GS Caltex’s Kang So-hwi, ‘the strongest in the Cup’ Third ‘Cup MVP’ in three years

In her first tournament as captain this year
Crowned ‘Queen’ after leading team to sixth title

GS Caltex captain Kang So-hui was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Gumi Dodram Cup Women’s Division on Friday. This is the third time Kang has won the tournament’s MVP award for the women’s team, after winning it in 2017 and 2020.

GS Caltex’s Kang So-hwi, 26, was named the new captain of the team this year. She is the youngest captain of any of the seven women’s professional volleyball clubs. GS Caltex head coach Cha Sang-hyun (49), who has known Kang since her second year as a pro, said, “Being a captain gives you a sense of responsibility. It can be tough, but I believe he will do a good job,” he said. Kang So-hwi was crowned the “Cup Queen” after leading the team to the top in her first tournament as captain.

GS Caltex came from behind to win 3-1 (26-28, 25-23, 25-13, 25-21) in the women’s final of the 2023 Gumi Dodram Cup professional volleyball tournament against IBK IBK at Park Jung-hee Gymnasium in Gumi, Gyeongbuk, on May 5. GS Caltex, the most decorated team in the women’s competition, won its sixth Cup trophy. Outside hitter (left) Kang So-hwi, who also served as captain, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP), receiving 27 of 31 votes from the media. Kang scored a team-high 91 points (44.51% attack percentage) during the tournament. In the final, she scored 21 points, the second-most on the team behind Yoo Seo-yeon (22). Kang became the MVP of the Cup for the third time in a three-year cycle (2017, 2020), surpassing IBK’s Kim Hee-jin (twice) as the most decorated women’s player.

“It was so hard to play three days in a row (group stage and semifinals), but I’m really proud of the players for sticking it out,” Kang said, adding, “I’m not satisfied with this, and I’ll work harder to win MVP of the regular season and championship game.” GS Caltex, which reached the Cup final for the fourth consecutive year, finished fifth in the regular season last season and failed to qualify for the postseason for the first time in five seasons. The team will need Kang So-hwi to turn things around. Kang will be eligible for his second free agency after the season.

The celebration was short-lived. On June 6, Kang traveled to Jincheon Athletes’ Village in Chungcheongbuk-do for national team training. He is expected to be the team’s mainstay at the Asian Championships, which begin later this month, as well as the final qualifiers for the Paris Olympics in September and the Asian Games in Hangzhou. 한국야동 Kang shared the team lead in points (83) with Heungkuk Life’s Kim Da-eun in the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) in June and July.

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