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‘Kang So-hwi’s 11 points’ women’s volleyball falls apart…0-3 loss to China → VNL’s 28th straight defeat

The South Korean women’s national volleyball team has lost its 28th consecutive Volleyball Nations League (VNL) match.

The Fernando Morales-led Women’s National Volleyball Team (ranked 40th by FIVB) fell to China (ranked 6th) in straight sets, 0-3 (15-25 16-25 14-25), in the first match of Week 1 of the 2024 VNL at the Maracaranginho Gymnasium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Friday (June 15).

The women’s team’s most recent VNL victory was on June 15, 2021, against Canada (3-2). South Korea’s losing streak at the VNL, dating back to 2021, stretches to 28 matches. Korea lost 24 consecutive matches in the VNL in 2022 and 2023 without earning a single point.

Kang So-hwi (Korea Expressway Corporation) was the team’s top scorer. He did his part with 11 points, including one block and two service points. However, the rest of the team struggled, including Jung Ji-yoon (Hyundai E&C – 6 points) and Park Jung-ah (Pepper Savings Bank – 3 points). China, on the other hand, had an evenly matched performance, with four players scoring in double figures.

Team metrics showed a wide gap between the two teams. The difference in offensive points (20-44) was more than double, and Korea was also outblocked (6-12) and out-served (4-6) by China.

China started off the first set with a strong offense, racking up point after point. Trailing 12-19, South Korea rallied with back-to-back points, but the Chinese scored three straight points to reach the 20-point mark. The first set ended in favor of China.

The second set was not much different. After South Korea scored three straight points, including an attack from Park Jung-ah at 3-7, to pull within one point, China used solid defense to rack up points. The Chinese were able to hold off the South Koreans to take the second set.

The third set was a one-sided affair, with the match tipping in China’s favor early on. South Korea tried to turn the tide with a powerful service ace from Kang So-hwi at 9-19, but they were unable to close the gap any further and had to accept the shutout loss.

Last year, the women’s national team struggled at the international level. They went winless (0-0) in the VNL qualifying rounds and finished sixth out of 14 teams at the Asian Championships. In the Paris 2024 Olympic qualifiers, the team finished with a 7-0 토토사이트 record (2 points), and at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, the team finished in fifth place and failed to qualify.

In need of a rebound, the team has a new coach. On March 18, the Korean Volleyball Association named Morales, who previously coached the Puerto Rico Women’s National Team, as the head coach of the women’s national team. Morales, who played setter for the Puerto Rico national team and various leagues as a player, was promoted from coach to head coach shortly after the Puerto Rico women’s team failed to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (to be held in 2021).

Like South Korea, he has been recognized for his leadership of Puerto Rico’s national team, which has been weakened by generational changes, to a world ranking of 16th. Most notably, the team went 4-3 at the Paris 2024 Olympic Qualifiers last year.

However, Morales tasted bitterness from the first game. The team was still shaky in both offense and defense, leaving much to be desired.

Meanwhile, South Korea will play Brazil (No. 3) on Sunday in their second match of Week 1.

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