The floundering women’s national volleyball team (ranked 35th in the world) lost a close match against underdog Vietnam (47th).
The team led by head coach Cesar Gonzalez lost the match 2-3 (25-22 25-19 23-25 17-25 13-15) in a full-set thriller against Vietnam in the first match of Group C of the 2023 Asian Volleyball Championship Qualifiers in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand on Tuesday.
With the loss, Korea is no longer guaranteed a spot in the quarterfinals.
South Korea battled hard against Vietnam in every set.
Korea tied the game at 20-21 in the first set with a touchout attack by Kang So-hwi (GS Caltex) and a block by middle blocker Lee Ju-ah (Heungkuk Life).
Korea conceded a 22-22 tie, but rallied to regain the lead with a touchout attack by Kang So-hwi, and ended the first set with back-to-back errors by their opponents.
The second set was taken by the Vietnamese, who capitalized on a shaky start.
Korea took the lead at 20-18 with a hard hit by Kang So-hwi, a touchout attack by Lee Han-bi (Pepper Savings Bank), and a service ace by Lee Ju-ah, followed by an opponent error to take the set 2-0.
The tide turned in the third set. Korea, who looked like they were going to win easily, started to fall apart in the third set. The players were unmotivated and their concentration was noticeably low.
At 21-22, Lee Han-bi’s attack was blocked by the opponent’s blocking, and the team was still down by two points and could not finish the match.
After dropping the third set, Korea played their worst game in the fourth set.
They made a lot of visible attacks, but were blocked by the opponent’s blocking wall, and committed error after error.
Lee Da-hyun (Hyundai E&C) had back-to-back blocks at 15-18, followed by Lee Sun-woo (KGC Ginseng) at 16-20 and Lee Seon-woo (KGC Ginseng) at 17-22.
After falling behind in the fourth set, Korea was unable to turn the tide in the fifth set.
At 12-14, Park Jung-ah (Pepper Savings Bank) attacked, but they were unable to stop the opponent’s late attack and lost.
Korea was placed in Group C with Vietnam, Chinese Taipei and Uzbekistan, and the top two finishers will play the top two teams from Group A – Thailand, Australia and Mongolia – in the quarterfinal round.
After a shocking result in their first match, Korea will try to get their first win of the tournament against Chinese Taipei on Nov. 31. 토토