Spectacular five-set finals of All Japan High School Championship streamed live on Volleyball TV
2023 boys’ Haruko champions Sundai Gakuen Tokyo (source: sundaigakuen.ac.jp)
The boys’ team of Sundai Gakuen Tokyo and the girls’ team of Furukawa Gakuen Miyagi won Sunday’s finals of the All Japan High School Volleyball Championship in Tokyo to celebrate as 2023 Haruko Volley champions. Both gold medal matches, streamed live on Volleyball TV for the first time, were resolved in exciting five set battles.
Watch replays of the All Japan High School Volleyball Championship finals on Volleyball TV.
In the boys’ final, Sundai mounted a spectacular comeback from two sets down to claim a 3-2 (23-25, 22-25, 25-21, 25-17, 15-12) victory over last year’s runners-up Chinzei Kumamoto and won the tournament for the second time in six years. Previously, they triumphed as champions in 2017, reached the finals in 2019 and 2020, and the semifinals in 2016. Sundai’s third-year student Haruto Sato, a 1.90m-tall outside hitter, was named Most Valuable Player in the boys’ competition.
“We were able to play on this stage with spectators, so we could win the championship with the parents and teachers supporting us. I’m very happy that we were able to pay them back with this win.”
Haruto Sato, outside hitter of Sundai Gakuen Tokyo, All Japan High School Volleyball Championship gold medallist and MVP
Until the final, Sundai had not dropped a single set at the tournament. As one of the seeded teams, they started their participation in this year’s finals directly from Thursday’s second round, when they mastered a 2-0 (25-11, 25-11) shutout of Hirosaki Technical Aomori. They played two games on Friday, managing a 2-0 (25-8, 25-23) third-round win over Omura Technical Nagasaki and a 2-0 (25-19, 26-24) quarterfinal victory over Higashi Fukuoka. In Saturday’s semifinals, when a best-of-five format was already applied, Sundai hammered out a 3-0 (25-19, 25-13, 25-20) sweep of Narashino Chiba in front of 6,700 spectators.
1.96m-tall Dominican-born middle blocker Alondra Tapia led Furukawa to a 3-2 (25-19, 22-25, 23-25, 25-17, 15-6) victory over Seiei Yamaguchi in the girls’ final and earned the MVP award. It was the fourth time Furukawa reached the final since the current format was introduced in 2011, but it was the first time they grabbed the title since their last championship crown in 1999. They also triumphed in 1985, 1986 and 1996.