama Ageo Medics
Toray Arrows vs. NEC Red Rockets

January 12, 2019
Group B, played at the Saiden Chemical Arena in Saitama City, Saitama Prefecture
JT Marvelous vs. Hisamitsu Springs
Okayama Seagulls vs. Toyota Auto Body Queenseis

January 18, 2019
Group A, played at the Funabashi Arena, in Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture
Denso vs. NEC
Toray vs. Saitama

Group B, played at the YMIT Arena, in Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture
JT Marvelous vs. Toyota
Okayama vs. Hisamitsu

January 19, 2019
Group A, played at the Funabashi Arena, in Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture
Denso vs. Toray
NEC vs. Saitama

Group B, played at the YMIT Arena, in Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture
JT Marvelous vs. Okayama
Toyota vs. Hisamitsu

Moving onto the Challenge 4 teams, there will be three matches played between these four teams: Hitachi Rivale, PFU Blue Cats, Victorina Himeji and Kurobe Aqua Fairies. The teams that finished in fifth place in their conference, Hitachi and PFU, will have 1 advantage point, while the sixth place teams will receive 0 points. The tiebreaker rules used in the Final 8 are the same for the Challenge 4. The top two teams in the Challenge 4, will remain in the V1 League for the 2020-2021 season, while the bottom two teams will play in the Challenge Match. The Challenge Match is a two-match playoff between teams from V1 and V2. The two V1 teams come from the bottom two positions in the Challenge 4, and the top two teams from V2 play in a promotion/relegation playoff. The 3rd placed team in the Challenge 4 will face the 2nd placed team from V2 in one series. The other series will have the 4th placed team in the Challenge 4 play against the champion from V2. The Challenge Match series will take place February 22 and 23.

The standings at the beginning of the Challenge 4 with advantage points are as follows:

Challenge 4 Schedule
All matches played at the Tawaradao Memorial Gymnasium, Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture

January 11, 2019
Hitachi Rivale vs. Kurobe Aqua Fairies
PFU Blue Cats vs. Victorina Himeji

January 12, 2019
Hitachi vs. Victorina
PFU vs. Kurobe

January 13, 2019
Hitachi vs. PFU
Victorina vs. Kurobe