The third set between Shiratorizawa and Karasuno is underway. Shirabu tosses the ball to Satori Tendō, who then spikes it. Asahi tries to return the ball but is unable to do so. The score is 21-16, with Shiratorizawa in the lead.
As spectators comment on the state of the game so far, Kageyama notes that Shiratorizawa's second set loss did not seem to negatively affect Shirabu. In fact, the opposite is true, for he became more focused.
A flashback starts to when Shirabu was in middle school. (He was on the same team as Shunki Kawatabi of Wakutani Minami High.) He was one of the spectators watching the finals of the Miyagi Prefecture Junior High Athletics Competition for Volleyball. Unsurprisingly, the two teams competing were Kitagawa Daiichi Junior High and Shiratorizawa. He commented that although Kitagawa Daiichi lacked physical strength, they made up for it with their exceptional skill and speed. Furthermore, as a setter, he realized how monstrous Oikawa was. Yet even though most people were paying attention to Kitagawa Daiichi, the one that caught Shirabu's attention was Shiratorizawa. He noted that even though Kitagawa Daiichi's teamwork and skills were excellent, it was nothing compared to the height and power that Shiratorizawa possessed, particularly those of Wakatoshi.
After seeing their strength, Shirabu pledged to enroll at Shiratorizawa. When asked why by his teammate, Shirabu replied, "I'm gonna go to the place where strong players gather and play that strong style of volleyball." With lots of hard work and coupled with his already good grades, Shirabu was able to fulfill his pledge. He was now a member of the Shiratorizawa Academy boys’ volleyball team.
Back to the present, Coach Washijō notes what a good player Kageyama is. However, he also remarks that if he were a member of Shiratorizawa, he would not be happy. That is because Kageyama is the type of setter that is fixated on being a setter while Shiratorizawa is the type of school that relies on simplistic strength. Shirabu, on the other hand, is different. Whereas a typical setter would be taken back and thrown into disarray whenever the ace is blocked, Shirabu calmly accepts it. As Coach Ukai observes, Shirabu is actually “back on track.”
With Shiratorizawa seemingly back on track, Coach Ukai concludes that at this rate, Karasuno will eventually lose the match. To stop this from happening, he sends out Yamaguchi to do a pinch serve but he fouls. Nevertheless, Karasuno is still able to decrease the score difference within four points after Goshiki also fouls on his serve. Unfortunately, this does not change the fact that Shiratorizawa is on its set point.
As Reon Ōhira receives the ball, he sends it to Shirabu. Calmly eyeing the ball, Shirabu catches it. He notes that his “job is not just to rely on Ushijima but… to keep [their] nationally-recognized first-class ace in top form.” He may view flashy setters like Kageyama and Oikawa in high regards, but to fulfill his job, he must be different from them. In fact, in his view, the coolest thing in volleyball is whenever Wakatoshi does his spikes. For this to happen, he must be a “more inconspicuous setter than anyone else.”
As he has done for countless times, Shirabu calmly tosses the ball to Wakatoshi’s direction. Wakatoshi, in turn, proceeds to spike it flawlessly over Asahi and Tsukishima’s blocks and Nishinoya’s receives. The score is now 20-25, with Shiratorizawa leading the match 2-1.
- Kenjirō Shirabu
- Yū Nishinoya
- Asahi Azumane
- Shōyō Hinata
- Satori Tendō
- Tobio Kageyama
- Shunki Kawatabi (flashback only)
- Tōru Oikawa (flashback only)
- Hajime Iwaizumi (flashback only)
- Takehito Sasaya (flashback only)
- Reon Ōhira
- Taichi Kawanishi
- Kōshi Sugawara
- Tadashi Yamaguchi
- Tanji Washijō
- Ryūnosuke Tanaka
- Tsutomu Goshiki
- Hayato Yamagata
- Akiteru Tsukishima
- Hitoka Yachi
- Saeko Tanaka
- Ittetsu Takeda
- Keishin Ukai
- Kiyoko Shimizu
- Wakatoshi Ushijima
- Kei Tsukishima
- Chikara Ennoshita
- Daichi Sawamura
- Hisashi Kinoshita
- Makoto Shimada
- Shirabu and Kawatabi were former middle school teammates.
- Wakatoshi has been a student at Shiratorizawa Academy since he was in middle school.
- Shiratorizawa Academy has a middle school.