JTEKT STINGS VS Panasonic Panthers

After losing the 1st set, Kaziyski came back on the court from the 2nd set. The rookies, Nakane and Nishida made a great performance. All the players tried their best effort until the end.

Now it’s time for showdown. It’s the final of 67th Kurowashiki Cup, staged in Osaka Municipal Central Gym, against Panasonic Panthers, who will play for the triple crown. The venue was surrounded by the aura. The first whistle went off at 13:30.

This is the last match of this season. STINGS started out aggressively. Nishida was marked by the opponent, so the setter Nakane run an offense using the middle line a lot. Fukuyama won a side-out with his attack. Asano make a point in the important moment. Reaching the first technical time-out behind by 3 points, but the squad kept high concentration.
Nishida won a side-out with his attack, followed by stuff block from Kanamaru. STINGS closed the score behind by 2 points at 7-9. Nishida gave pressure on the opponent with his service, to assist a direct attack from Koori. At 10-11, almost there to upset the score.
“Panasonic Panthers plays the game based on the statistics. In the past 2 games which I played, I set up a lot of quick attack and pipe, and they knew it very well. But, I was supposed to keep it on. If it doesn’t work, I try to think something else. I could receive the real-time information from our scout man, so I really counted in on,” said the setter Nakane.
His dynamic performance threatened the opponent. STINGS made 3 consecutive points at 15-18. Koori made a point with a difficult high ball, to bring the momentum to the team. At 19-24, the opponent seemed to be out of bounds, but due to the video challenge, the point went to the opponent. STINGS fell just short of winning this set, but it was not a bad game. The squad rather showed their potential on the court.

The player #1 came back on the court. Kaziyski, who’s been away from the court due to injury, was on the court from the 2nd set. However, it went into the competitive game.
Kanamaru won a side-out with his quick attack, followed by a break point from Asano. Nishida won a rally with his attack. Nakane made a balanced distribution to add points. STINGS reached the first technical time-out behind by 1 point.
Nishida showed his high potential on the court in the middle of the set, so Nakane relied him on a lot. There was a full of confidence on the court. STINGS, with all the players united, went for this strong opponent.
At 13-17, giving away the lead, but STINGS scored 3 consecutive points including an attack from Kaziyski. The score became by 1 point again. When Asano came to the front row, Koori, who’s taller, replaced him. STINGS kept the close score, using a quick attack from Fukuyama. Though giving away this set behind by 3 points, there was no big difference in both teams.

Nishida was in the perfect shape, as always. “I shrank a bit in the 1st set, but Nakane was making a good job in setting and there was no back set. I tried to went into where I can see the opponent blocker and see if Kubiak closes line or diagonal until the very last moment.”
STINGS started their counterattack. Kaziyski made the very first point of the 3rd set, followed by his ace to capture the lead in 5-3. STINGS kept siding out with a stuff block from Kanamaru and an attack from Nishida.
When the score became at 10-11, the setter was replaced from Nakane to Watanabe. Into the middle of the set, blocking functioned well. Kaziyski also made an aggressive service. Asano and Fukuyama shut the opponent attacks in a row. Kaziyski followed with an ace, which contributed 5 consecutive points. STINGS took back the lead at 15-12.
However, STINGS lost 5 points in a row. The opponent attack seemed to be out of bounds, but due to the video challenge, the point went to the opponent. Fukuyama made a stuff block to 17-17. Then, both teams traded points toward the end of the set.
Asano made a kill, followed by a tip from Nishida. Kaziyski and Fukuyama added points, to chase Panasonic Panthers. Fukuyama made a stuff block to 23-23. Kaziyski made a wonderful back-row attack to regain the lead.
The setter Nakane got blocked his attack, but Kanamaru won back a point right away with his quick attack. Kaziyski made a skillful attack to 26-25. In the end, Nishida made a kill, to close this set.

Nishida made a stuff block to kick off the 4th set. Kaziyski made an attack, followed by a stuff block from Asano, to 5-4. Then, STINGS lost 3 points in a row, but took back a break point with a back-row attack from Kaziyski, to get even at 7-7.
The squad kept on aggressively. Asano made a strong service, from which Kaziyski made a direct attack. There was a mistake, but it represented their aggressive spirit. Asano called balls a lot. STINGS reached the second technical time-out at 16-14.
However, the experienced Panasonic Panthers, started picking up toward the end of the set. The opponent extended their lead into 19-21, by 2 points. STINGS used out their 2 time-outs.
Nishida made a kill to 21-23. Then, Hakamaya came in for blocking. Nishida won a break point by his attack. An attack from Kaziyski became 1 point after video challenge, which made the score to 23-23.
Kaziyski collected balls in the end. But, he got blocked at 24-26. STINGS lost in 1-3.

6-day battle came to end with the result of vice-champion. One more step to the champion. However, the silver medals on the players looked glorious.
Nishida was given 2 awards; Fighting Spirit Award and Best Rookie. He was also selected in the Best 6, together with Asano.
“As we stayed till the last day in this tournament, it became very long season. There were many fans to come to watch our game every day in Kurowashiki as well as V. Premier Season. STINGS has a strong support from fans and I myself receive a lot energy from them. I hope they will support us in the coming season. We will try out best to be ranked higher,” as Asano said, the squad made a great improvement, helped by supporters and proved themselves as the team to deserve the champion.
All the matches were over in this season. Get relaxed first, and go for another challenge.

Panasonic Panthers
First set 19 ー 25
Second set 22 ー 25
The third set 27 ー 25
Fourth set 24 ー 26
Fifth set
Date 5 May (Sat) 2018
Match 67th Kurowashiki - Final
Location Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium
Member Kanamaru, Fukuyama, Koori, Nishida, Nakane, Asano, (L)Kohrogi