SK Sugar Gliders defeat Gyeongnam Development Corporation to take sole possession of first place with their fourth straight win.
SK Sugar Gliders defeated Gyeongnam Development Corporation 35-30 in the first round of the Shinhan SOL Pay 23-24 Handball H League Women’s Division at Gwangmyeong Citizens’ Gymnasium in Gwangmyeong, Gyeonggi-do, on Nov. 11.
SK Sugar Gliders widened the gap to four wins and eight points, while Gyeongnam Development Corporation suffered its first loss after two wins and remained in third place with four points.
The game was offense versus offense throughout. Both teams scored over 30 points on offense.
From the beginning of the first half, it was all SK Sugar Gliders. They jumped out to an 8-2 lead as Gyeongnam Development Corporation’s defense faltered. Gyeongnam Development Corporation was unable to break through the SK Sugar Gliders’ defense and scored poorly.
With Gyeongnam Development Corporation’s ace Lee Yeon-kyung out due to an ankle injury sustained in the previous game, the team was left without a player to lead the offense.
Gyeongnam Development Corporation head coach Kim Hyun-chang used the time to order his players to “move together, don’t play defense and attack alone,” and their movements became faster.
As the central defense settled down, Gyeongnam Development Corporation got into the flow and pulled within 10-8. However, SK Sugar Gliders’ pivot Kang Eun-hye and Lee Hyun-joo’s mid-range shots made it 16-11.
However, SK Sugar Gliders’ Yoo So-jung was sent off for two minutes, allowing Gyeongnam Development Corporation to capitalize on their numerical advantage and pull within 16-14, eventually ending the first half with SK Sugar Gliders leading 17-14.
At the beginning of the second half, SK Sugar Gliders went back and forth, but Gyeongnam Development Corporation scored back-to-back goals to make it 18-17. The teams exchanged goals until the last 10 minutes.
The breakthrough for SK Sugar Gliders came from Kang Kyung-min. She scored four goals in a row to give SK Sugar Gliders a 27-21 lead as she scored her 900th career goal.
After a series of saves by Gyeongnam Development Corporation goalkeeper Osara, the score was 30-26, but mistakes pushed the lead back to seven points at 34-27. In the end, the SK Sugar Gliders, who utilized the entire court and played aggressively, won 35-30.
The SK Sugar Gliders were led offensively by Kang Kyung-min with 13 points, Kang Eun-hye with six points, and Yoo So-jung with five points, while Lee Min-ji made eight saves in goal.
Gyeongnam Development Corporation was led by Choi Ji-hye with eight goals and Heo Yoo-jin with seven goals, the latter of which gave her 13th career goal and 700th career point. Goalkeeper Osara made nine saves.
“My teammates told me to be bolder with my play, so I did, and it led to more chances and a better overall offense,” said Kang Kyung-min of SK Sugar Gliders, who was named MVP with 13 goals.