Blocking 3-15…Deliveries pushed back, women’s volleyball loses third straight shutout to VNL

South Korea women’s volleyball suffered its third straight 0-3 defeat at the 2023 Volleyball Nations League (VNL).

Head coach Cesar Gonzalez’s side fell to the USA in straight sets, 0-3 (16-25, 25-27, 11-25), in their third match of VNL Week 1 in Antalya, Turkey, on 4 April. Pyo Seung-ju led the way with 11 kills, but lost the battle in front of the net, including blocking. Her blocking record was a dismal 3-15. She also had no service points. It was the third consecutive match in which South Korea failed to win a set, following losses to Turkiye on the 1st and Canada on the 3rd. It was their 15th consecutive VNL loss, dating back to the last tournament when they lost all 12 matches.

Korea played well until the middle of the first set, but the middle blocker (centre) line quickly gave up the serve, and the spikes of the left and right attackers became dull, allowing them to be blocked continuously. They also committed seven unforced errors.

The decider was the second set. The Koreans took advantage of their opponent’s shaky serve-receive. KGC Ginseng centre duo Jung Ho-young and Park Eun-jin supported the scoring with their serves and front-of-the-net play, while setter Kim Dain added to the scoring with an exquisite two-step passing paint. Kim Mi-yeon, who was rated as a backup outside hitter (left side) before the tournament, fulfilled her role as the ‘gun’. Korea seemed to have won the first set in this VNL as they increased their lead to five points (23-18) ahead of set point.

However, back-to-back errors against a high US blocking wall and digging pressure led to Kang So-hwi’s attack being blocked by opposite hitter Daniel Coutino to tie the set. Korea regained a one-point lead at 24-23 when Moon Ji-yoon made an unforced error and conceded a deuce, and at 25-26, Park Eun-jin’s mobile attack was blocked by her opponent to force a second set.

Korea started the third set with their momentum slipping away. At one point, they rallied with defensive intensity, but a series of blocking and service errors saw them fall back. They dropped the set by the largest margin of the match.

“I hope we can get one win in every series,” said Korean coach Han Yoo-mi before the tournament began. South Korea has one match left in week one, against powerhouse Thailand. 메이저사이트