The Korean women’s volleyball team battled back and forth in a tightly contested set against powerhouse Poland, but fell short.
The South Korean women’s volleyball team, led by head coach Cesar Hernandez, fell 1-3 (22-25, 26-24, 21-25, 9-25) to Poland (ranked seventh in the world) on their home court in a Group C match at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games Final Qualification Tournament at the Atlas Arena in Łódź, Poland on Monday (June 18).
After a close first set, Korea came from behind to win the second set and took the lead in the middle of the third set, but ultimately fell victim to their opponents’ height.
Despite losing the match, South Korea played well against a powerhouse with height and power. It was also the first time they were able to win a set against a world-class team and draw closer to victory.
After the match, Coach Cesar said, “It’s a big win for us because we were in a close match against Poland from the first set to the third set. We have been training to play at this level. I think we need to keep being competitive like we were today. I think the players showed that today, and I could see it. We lost, but it was a good game.”
In the match, South Korea’s substitution of Pyo Seung-ju for Moon Jung-won paid off. In the middle of the third set, it was all Korea. Coach Cesar commented on this, saying, “We were able to be greedy in the third set. Personally, I was more disappointed with the first set. I didn’t block two or three points and missed the chance to take the set,” he said.
“It’s true that I was greedy to win. My catch was good, and I would have liked to have been able to use the fastball later in the set, but my reception percentage dropped a little bit in the second set. It’s something we need to work on because we didn’t win the set because we weren’t involved in fastballs.”
While the previous day’s match against Italy was characterized by a lot of unforced errors and unsuccessful attacks, today’s match was impressive in terms of serving. Strong serves were also used efficiently. “In our video meeting, I emphasized that No. 30 (Rozanski) was having trouble catching her serve,” Cesar said. Also, No. 11 (Lukasik) is a fast attacker. To counteract that, I switched him to a target depending on the situation. Both of these things worked well. I was happy as a coach. The players did a good job,” he said.
On Moon Jung-won’s use of an apogee spiker, Cesar said, “I was happy with the way we played today. In preparation for this tournament, we have been training Moon Jung-won and Kwon Min-ji with apogee since the Asian Championships. We are trying to maximize the combination and effectiveness of the two situations. Now that Lee Sun-woo has joined the team, we will also consider Lee Sun-woo’s apogee cards. The Korean professional team doesn’t have many specialized apogee spikers among its players. This is something the national team needs to think about. Moon Jung-won’s performance is important in this situation. The fact that we had four middle blockers at the Asian Games was due to her role.”
Later in the third set of the match, Cesar made a strong appeal when a Korean point was disallowed after a ball from the opponent’s court touched the ceiling of the gymnasium. He filed a challenge, but when the decision was delayed, he threw down the game board and made a strong protest. It was the harshest protest in an official game since he took charge of the Korean national team 먹튀검증.
In response, Cesar said, “I can accept if the opponent is good and beats us. But it’s unacceptable for them to do it by cheating. That’s why I made a strong appeal. I felt the need to fight back strongly for the team. The rally was at a crucial point in the set, and even if it wasn’t at such a crucial point, every rally is important. I emphasize to the players the tenacity for one ball. The same goes for me. Whenever the time comes for me to step up and fight for the team, I will not shy away from it,” he emphasized.
Looking ahead to the next five matches, Cesar said: “We have one day off and we will train in the morning. The next two games are against Germany and the United States. Germany is a strong team, not as good as Italy or Poland, but still a strong team. The United States has a strong team. We’ll be well prepared. We will try to work on the chemistry between the players and create a combination that will give us the best possible performance at the Asian Games.”