BRILLIANT KIM GUIDES CONFIDENT KOREA TO RARE WIN OVER RUSSIA
Suwon, South Korea, May 23, 2018 – Another standout performance from Kim Yeon Koung guided Korea to a rare triumph over Russia as the hosts notched their fourth straight victory of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League on Wednesday.
The inspirational captain was at her brilliant best throughout the Pool 6 encounter, particularly during the tense third set, as she led Korea to a convincing 3-0 (25-19, 25-14, 25-17) win to provide plenty of cheer for the local fans.
Kim scored 10 of her 21 points in the third stanza meaning she has mustered 50 points in the second phase. She was well supported by Kim Su Ji (4 blocks) and Jaeyeong Lee (9 spikes) as Korea overpowered their world number 5 opponents.
Russia were paced by Irina Fetisova’s 12 points but they had a number of players struggle, including star Irina Voronkova and captain Kseniia Parubets who combined for just 12 points.
In the 50th match between the teams, the contest loomed as a blockbuster with home strong Korea coming in with a trio of victories, while Russia’s sole defeat was to in-form Netherlands in the first phase.
Russia had long been a hoodoo team for Korea winning 43 of the previous 49 encounters, including three straight over the past four years, but were outclassed by the 2014 Asian Games champions who have now stretched their unbeaten run at the Suwon Indoor Gymnasium to eight matches.
Russia made a spectacular start with the powerful Voronkova continuing on from her starring role against Italy on Tuesday with an emphatic spike to immediately silence the energetic crowd.
Perhaps due to the swirl of anticipation in the stadium, both teams started nervously with the play marred by a slew of errors in the early going.
Soon enough, the vaunted teams started to find their range with a deft touch from Voronkova juxtaposed by a thunderous spike from the high-flying Jeongah Park as the hosts rattled off a quick five points to open up a handy buffer much to the delight of their ardent fans.
Middle blocker Su Ji was impregnable at the net with a couple of early kill blocks as Korea started to take control of the contest but Russia remained in touch due to the efforts of Parubets, who showcased a masterclass in precision with one notable spike.
Undoubtedly fuelled by the support in the stands, an attacking Korea rattled their opponents through a lethal combination of power and dogged defence. Kim stretched the margin to a sizeable six points with a perfect put away down the line and, soon enough, Korea – despite the best efforts of the explosive Voronkova – closed out the first set in 31 minutes.
After a quiet start, middle blocker Ekaterina Efimova tried to rally her team with a couple of spikes to open the second set but Korea regained control with starring efforts from the leaping Lee and Kim, whose jump serve menaced as the hosts enjoyed a commanding 12-3 lead.
Just when Russia appeared to be struggling, Fetisova lifted her output and helped trim the deficit as the match tightened but several errors from the visitors proved costly. Threatened by a Russian charge, Korea rediscovered their blistering best capped off by a sizzling 86 kph ace from Sohwi Kang, whose mesmerising serve was proving a handful, as the hosts powered to an invaluable two-set lead.
Ensuring they maintained a stranglehold of the contest, Kim dominated through a slew of decisive blocks to deny the visitors. Russia gamely tried to engineer a comeback but were unable to pierce a gutsy Korea, who were hustling and diving with great vigour. The rallies intensified with Kim’s deft touch capping off a pulsating 26-second rally to give Korea a 13-9 lead as the spectators jumped to their feet.
Korea had all the answers and eventually wrapped up the comprehensive victory through a stellar serve from Lee Hyo Hee to spark a wave of euphoria from the capacity crowd.
The teams will round out the second phase on Thursday with Russia taking on a slumping Germany and Korea playing a rejuvenated Italy.
Korea Head Coach Cha Haewon said: “Our players concentrated well on this game. The blocking height of the Russia team is always tough. However, I request the players not to think about their blocking and to do our plays as always. Our service and attack were satisfactory. The atmosphere among the players is getting better and team spirit is better than ever.”
Korea captain Kim Yeon Koung said: “It was easier than we thought – the Russian players made many mistakes. The rhythm of our play was better than yesterday. Serves and reception were done as we planned. We will continue in this way for the rest of the competition.”
Russia coach Vadim Pankov said: “Our most important mistake was we didn’t have strong wing spikes from the left side and opposite side. Our spikers didn’t made good points, so we could not expect a great result in this match. Our serves were our strongest point, but we missed a lot today. Also the blocking was a really important element but today it was not satisfactory. We will look through today’s match and will prepare for the next match tomorrow.”
Russia captain Parubets Kseniia said: “We played worse in all the key elements of volleyball. We didn’t play to our plan for this match. We will try and find what was wrong in today’s match and prepare for the next
Related links of AVC
AVC Website: click www.asianvolleyball.net
AVC Facebook: click www.Facebook.com/AsianVolleyballConfederation
AVC Twitter: click: https://twitter.com/avcvolley
AVC Instagram: click: https://www.instagram.com/avcvolley/?hl=en
AVC Youtube: click: Asian Volleyball Confederation