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‘ABSOLUTE NO. 1’ KOREAN AIR DEFEATS WOORI CARD FOR FIRST WIN IN PRO VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT

Men’s professional volleyball’s “absolute No. 1” Korean Air got off to a strong start at the 2023 Gumi Dodram Cup as it looks to win its second straight title .Korean Air swept Woori Card 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-19) in straight sets in the first match of the men’s Group A of the tournament, which kicked off on Saturday at the Park Jung-hee Gymnasium in Gumi, Gyeongbuk. Korean Air rode the momentum of winning the Suncheon Cup in August last year to sweep the regular season and championship tournament, starting a dynasty by winning the combined regular season and championship for the second time in three years. Korean Air sent five of its players, including Geo Jeong-seok and Lim Dong-hyuk, to the squad that will compete in the Asian Men’s Volleyball Championship, which kicks off on April 19, but the Korean Air team used its depth and creative volleyball to defeat the fully-staffed Woori Card. Third-year outside hitter Lee Jun led the offense with 18 kills, while libero Kwak Seung-seok added 12.Korean Air won the tense first set 21-20 on a daring double-open by Lee, followed by two more points on an end-of-court ace by Kwak Seung-seok. In the second set, Woori Card turned the tide of the match with back-to-back points after being tied at 14-15 thanks to a back-attack line violation by Lee Kang-won. At 21-19, Woori won the second set with one point thanks to a positional fault (a player leaving the designated position when serving).In the third set, Korean Air tied the score at 14-14 after two consecutive attack errors, including a touch net by Song Myung-geun of Woori Card, and then scored four straight points on consecutive blocks by Kwak Seung-seok and Cho Jae-young, a back-attack by Lee Jun, and an interception by Jeong Jin-wi to take a 21-17 lead and end the match in 1 hour and 32 스포츠토토링크 minutes .Song Myung-geun, who came to Woori Card from OK Financial Group in the offseason in a trade for Song Hee-chae, scored 12 points but also committed eight errors.In the other Group A match, OK Financial Group swept KB Insurance 3-0 (25-17 25-22 25-11).Japanese international Masashi Ogino, the third foreign head coach in men’s professional volleyball, took the helm of OK Financial Group this season and secured a comfortable win in his debut .At 22-22 in the decisive second set, OK Financial Group scored three points on a Hwang Kyung-min serve error, a Kim Hae-min back-attack error, and an open attack error by Bae Sang-jin to book the win .Playing ‘total volleyball’ where everyone participated in the offense, OK Financial Group went on a 16-6 run in the middle of the third set, when KB’s offensive organization completely collapsed, to decide the match. OK Financial Group scored five blocking points in the third set alone to break KB Sonbo’s spirit .Led by Chae-hwan (16 points with six blocks) and Jeon Byung-sun (13 points), OK Financial Group’s offense boasted an attack success rate nearly 30 percentage points higher than KB Sonbo’s. On July 7, the first game of Group B will continue with Hyundai Capital, Japanese League invitee Panasonic, KEPCO, and Samsung Fire.

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