The result was a three-point victory, but they were not satisfied with the process. Heungkuk Life, who finished the first round alongside leaders Suisun, has its work cut out for it.
Heungkuk Life, led by head coach Marcello Abondanza, earned three points in the first round of the Dodram 2023-2024 V-League Women’s Division with a 3-1 (26-24 25-15 25-19 28-26) set victory over IBK Enterprise Bank at 바카라사이트 Samsan World Gymnasium in Incheon on Thursday.
The team’s star player, Yelena Mrazenovic (registered name Yelena), was the top scorer with 19 points, while Kim Yeon-kyung and Kim Mi-yeon also lived up to the team’s expectations with 17 and 11 points, respectively. Also contributing to the victory was middle blocker Reina Tokoku (registered name Reina), who was once again converted to middle blocker after the previous match. “Veteran” Kim Soo-ji also made her presence felt with five points, including three blocks.
However, aside from having more service aces (9) than their opponents (3), there were a few things to be desired in the match, especially the ups and downs of the players, as Heungkuk Life recorded 32 errors on the day.
Heungkuk Life was on edge throughout the match. Things didn’t go well from the start. Heungkuk Life jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the first set before allowing their opponents to tie it up. At 24-24, a kill by Yelena and an error by Brittany Abercrombie (registered name Abercrombie) sealed the first set victory.
In the second set, the gap between the two teams widened early on as setters Lee Won-jung and Kim Da-sol faltered. Unsurprisingly, Heungkuk Life’s advantage was not utilized at all, as Yelena managed only three kills and Kim was limited to two.
Heungkuk Life won the third set and secured a point thanks to Yelena and Reina, but the fourth set was the problem. Both their offense and defense faltered, and at one point, down 16-21, it looked like IBK was going to take the match to a fifth set.
Wanting to end the match in the fourth set, Heungkuk Life turned the tide with five consecutive points, with Park Eun-seo, who was inserted as a one-point server, shaking up the opponent’s receiving line with her sharp serves. At 26-26, a kill by Kim Yeon-kyung and an error by Abe Crombie put an end to the intense match.
After the game, Coach Abondanza said, “Strangely enough, the players played well against GS Caltex on the 31st of last month, but they couldn’t maintain that performance in today’s game.” “I think we need to find a way to keep it consistent,” he said.
“I think we’ve got a little bit of a lapse in concentration from moment to moment,” Abondanza said. “I think it’s the ups and downs of being too calm or not being focused when things don’t go your way,” he said, adding, “I think it’s also (a lot of errors). It could be a technical thing, but basically I think it comes down to the toss and the concentration of the defense.”
It paid off, of course. Abondanza didn’t forget to mention Reina and Eunseo Park, two players who played a crucial role in the victory. “Reina definitely gave us a height difference when she came in, and I think her blocking at key moments was a big part of it,” he said. “Eunseo Park has actually been playing well since training, and we’ve been using her as a one-point server in the last few matches. When I looked back at the first round, I thought the substitutes did a good job in terms of tactics, and I knew she would do a good job in terms of mentality and attitude. I’m happy that I contributed to the victory.”
After finishing the first round with 5 wins and 1 loss (15 points), Heungkuk Life will take a break and start the second round with an away match against IBK on the 8th. Looking beyond spring volleyball, Abondanza said, “The ultimate goal is to go to the playoffs when the players are in the best shape and the team is in the best shape. We are always playing with that in mind,” he said.