Jaja Santiago, Ageo Medics fall to Hitachi Rivale

Jaja Santiago and the Ageo Medics dropped its second straight game in the Japanese V.League Women’s Division 1 Final Eight for the 2018-19 season. This time, they were edged by the Hitachi Rivale in five sets.

The Medics dominated the first two sets, 25-16 and 25-18. However, the Rivale won the last three to take the victory. Hitachi gave Ageo a dose of their own medicine by dominating set three, 25-17. The Medics had a chance to close it out in four but their opponents extended the match to a decider, 25-22. Hitachi completed the comeback with a 15-11 triumph in the fifth.

Santiago tallied 13 attacks on 25 attempts to go with three kill blocks. Katarina Barun Susnjar once again led the Medics with 24 attacks, four blocks, and an ace. Yuri Yoshino added 16 while Horie Miyuki chipped in 12 markers.

On the other hand, outside hitter Miyu Kubota paced the Rivale with 18 points while Hisae Watanabe contributed 17. Miwako Osanai supported with 13 points while Mai Irisawa tallied ten markers.

Team stats reveal that Ageo had a 68-66 edge in attack points, 12-11 lead in kill blocks, and 3-2 advantage in service aces. However, they had three more errors than Hitachi, 20-17.

Despite getting a point from their five-set loss, the defeat dropped the Medics to sixth place in the Final Eight with an 0-2 record and five match points. Meanwhile, the Rivale are still on the last spot with a 1-2 record and two points.

The Ageo Medics will try to score their first victory in the playoffs against Jana Kulan, Ai Kurogo, and the rest of the Toray Arrows today (March 10), at 1:30 PM Philippine time.

Speaking of Dindin Santiago-Manabat’s team, the Arrows also dropped a four-setter against the defending champion Hisamitsu Springs. Toray won the first set, 25-22, before Hisamitsu swept the next three, 25-20, 25-19, and 25-22.

Kulan compiled 28 points for the losing cause while Kaho Ono and Kurogo added 12 and 11, respectively. On the other hand, Japanese national team member Yuki Ishii paced the Springs with 25 points while American import Foluke Akinradewo added 20. Rika Nomoto scored 13 while Nana Iwasaka added 12, seven of which from blocks. Risa Shinnabe also scored in double-digits with 11.

Hisamitsu is on top of the Final Eight standings with a 3-0 record and 15 points while Toray is second to the last with a 1-1 slate with two points.