Three straight losses to Hyundai E&C…Cha Sang-hyun says

“I’m satisfied with the game, and the extra point is meaningful”

Women’s professional volleyball team GS Caltex put up a good fight, but fell short of upsetting the No. 1 team.

GS Caltex lost its fourth round away match against Hyundai E&C in the 2023-24 Dodram V League Women’s Division with a set score of 2-3 (28-30, 25-21, 16-25, 25-17, 17-19) at Suwon Indoor Gymnasium on Tuesday. The team fought back from a 1-3 set deficit to take the match to a full set, with foreign players Gisele Silva and Kang So-hwi doing their part on the outside, and the middle blocker line of Kwon Min-ji, Han Soo-ji, and Se-yeon supporting Aloran-like scoring from the center. However, they were unable to stop their opponent’s outside hitter Yang Hyo-jin in the fifth set.

GS Caltex entered the fourth match of the day with two straight losses after a win against Hyundai E&C. They were unable to break the losing streak. They lost for the ninth time this season (13 wins). The only consolation was that it added one point to extend its lead over fourth-place IBK to six points.

GS Caltex lost a close first set deuce. At 20-23, Silva scored, and Choi Eun-ji slammed the ball over the net as the opponent’s reception faltered to pull within one point at 22-23. Han Soo-ji tied the match at 23-23 when she blocked an open attack from Jung Jeong-yoon, and Choi Eun-ji took the first set point at 24-23 with a diagonal open attack. However, she then dropped her serve and was unable to hold off foreign players Wipawi Sithong and Moma Basoko, allowing them to break back. At 27-27 and 29-28, she conceded an open attack to Yang Hyo-jin to keep the match close.

The second set was just as close. GS Caltex was the first to take the lead. At 14-15, Silva scored on a back-attack, their opponent committed an error, Silva and Choi Eun-ji scored, and Kim Ji-won blocked to make it 19-15. However, they gave up the next four points to tie the game again. In this situation, net control was key. Han Su-ji hit the ball right over the net to reach the 20-point mark for the first time, and Yang Hyo-jin’s attack was blocked by Kwon Min-ji to cut the lead to two points. At 21-21 and 22-21, Kang So-hwi scored back-to-back points. Kwon Min-ji again blocked Moma’s attack to set up set point, and her opponent’s unforced error gave her 25th point to level the match.

The third set, which dragged on for most of the way as they couldn’t overcome their opponent’s height, was a complete loss. However, GS Caltex managed to push the match to a fifth set. At 6-4 in the fourth set, after a long rally, Silva scored a point with a back attack, and on the ensuing point, the bench’s video replay request caught the opponent’s defense failure. At 8-4, Han Su-ji scored on a fast break to extend the lead to five points. The lead remained at four or five points until, at 17-12, Kang So-hwi scored a kill and back-to-back defensive errors pushed the lead to eight points. At 23-16, Silva intercepted Weepawi’s open attack to create a set point, which Kwon Min-ji filled for her 25th point.

It was a full-set match. After Yang Hyo-jin scored the first two points for GS Caltex, Silva and Yoo Seo-yeon attacked the flanks to tie the score at 3-3. In the ensuing situation, the team was unable to stop Jeong Ji-yoon’s attack, and their reception was shaken by Moma’s strong serve, allowing Kim Dain to attack directly open.

They didn’t fall behind. At 4-6, the opponent’s blocker Wipawi was lucky to commit a net touch error to catch up, and the opponent’s attack error followed to tie the game. In the ensuing situation, Kang So-hwi made an open attack to take the lead, and Wipawi’s open attack was blocked by Oh Se-yeon to turn the tide.

An offensive battle ensued. There were several ties. GS Caltex countered with Silva’s scoring prowess, while Hyundai E&C dominated at the net with Yang Hyo-jin.

At 12-12, GS Caltex took advantage of Yoo Seo-yeon’s setter, Kim Ji-won, to break through and score a point. 13-12, one-point lead. At 13-13, GS Caltex utilized Oh Seo-yeon to break the opponent’s flanking defense.

At 14-14, Osuyeon’s open attack was blocked by Yang Hyojin, but Silva broke through the blocker to tie the game again. Yang Hyo-jin again had an open attack, but this time Kang So-hwi made a diagonal open attack. Suwon Indoor Gymnasium came alive.

However, they couldn’t get over the final hurdle. At 17-17, Silva’s diagonal open attack was blocked by Lee Da-hyun. The team was close to pulling off the upset, but ultimately lost.

After the game, GS Caltex head coach Cha Sang-hyun said, “I’m disappointed with the result, but I’m satisfied with the content. Kwon Min-ji played well as a center after a long time. It was important for us to secure the points. It is meaningful that we added one (in the fifth set).”


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