The South Korean women’s volleyball team (40th in the FIVB ranking), led by Cesar Hernandez Gonzalez, lost to Vietnam (39th) in the first Group C match of the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games at the Changchen Campus Gymnasium of Hangzhou Education University in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, at 10:30 a.m. on the 1st (local time) by a set score of 2-3 (25-16, 25-22, 22-25, 22-25, 11-15) in the first Group C qualifying match.

Another shocking defeat. South Korea lost to Vietnam in the preliminary round of the 2023 Asian Volleyball Federation (AVC) Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship in Thailand in August. At that time, he brought the first and second sets first and then collapsed by dropping the third, fourth and fifth sets.

It was the same day. He started off in a good mood by bringing the first and second sets, but gave up the third, fourth and fifth sets and bowed his head.

KBS commentator Yoon Bong-woo, who broadcasted the game locally with Kim Yeon-kyung (Heungguk Life), said, “There were many mistakes at the decisive moment. He also said, “I gave up the score too easily to the opponent.”

In Korea, five players scored double-digit points on the day. Kang So-hwi (GS Caltex) scored the most 23 points in the team. The attack success rate reached 60 percent. Captain Park Jung-ah (Pepper Savings Bank) also scored 18 points, Lee Da-hyun (Hyundai Engineering & Construction) 13 points, and Lee Sun-woo and Jung Ho-young (hereinafter Jeong Kwan-jang) scored 11 points and 10 points, respectively.

Everyone knows the importance of the game in all competitions, even if they don’t emphasize it. The players were also more determined than ever to win against Vietnam.

Cesar said, “The first game is important. You have to beat Vietnam to increase your chances of reaching the semifinals. Otherwise, even if you go to the semifinals, you will be more likely to meet China,” he said. “The players have already experienced the importance of the first match at the Asian Championships. I know how important it is to win the match against Vietnam,” he said.

Park Jung-ah also said, “I think the match against Vietnam is the most important game. We didn’t do well at the Asian Championships. I’m preparing a lot for the Vietnam match and watching a lot of videos. I think we need to do well to lead to good results,” he said.

But coming back was a defeat. Vietnam gained momentum by blocking South Korea at every decisive moment. Vietnam played Nepal at 2:30 p.m. the previous day. The game ended in 56 minutes, but he played against Korea without resting for even 24 hours. And yet they were strong. Scored every time it mattered. It confirmed its advance to the quarterfinals as the top team in the group.

On the other hand, even if South Korea goes to the quarterfinals with a loss on the day, it has to play with one loss. China and North Korea, both of which are likely to come up from Group A, are not easy players. It could be difficult to advance to the semifinals that we aimed for.

In another shock defeat, the players could not raise their heads. Lee Da-hyun left the stadium with her head down, and Lee Da-hyun shed tears.

Lee Da-hyun, who cried for a long time, said, “At the Asian Championships, I kept losing like this. I hoped it wouldn’t happen again, but it didn’t work out from the third set. It was also regrettable that the mistake came out when it was important,” he said.

South Korea will play against Nepal in the second round of the preliminary round on the 2nd. It is necessary to prepare an opportunity to turn the mood around by winning the weak match against Nepal.


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