The South Korean women’s national volleyball team has vowed to put its failure at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League (VNL) 2023 behind it.
The team suffered an embarrassing 12-match loss at the 2023 VNL in June. It was the second consecutive disastrous performance for the team after last year, and they have been struggling in the VNL since 2021, falling into a 27-game losing streak.
However, the team still has some big international tournaments coming up. The 2023 Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship, the 2024 Paris Olympic Qualifiers, and the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games are upcoming.
For now, the team needs to rebound at the Asian Championships, which will be held in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, from Nov. 30 to Nov. 6. The athletes have been sweating it out at the National Training Center in Jincheon, Chungcheongbuk-do.
An open training session at the athletes’ village on the 17th. The athletes practiced with grim eyes and chanted for a rebound.
Despite not winning a single game in the VNL, the players came back with a lot to learn. “After the KOVO Cup, we had three weeks to prepare for the VNL, and we’ve been watching the videos from the VNL again to make up for what we lacked and work on our strengths,” said middle blocker Lee Da-hyun (22, Hyundai E&C).
“We missed a lot of points on the counterattack,” Lee said of the team’s weaknesses. “We are trying to make the most of our strengths by utilizing the middle blocker when the reception goes well and then connecting the attack through set plays,” she said.
The Korean team was weakened after “volleyball queen” Kim Yeon-kyung (35-Hungkuk Life) put down the Taegeuk marker. However, Lee insisted that they should use their strengths to find a breakthrough.
“When you’re playing against taller or stronger players, if your serve doesn’t go in, you’re bound to have a tough time,” Lee said. “I think we should utilize our serve because it has always been our strength, even when we had (Kim) Yeon-kyung.”
Captain Park Jung-ah (30-Pepper Savings Bank) had similar thoughts: “In the VNL, we struggled with height and physicality,” he said, “If you can’t win with height, you have to be good at something else. “If you can’t win with height, you have to do something else, like be more accurate in defense and reception, and show improvement on your serve.
Apogee spiker Kim Da-eun (22-Hungkuk Life) was one of the top scorers in the VNL, but she still felt she wasn’t good enough. “I lacked a lot of height, and when it came to rallies, I wasn’t very decisive,” she admitted. However, he was confident: “I think I’ve improved a lot now.”
She also expressed her determination to continue her good performance at the Asian Championships following the VNL. Kim pumped her fist in the air, saying, “I’m sure all the other players will be under pressure, but I think it will help the team if I step up and play actively.”
Outside hitter Pyo Seung-ju (31-IBK) became the eldest sister after the retirement of veterans including Kim Yeon-kyung. “It’s true that it’s a lot of pressure, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt pressure when I’m on the court,” he said, adding, “I’m training hard to set an example because I’m older.”
He also gives advice to his juniors. “I think you can only do well in a match if you look good in training,” said Pyo Seung-ju, “so I’m telling them to be more focused in training and do it like in practice.”
As the most senior player, he felt a heavy responsibility. “I think I’m more eager for the Asian Championships because I haven’t won a game in the VNL,” said Pyo Seung-ju, “so I’m preparing hard to win as many games as possible.”
The team is determined to show a different side at the Asian Championships. “At the VNL, we lost a lot of games because it was a tournament with world-class teams,” Lee said, adding, “There is no guarantee that we will win this Asian Championship, but I think we have a better chance than at the VNL.”
Ace Kang So-hwi (26-GS Caltex) was also confident. “There are definitely a lot of physical differences with European and American players, but in Asia, I think we need to be confident and push hard so that Korea can win the title,” he emphasized.메이저놀이터
Although there are several big international competitions coming up next, the team wants to focus on the Asian Championships first. “In our team meeting, we talked about focusing on the Asian Championships and moving forward,” Park said, “We’re not talking about the Asian Games because it’s still a while away. We are talking a lot about competing in the competitions that we need to compete in one by one.”