South Korean women’s volleyball loses 1-3 to world No. 7 Poland…but the importance of stellar defense

The Korean women’s volleyball team started the Paris 2024 Olympic Games with two straight losses, but rallied to take the second match in straight sets.

Head coach Cesar Hernández González’s men’s volleyball team fell 1-3 (22-25, 26-24, 21-25, 9-25) to Stefano Labarini’s Poland (ranked seventh in the world) in the second match of the Paris 2024 Olympic Qualification Pool C on Monday (Aug. 18) in Łódź, Poland.

Korea, ranked 36th in the world, went into the match with concerns after a 0-3 setback against Italy (ranked 5th) in their first match, but this time they played a solid defense and managed to salvage a set.

Korea was led by Kang So-hwi (GS Caltex) with 16 points, Pyo Seung-ju (IBK) with 15 points, and Lee Ju-ah (Heungkuk Life) with nine points. Lee Ju-ah and Jung Ho-young each had three blocks.

Despite being out-blocked 8-22, they managed to narrow the gap to 46-52 in attack points and evened up the serve points at 3-4.

In the first set, the score was briefly tied at seven points, but Korea’s focus was renewed in the second. Focusing on their defense, Korea kept Poland close and tied the game at 22-24. However, they failed to turn the tide.

However, with the focus they gained in the first set, Korea put on an exciting performance in the second set. In particular, Moon Jung-won’s digs and effective blocking from the middle led to a relentless pursuit that broke the opponent’s spirit. In the early stages of the second set, the Koreans were evenly matched with Poland, tying the score at 14-14.

Poland then took a 17-14 lead with a spike from Stasiak, but Korea kept the match close with effective blocking from Jung Ho-young and Lee Ju-ah, mobile attacking, and good attack coverage. Poland went first on match point, but Korea fought back to make it a 24-24 deuce before Pyo Seung-joo’s kill clinched the set.

In the third set, Korea evened the score early on. Pyo Seung-joo once again tied the score at 5-5. The Koreans briefly took the lead, but their offensive avenues were gradually blocked and Poland regained the momentum. Korea reached the 20-point mark but couldn’t turn the tide and eventually lost the third set to Poland 21-25.

In the fourth set, they lost their concentration and lost the match by a large margin, 9-25, and suffered their second straight loss.

스포츠토토 The result was another loss, but looking back at the best part of the second set, we can see that the transition from effective blocking to attack cover played a big role. South Korea’s persistence in bringing the ball up led to mistakes on the Polish court. It was also important to shake up Stasiak’s attack to force an out-of-bounds error. However, the team seemed to lose focus towards the end of the match, and the shortness and lack of power of the toss proved to be a worrying factor.

South Korea will next face Germany (12th) on Nov. 19 in the third round of pool play.

Korea is in Pool C of the qualifiers with Italy, Germany, Poland, USA, Colombia, Thailand, and Slovenia and needs to finish second out of eight teams to qualify for the Olympic Games.