Woori Card Triumvirate onslaught… Korean Air to take the lead

The men’s professional volleyball team Woori Card continued its lead over Korean Air, which is looking for its fourth consecutive title.

Woori Card defeated Korean Air 3-1 (24-26 25-23 25-23 25-22) at home in the third round of the 2023-2024 V-League Men’s Division at Jangchung Gymnasium in Seoul on Sunday, led by the ‘trio’ of Matei (25 points), Kim Ji-han (19 points-photo), and Han Sung-jung (11 points) under the steady hand of setter Han Tae-joon. With their third straight win, Woori Card further consolidated their lead at the top of the standings with 30 points (11-3).

Korean Air, on the other hand, slipped further away from the top of the standings with 25 points (8W5L), and the loss was particularly painful as they now have lost all three games against Woori Card this season.

Korean Air, which swept both the regular season and the championship from 2020-2021 to last season to win a combined three titles, has faltered early this season. Homegrown ace Jeong Ji-seok hadn’t stepped on the court before this game due to a back injury, and middle blocker Kim Min-jae had only appeared in one game due to an ankle injury.

While Jeong Ji-seok made his return to action and Kim Min-jae was also on the court, Lincoln Williams (AUS), the apogee spiker who was supposed to be the main gun, was ruled out of the lineup after suffering a back injury during team training. In Lincoln’s place, Lim Dong-hyuk contributed 29 points, but he was not able to provide much of a boost as Jung Ji-seok, who made his comeback game, was also not 100% fit.

Woori Card’s offense was spearheaded by second-year setter Han Tae-joon, who showed no signs of being intimidated by playing against the best setter in the game, Han, who is 19 years older. Han utilized the left and right wings, but also made good use of the unexpected center spikes. The Woori Card middle blockers of Lee Sang-hyun, Park Jin-woo, and Otake Issei (JPN) combined for 14 offensive points. Thanks to Han Tae-joon actively shaking up the Korean Air blockers, Woori Card won the blocking battle 11-7. This was the key to Woori Card’s success in the match, despite being outshot 51.66%-53.27%.

In the women’s match in Suwon, Hyundai E&C defeated Road Corporation 3-1 (25-19 17-25 25-17 25-16).


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