"The One Known as the Ace" (Japanese: “エース”と
Kageyama and Hinata try to convince Asahi to come back to the team but he refuses. Sugawara reveals that Asahi has come to hate volleyball. Takeda announces the golden week training camp and a practice match against Nekoma High, Karasuno High's destined rival.
In a flashback, Nishinoya saves a ball at the last second and sends it to Tanaka. He thinks to himself that he can't fight in the “sky” because it is the spiker’s domain but without fail, he will get the ball to the spikers. No matter how many times the spike is blocked by a “wall”, the ace will always score. Nishinoya then faces another player and silently asks him to call for a toss.
Kageyama and Hinata approach Karasuno’s ace, Azumane Asahi. Sugawara introduces the first years but to Hinata’s surprise, Asahi only replies with a simple “do your best”. Hinata exclaims that he wants to work together with Asahi because he wants to become an ace like him. Asahi is shocked by his words but he leaves, telling them that he is no ace. Kageyama asks Sugawara if Asahi is injured, but the third year explains that Asahi has come to hate volleyball. He is strong and is the tallest person on the team, and he would succeed despite dire situations, so everyone thought of him as the ace; but he was depended on too much. In every match, Asahi was always targeted but in Asahi's last one, Karasuno wasn’t able to do anything, and Asahi’s spikes were completely blocked.
At practice, as the entire team is gathered around Nishinoya, Takeda comes in, announcing the golden week training camp that Karasuno tends to do every year. He tells them that he scheduled a practice match for the final day of the golden week against a Tokyo team called Nekoma High School, Karasuno’s destined rival. Tanaka explains that he only heard stories about how the former coaches of both schools were rivals in the past. Whenever they had matches, the entire town would go see, calling the matches “The Battle of the Garbage Heap”. Sugawara asks Takeda why he suddenly got a match when it had been so long since the teams last had contact, and Takeda replies that he wanted to use the match to get "someone’s" attention.
As Daichi prepares the team for the training camp, Nishinoya tells him that he isn’t going because it will prove that they can win a match without Asahi. Hinata states that if Asahi comes back, maybe Sugawara and all the third years will feel better. He tells Kageyama that everyone on the same side of the net may be allies without exception, but he doesn’t want them to have a strained atmosphere.
The next day, during lunch break, Kageyama and Hinata visit Asahi again and asks him to come back. Asahi apologizes and tells them that the image of him being blocked is still fresh in his mind. Hinata tells him that he understood because he had always been blocked by a tall wall every time he tried to spike, but he has Kageyama now. He can now see the other side of the net stretching out below him. Asahi looks at his own hand, understanding the feeling Hinata's talking about. After Hinata leaves for class, Kageyama tells the ace that it is given that Asahi can’t win by himself; there are six people on the court for a reason, something Kageyama had recently understood.
Later, Asahi passes by the gym as he's leaving and sees Hinata spiking Kageyama’s toss. As he turns around to leave, he overhears that Karasuno will play a match against Nekoma.
- Asahi Azumane (first proper appearance)
- Yū Nishinoya
- Ryūnosuke Tanaka
- Shōyō Hinata
- Tobio Kageyama
- Kōshi Sugawara
- Kei Tsukishima
- Tadashi Yamaguchi
- Ittetsu Takeda
- Daichi Sawamura
- Keishin Ukai
- Nekoma has "neko" in the name and is often represented by cats, but the kanji for that is different from the kanji for a cat.