Saitama suffered a 23-25, 17-25, 28-30 defeat by NEC, on a rare Wednesday game in the 2021-22 V.League Division 1 women’s tournament at the Saitama Prefectural Budokan.
Ageo Medics import Jaja Santiago, who is the league’s third most-efficient attacker, was checked. She only converted six of her 17 spikes to go with three blocks to end with nine points.
Knotted at 22 in the first set, Sarina Koga, Misaki Yamauchi, and Nanami Hirose connived on a 3-1 blitz to give the Red Rockets the early lead, 25-23.
NEC then started the second period on fire, blazing to a 9-3 scoreline and never looked back en route to a 25-17 win to move on the verge of a sweep.
With the Ageo Medics at set point in the third frame, 24-21, the Red Rockets came back with three straight points to force a deuce, 24-24, before the squads traded conversions.
Tied at 28, NEC strung together three straight points to complete the comeback and the sweep.
Koga led the Red Rockets with 21 points on 19 attacks and two blocks.
Haruyo Shimamura added 14 points as NEC moved into the third seed at 14-5.
Kyoko Aoyagi was the lone Saitama player in double digits with 10 points while Brazilian import Lorenne Teixeira got nine points.
Substitutes Mako Shiina and Momoko Niida carried the fight in the third salvo before faltering late with seven and six points, respectively.
The 8-11 Ageo Medics will try to bounce back against Toray on Saturday at 12:00 PM (Manila time) at the same venue.