IN_VNL2022_OSAKA_JPN_AUS_020

The left-handed Nishida was also very effective at the net, producing 17 kills

Japanese players and fans were very much looking forward to this week’s Volleyball Nations League 2022 matches in Osaka and the reunion between the team and their supporters got off to a strong start as the Asians won their first match at home on Wednesday.

Boosted by six aces from star opposite Yuji Nishida, the Japanese produced a 3-1 (25-18, 25-15, 23-25, 25-19) victory over Australia in front of their home fans to secure their seventh win in the tournament and take another step towards the VNL Finals.

· Watch all VNL 2022 matches live on Volleyball TV.

The 22-year-old Nishida was also unstoppable at the net, hitting an excellent 59.09% efficiency rate and producing 17 kills and one block in his match-high total of 24 points.

“Our fans were waiting for this for two years,” Nishida commented. “We could see everyone was really happy at the stadium and I hope we can win all matches this week.”

Nishida's exceptional serving performance included an incredible ace to improve the Japanese lead to 19-10 in the second set. There was also another one down the middle, in the very next play. The Japanese star scored consecutive aces again in the fourth set, improving the Japanese lead from 3-2 to 5-2 on their way to taking the match.

Yuji Nishida Aces Leader in Japan vs. Australia

Other standouts in the Japanese victory in Osaka were outside hitter and team captain Yuki Ishikawa, who produced 18 points with 11 kills, five aces and two blocks, and middle blocker Kentaro Takahashi, who added another 14 (12 kills, two blocks).

Australian outside hitter Lorenzo Pope carried his team’s offence with 22 points (21 kills, one block) while opposite Thomas Heptinstall helped with ten points (nine kills, one ace) of his own.

The Japanese will be back on the court on Friday at 19.10 local time (10.10 GMT), when they will face Canada. Australia will play on Thursday, at 15.00 local time (6.00 GMT), against Germany.