South Korea’s women’s volleyball team, which is undergoing a generational change, is struggling on the international stage. The team is still unable to close the gap in strength and height against well-built foreign teams.
The Korean team, led by head coach Cesar Gonzalez, lost their third match of Week 1 of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League 2023 (VNL) against the USA 0-3 (16-25, 25-27, 11-25) in Antalya, Turkey, on Thursday (4 November).
Korea also lost the first match against Turkiye on 1 January and the second match against Canada on 3 January without winning a set. After finishing last in the VNL last year with a 12-match losing streak, the Koreans are once again showing the gap between themselves and the rest of the world.먹튀검증
Korea’s middle blocker (centre) line-up consists of Lee Da-hyun, Kim Joo-ah, Jung Ho-young and Park Eun-jin, who have all risen through the ranks in the V-League in recent years. The intention was to create a generational change by giving players in their early to mid-20s international experience.
In the first three matches of Week 1 against Western nations, the centre blockers played a minor role. They lost the battle for possession in front of the net. South Korea had just three blocks against the United States on the 4th. Two of those came from outside hitter (left) Pyo Seung-ju and one from Kim Mi-yeon, both non-centres. Against Canada on the 3rd, they only had three blocks. Lee Da-hyun had two and Moon Ji-yoon had one. Through three games, the team has 10 blocks. Only four were made by the centre.
On the other hand, they had double-digit blocks in the Canada-USA match. The offence didn’t work well enough for ace Park Jung-ah to score in single digits in both games. The only other player with more than 10 attempts and a 40 per cent success rate was Kim Mi-yeon, who scored eight points against Canada.
South Korea’s ‘volleyball queen’ Kim Yeon-kyung, the V-League’s all-time blocking leader (1,451), has lost a lot of power since Yang Hyo-jin retired from the national team. Until then, Kim opened up attacking lanes in the front row and Yang was competitive in front of the net. However, the current squad does not have a player who can act as an offensive and defensive pillar.
Instead of Yeom Hye-sun as the starting setter against the USA, South Korea started Kim Da-in, a seventh-year pro. From the first set onwards, the team tried to use their centres for fast breaks and mobile attacks, with Jung Ho-young scoring seven points and Park Eun-jin scoring six, showing a more active performance than in the previous two matches (against Turkiye and Canada).
In the attacking line-up, Kim Mi-yeon, Moon Ji-yoon, and Pyo Seung-joo played longer in place of the out-of-form Park and Kang So-hwi. There were more attempts to attack from the centre as well as the flanks.
South Korea will play the second week of the VNL in Brasilia, Brazil from the 16th. They will face Brazil, Croatia, Germany, and other nations with large differences in strength and height. It is expected to make a breakthrough with mercenary skills and strategy changes.