After a four-set loss on Saturday, Hitachi managed to earn a split of the weekend matches.
Ruriko Uesaka showed the way for the Rivale with a 20-point explosion from 17 attacks, two blocks and an ace. Miwako Osanai and Aya Watanabe also helped saved their team from a meltdown, finishing with 19 and 17 markers, respectively.
It was a huge win for Hitachi, and a heartbreaker of a loss for Ageo Medics as the league takes a month-long break.
Hitachi improved to 6-8 in eighth place, ending Ageo Medics’ win streak at three.
Yuka Sato scored 19, Mami Uchiseto had 15 points and Kyoko Aoyagi added 12 for Saitama.
Jaja Santiago tallied four kill blocks but only went 2 for 6 in attacking to finish with six points.
Ageo Medics slid to 8-6, tied with PFU Blue Cuts in sixth place.
Saitama’s next match is on Jan. 15, 2022 against Kurobe (2-12).
Sakai earns split with FC Tokyo
In men’s action, Sakai defeated FC Tokyo, 23-25, 15-25, 26-24, 19-25, at the Komazawa Olympic Park Stadium.
Yuki Higuchi unleashed 27 points to lead the Blazers, hitting 21 attacks, five blocks and an ace.
Canadian import Sharone Vernon-Evans delivered 21 markers, while Naoya Takano added 11 to avenge their four-set loss on Saturday.
Sakai earned a share of the lead with Toray at 11-3, while sending FC Tokyo to its third loss in four matches.
Marck Espejo struggled with four points, nailing only three of his 14 spike attempts and had one block as FC Tokyo slid to 4-10 in eighth place.
Jonas Kvalen and Yuma Nagatomo led Tokyo’s attack with 16 points each.
They next take on fifth place Panasonic (8-6) on Jan. 8.
Meanwhile, Oita Miyoshi suffered another setback to defending champion Suntory, 25-21, 17-25, 23-25, 14-25, at the Kumamoto Prefectural Gymnasium.
Alain de Armas led the Sunbirds anew with 17 points built on 15 kills and a pair of blocks as they pounced on the Weisse Adler’s 38 errors to tighten its hold of solo third place with a 10-4 card.
Kenya Fujinaka had 11 points while Shikun Peng added 10.
Bryan Bagunas, who scored 26 in their five-set loss on Saturday, went 11-of-24 in attacking, while making three blocks as Oita suffered its fifth straight defeat and fell to 2-12.
Venezuelan import Emerson Rodriguez led the Weisse Adler with 20 points including five aces. They return on Jan. 8 against the winless VC Nagano (0-14).
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