Manila, Philippines, August 11, 2017 – Just when the Koreans looked in trouble, head coach Hong Sungjin pulled the most reliable trick from his hat, sending in ace spiker Kim Yeon-koung halfway through the fourth set to shut the door on gritty Vietnam 25-23, 25-19, 17-25, 25-22 Friday at the SMM 19th Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship.
While Metro Manila was being rocked by a 6.1 magnitude earthquake, Kim sent the crowd inside the Alonte Sports Arena cheering as she provided quality minutes with 5 markers in a little more than 10 minutes inside the court.
This, after all, was exactly what Korea needed to match and stop Vietnam’s Tran Thi Thanh Thuy, who uncorked 25 points off 22 kills, 2 aces and a block.
“I already saw her play maybe 2 or 3 years ago. She is so much better now but I think she can even be better. I hope she continues to improve her game,” Kim said, talking about the emerging star from Vietnam, Thanh Thuy.
Yang Hyojin, Kim Suji, Kim Heejin and Park Jeongahall scored in double digits to combine for a total of 49 points but their output was not enough as Kim, the team captain, believed what her team lacked in the latter half of the match was something intangible.
“I think we played well in the first two sets. Then in the third set we had a problem. We didn’t have a leader. But still we won so that’s good,” said Korea’s top spiker.
But even though the match was a close call for the Koreans, the coach shared Kim starting in the quarter-finals is still to be determined.
“It depends on the situation,” closed Hong Sungjin.
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