Kim Yeonkyung and Park Jung-ah face-to-face-to-face. Gimcheon-do’s 5,000 seats on weekdays are about to be sold out
This season, a big match will be held to determine the top of the V-League women’s volleyball. It is even more interesting to see that it is a showdown between Kim Yeonkyung and Park Jung-ah, former and current captains of the women’s volleyball team.
At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, the 22nd, the second showdown between the Korea Expressway Corporation and Heungkuk Life Insurance will be held at Gimcheon Indoor Gymnasium, the home stadium of the Korea Expressway Corporation. The first showdown was held at Samsan World Gymnasium in Incheon, the home stadium of Heungkuk Life Insurance, on the 13th. Heungkuk Life won 3-2 in a set score after a fierce battle between the two teams.
However, the game on the 22nd has a very important meaning. This is because the top-ranked game of this season could change significantly depending on the results of this game.
Looking at the ranking table of the women’s division in the V League as of the 21st, Hyundai Engineering & Construction (8 wins, 23 points) and Heungkuk Life Insurance (6 wins, 1 loss, 17 points) are leading the lead. The most impressive sight is that Heungkuk Life Insurance has risen from the bottom sixth place last season to the second place this season with the joining of Kim Yeonkyung.
Four teams are then fiercely fighting for the middle ranks with Korea Expressway Corporation (4 wins, 3 losses, 12 points), GS Caltex (3 wins, 4 losses, 10 points), KGC Ginseng Corporation (3 wins, 4 losses, 8 points), and IBK Industrial Bank (2 wins, 6 losses, 7 points). Pepper Savings Bank, ranked seventh, has lost all eight games (one point) in a row.
Meanwhile, if Heungkuk Life wins within 3-1 of the set score in the match on the 22nd, there is only three points difference from No. 1 Hyundai Engineering & Construction. On the other hand, Korea Expressway Corporation, which ranks third, has a big gap of eight points. This means that the lead could flow to a two-way system between Hyundai Engineering & Construction and Heungkuk Life Insurance.
Meanwhile, if the Korea Expressway Corporation wins within 3-1, the gap between Heungkuk Life Insurance and Seungchum, ranked second, will be narrowed to two points. The score will be 5 points against GS Caltex, which is ranked 4th. The lead could be reorganized into a three-tier system of Hyundai Engineering & Construction, Heungkuk Life Insurance, and Korea Expressway Corporation.
The captain of the national team who relied the most… “Now it’s time to wear red clothes.”
Another eye-catching point is the meeting between Heungkuk Life Insurance’s Kim Yeon-kyung (34, 192cm) and Korea Expressway Corporation’s Park Jung-ah (29, 187cm). Kim Yeonkyung was the captain of the Korean women’s volleyball team until the Tokyo Olympics last year. Park Jung-ah has been captain of the national team since Kim Yeon-kyung’s retirement.
South Korea’s women’s volleyball team created the best golden age in history, with Kim Yeon-kyung serving as a key pillar of the national team. He competed at the 2012 London Olympics, the 2016 Rio Olympics and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics three times in a row, and achieved the semi-finals twice in this short period. In particular, Kim Yeon-kyung ranked fourth in the London Olympics, but stood tall as the world’s best striker when she was selected as the MVP of the tournament.
However, Korean women’s volleyball is now facing a crisis after Kim Yeon-kyung’s retirement from the national team. In fact, the absence of a complete striker with the world’s best skills in all aspects, including offense, defense, serve, and leadership, was larger than expected. To make matters worse, other key players, Yang Hyo-jin (33, 190cm) and Kim Soo-ji (35, 188cm), have all retired from the national team.
Against this backdrop, Park Jung-ah has been silently playing her role as the captain of the national team since this year, leading the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) and the World Championships. When the national team repeatedly lost consecutive international competitions, it took on a greater burden and responsibility than anyone else, and it was hurt that much.
Despite such trials, Park Jung-ah showed a level of growth in her skills compared to last year. In particular, it is evaluated that the attack power and angle have been upgraded.
After the opening of the V League, Park Jung-ah had to miss the first two games in order to treat herpes zoster and recover her physical strength. And he started playing in the team’s third game on October 30. In the beginning, he had a hard time because his performance did not come out, but as the game continued, he showed his performance on the national team quickly.
In the game against IBK Industrial Bank on the 17th, the most recent game, he scored 33 points, the largest score in both teams, leading the team to victory. Even when winning against KGC Ginseng Corporation on the 3rd, Park Jung-ah scored the most points in the team with 18 points.
In the end, the Korea Expressway Corporation can win only with Park Jung-ah’s strong performance. This is because Katarina (23, 191cm), a foreign player, has yet to show her power.
On the other hand, Park Jung-ah was more dependent than anyone else, communicating with Kim Yeon-kyung whenever she had a hard time as the national team captain this year. However, now we have to play an inevitable game with the court in between. In addition, the second showdown is more expected because of the recent good performance.