KIM INSPIRES KOREA TO DAZZLE HOME FANS
Suwon, South Korea, May 22, 2018,- Kim Yeon Koung showcased her impeccable leadership to inspire Korea to a thrilling comeback victory over Germany on Tuesday in front of a delighted home crowd.
Kim dominated in all areas to ensure the hosts recovered from a slow start to overcome a gritty Germany in a 3-1 (23-25, 26-24, 25-16, 25-16) win to start the second phase of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League in style.
With a game-high 29 points, Kim was the standout but she was well supported by Jeongah Park (13 points) and Jaeyeong Lee (12 points). Dynamic duo Louisa Lippmann and Maren Fromm combined for 33 points to lead Germany.
The result continued Korea’s dominance over Germany stretching four games during the last six years.
In front of a loud and capacity crowd at the Suwon Indoor Gymnasium, the Pool 6 encounter followed a familiar trend between the teams with Korea now having beaten Germany four straight times despite losing the first set on each occasion.
Fresh off their major upset of China to cap off the first phase, Korea has won three straight while Germany has slumped to three consecutive losses after shocking Brazil to memorably open the VNL.
Unbeaten at world level in Suwon and fuelled by a boisterous crowd, Korea came out strong with explosive attack but the gritty Germans repelled the constant waves with dogged defence to quiet the energetic fans.
Middle blocker Marie Scholzel was terrific in the early going as Germany stormed out to a 16-11 lead punctuated by several imposing kills by Lippmann.
Perhaps starting too energised amid the cauldron, a rash Korea endured numerous errors but eventually rediscovered their noted high-octane game with Kim inspiring a fightback.
However, Germany kept their noses in front and despite some hiccups, including when Scholzel faltered on serve with the visitors ahead 22-18, they wrapped up a 31-minute first set to stun the crowd.
Middle blocker Lisa Grunding emphatically denied a spike attempt to showcase her renowned blocking ability as Germany made the ideal start to the second set and soon led 6-2 as the ardent local fans started to get nervous.
The feisty German defence blunted Korea but Kim gamely rallied a comeback, which seemed to inspire her team and spark the crowd.
But Germany kept responding with Scholzel providing a highlight reel with an imperious spike to give her team a 14-9 advantage as the visitors continued to defy their fancied opponents.
Attempting to avoid a major hole, Korea once again rallied through Kim, who served calmly and was seemingly everywhere, and a spectacular spike from wing spiker Lee brought the fans to their feet and trimmed the margin to two points.
It was bedlam shortly after when a high-flying Kim produced her 10th spike to give Korea the lead and momentum.
However, Germany would not be overawed as Fromm produced a spectacular spike to even the scores at 21 as the pulsating second set reached a crescendo with the teams trading points.
Germany demonstrated composure to save two set points but Lippmann missed a spike and, quite fittingly, Kim closed out the 39-minute second set with a brilliant backcourt spike to level the contest.
Korea’s momentum continued in the third set with Hyo Jin Yang producing several kill blocks to stifle Germany, who appeared to be buckling under the tidal wave before clutch serving from Scholzel reduced the margin to just five points.
Soon enough, the 2014 Asian Games champions reground and wrapped up the stanza to take firm control of the contest.
There was no respite from Kim who continued to dazzle with spikes and blocks to deflate Germany in the fourth set.
Germany kept fighting but they were continually halted by Kim and Lee, who was dazzling the fans with her aerial prowess. The crowd erupted in euphoria when Korea eventually wrapped up victory to continue their long held dominance at home.
Both teams will be back in action on Wednesday with Korea playing a confident Russia, while Germany take on winless Italy.
Korea coach Cha Haewon said: “The first set was similar to the match with Belgium. Our players tend to think too much during the first set, so I told them to only focus on our play. After the second set, our service and reception were quite satisfying. When a player was suffering, we solved the situation by proper substitution. As the captain said, a lot of support from our fans helped us to win.”
Korea captain Kim Yeon Koung said: “The first set was difficult and we lost our flow. However, from the second set onwards we regained our rhythm. We could fight well because of the cheering from the crowd.”
Germany coach Felix Koslowski said: “First of all congratulations for today’s victory Korea team! As my captain said, for the first and second set I think my team did very well, blocking, defence and attacking were really good. Service was very good, but then in the middle of the third set we lost our rhythm. We missed our service and reception. We also think the Korea team has a lot of experience together in international competition, and we feel that we missed that kind of experience. We will work consistently on this matter.”
Germany captain Fromm Maren said: “I think before the middle of the third set we played really well. We had a good chance to fight against Korea and then it got more difficult to find solutions. Because of the solid defence and blocking from Korea, they adapted really well to our strategy. And we had a hard time finding other solutions. Unfortunately from there we lost our way from a point of view of strategy.”