Going into the weekend, Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler were the only team in the Japanese V1 Men's League that had not won a match all season. They prepared to take on VC Nagano Tridents for the first time this season.
On Saturday, Oita took a 2-1 lead against Nagano in their first match. The Tridents, however, pushed the match to five sets with a 25-19 fourth set win. At 7-5 in the fifth set, a spike by Australian Curtis Stockton and consecutive points by Kota Yamada (a spike and a block) gave Oita a five point lead. Bryan Bagunas ended the match for Oita with a spike, 15-10 fifth set, 3-2 sets to Oita.
Stockton led all scorers with 32 points (1 block) and Bagunas contributed 24 (2 blocks) in Oita's first win of the season. Oita dominated with a 24 kills (77-53) advantage, but Nagano were able to stay in the match with 18 fewer service errors (6-24) and six fewer hitting errors (7-13).
In Sunday's match, could Oita take their momentum from Saturday and make it a winning streak? Oita needed extra points to win the first set 27-25, and Nagano then pushed the second set also into extra points taking it 32-30 to tie the match at one set all.
A quick lead in both the third and fourth sets by Oita meant that Nagano could not catch up. Oita took the match 3-1 and now had a two-match win streak. Stockton with 33 (1 block and 2 aces) and Bagunas with 32 (3 blocks and 3 aces) were the spark plugs for the Oita offence. Indonesia's Rivan Nurmulki for Nagano had 33 (1 ace) in the loss for the Tridents. Nagano, however, retained a win and three point lead over Oita in the standings, despite losing to their opponents twice this weekend.
Suntory Sunbirds faced FC Tokyo in their two-match series over Saturday and Sunday.
On Saturday, Dmitriy Muserskiy had 24 points (4 blocks and 1 ace) to lead the Sunbirds to a 3-0 sweep. Serbia's Petar Premovic had 15 (1 block and 1 ace) for Tokyo in the loss.
On Sunday, Muserskiy with 29 points (2 blocks and 3 aces) and Yuma Nagatomo with 27 (1 block) fought to a draw, but Masahiro Yanagida with 15 (1 block and 5 aces) and Kenya Fujinaka (3 blocks and an ace) for Suntory provided support in the 3-2 win.
Toray Arrows and Panasonic Panthers split their two matches over the weekend. On Saturday, Toray's Hungarian opposite Krisztian Padar had 36 (an ace) in their 3-1 win, while on Sunday Kunihiro Shimizu for Panasonic led all scorers with 24 (2 blocks, 3 aces) in the Panthers' 3-0 win.
Wolfdogs Nagoya tried to keep pace with both Suntory and Panasonic against JT Thunders Hiroshima in their two-match series. On Saturday, Nagoya had a 2-1 sets lead, but the Thunders came from behind to win the match in five sets, 3-2. Poland's Bartosz Kurek for Nagoya was dominant with 40 points (3 blocks and an ace), but the Thunders used blocking (10-6) and fewer errors to defeat the Wolfdogs. On Sunday, Kurek was unstoppable with 32 (4 blocks) in a Nagoya 3-0 win.
Lastly, JTEKT Stings met the Sakai Blazers in their two-match series. The Stings used Yuji Nishida heavily in the two matches, both of which produced 3-1 wins. Nishida had 32 (2 blocks and 3 aces) on Saturday and 27 (4 blocks and 5 aces) to keep the Stings in fourth place.
Match results for February 6, 2021
Suntory Sunbirds - FC Tokyo 3-0 (25-19, 26-24, 26-24)
Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler - VC Nagano Tridents 3-2 (25-23, 18-25, 25-22, 19-25, 15-10)
JTEKT Stings - Sakai Blazers 3-1 (25-23, 25-22, 25-27, 25-20)
Toray Arrows - Panasonic Panthers 3-1 (25-17, 22-25, 25-22, 25-21)
JT Thunders Hiroshima - Wolfdogs Nagoya 3-2 (22-25, 25-19, 24-26, 25-22, 15-8)
Match results for February 7, 2021
Suntory Sunbirds - FC Tokyo 3-2 (18-25, 25-15, 30-28, 27-29, 15-8)
JTEKT Stings - Sakai Blazers 3-1 (22-25, 25-18, 25-17, 25-20)
Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler - VC Nagano Tridents 3-1 (27-25, 30-32, 25-17, 25-17)
Panasonic Panthers - Toray Arrows 3-0 (25-18, 25-14, 25-20)
Wolfdogs Nagoya - JT Thunders Hiroshima 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-23)