‘Wasted 7-point lead in 2nd set’ Korea drops third straight VNL with 0:3 loss to USA

Korea Women’s Volleyball Team suffered their third straight defeat at the 2023 VNL with a loss to powerhouse USA.

The South Korea Women’s National Team (ranked 25th in the world), coached by Cesar Hernández González, fell to the United States (ranked 3rd in the world) 0-3 (16-25, 25-27, 11-25) in three sets in the third match of the first week of the 2023 FIVB Volleyball Nations League (VNL) at the Antalya Sports Hall in Antalya, Turkey, on 3 March. With the loss, Korea continued its first week with three straight defeats, while the USA recorded its third straight win.

Korea was led by Pyo Seung-ju with 11 kills, Jung Ho-young and Kim Mi-yeon with seven kills each, and Park Eun-jin and Moon Ji-yoon with six kills each, but were unable to win the set. A 3-15 deficit in blocking and an 0-5 deficit in service points were decisive. USA was led by Curtiro with 18 points, Skinner with 14, Perry with eight and Butler with seven.

Korea started with outside hitter Moon Ji-yoon (4), outside hitters Pyo Seung-ju (2) and Kim Mi-yeon (5), middle blockers Jung Ho-young (3) and Park Eun-jin (6), setter Kim Dain (1) and libero Moon Jung-won. With the back-to-back matches, the starting line-up was significantly changed.

The Americans were without Tokyo gold medalists Jordan Poulter and Jordan Larson, giving opportunities to players who hadn’t seen much playing time in the 14-man roster. Apogee spiker Danielle Coutino (1), outside hitters Veronica Perry (2) and Avery Skinner (5), middle blockers Asgardia O’Neill (3) and Brion Butler, setter Ashley Evans (4) and libero Morgan Hentz took the court first.

Early in the first set, South Korea fell behind 2-7 when Kim Mi-yeon’s left side hit was blocked in succession. She couldn’t break through the wall of O’Neill and Evans. Moon Ji-yoon’s right backhand was impressive, but Pyo Seung-joo’s subsequent left attack was also blocked by Evans, making it 5-10.

Korea then rallied with a try from Jung Ho-young and a solo blocked score from Pyo Seung-joo. Moon Ji-yoon’s touchdown came via a challenge to bring the score to 9-12.

However, the chase was halted when Moon’s attack from the right was blocked by Butler in succession. After back-to-back miscues, a Korean positional fault brought the score to 9-19.

The Koreans closed the gap with a kill from Park Eun-jin and a left-side error from Kang So-hwi, and after a sharp serve from Kim Mi-yeon, Park Eun-jin scored in front of the net to make it 16-23, but that was as close as they would get. The first set ended in favour of the USA.

Set two. Korea started off with two kills from Kim Mi-yeon, followed by a kill from Bum Sil and a point from Moon Ji-yoon for a 5-2 lead. After an attack point by Pyo Seung-joo, Moon Ji-yoon’s sharp serve led to an opponent error. Korea took an early 7-3 lead. It wasn’t over yet. Pyo Seung-joo’s touch-out goal was challenged by Park Eun-jin, who scored a fast break to extend the lead to 9-3.

Korea responded with a try of their own after a defensive breakdown. Kim Mi-yeon broke through from the left side to extend the lead to seven points at 11-4. This was the moment when the mood really picked up. This time, it was the USA who were on the hunt. A hard hit by Skinner was followed by a kill by Evans and a block by Butler to cut the deficit to 12-9.

Korea got back into the game with two quick tries from Jung Ho-young. Moon Ji-yoon’s touch-out point came via a challenge. Jung Ho-young’s serve was finished off by Park Eun-jin in the centre, and Moon Ji-yoon scored in the ensuing rally for a 17-11 lead.

The ability to defend a six-point lead in the middle of the set was tested. Korea took a 19-13 lead after a two-point surprise paint by Kim Dain. Park Eun-jin scored a centre to bring her team to the 20-point mark. The U.S. responded with a point from Skinner, but a service error from Evans halted the run.

Korea responded with a block by Kim Mi-yeon. The scoreboard indicated 22-15. The USA then retook the lead with three consecutive attacking scores. Korea took a 23-18 lead on a touchout by Kim Mi-yeon. The set was within reach.

The USA pushed hard. Back-to-back points from Perry and a Coutino kill brought the score to 23-22. It was a close game. South Korea brought on Kang So-hwi, but his immediate left-handed attempt was blocked by Coutino to tie the score at 23-23.

In a crunch moment, Korea took a 24-23 set point when Jung Ho-young scored on a fast break. In the ensuing rally, Moon Ji-yoon tried a hard shot, but it was out. The set went to deuce. The USA had a 25-24 set point on a strong serve from Coutino, but her subsequent serve was out.

At 25-25, the USA took the set. O’Neill scored in the paint and then Skinner blocked Park’s attack. Korea could not close out the set.

Set three. The USA jumped out to an early lead. An attack point by Coutino was followed by a Korean attack error, and the score gradually increased. Korea’s defence was stagnant as Jung Ho-young’s fastball was successful, but their defensive concentration dropped. They were slow to react to Skinner’s attack and couldn’t get Coutino’s serve. It was 2-7.

South Korea went down 4-10 after an attack error by Moon Ji-yoon, but three quick points from Pyo Seung-ju and Kim Mi-yeon brought them within 7-10. However, the gap widened with five consecutive points. It became 7-15.

Korea managed to get to the sideout on a fast break by Jung Ho-young. But the USA seized the momentum with a Perry back-attack and a Skinner serve. Coutino added the conversion to make it 8-18. Korea scored a point from Jung Ho-young, but the game was already out of reach. 메이저사이트

With a two-set lead in the balance, the match ended with a disappointing result. Korea, who have lost three straight matches, will play their final match of the first week on 4 April at 8pm against Thailand.

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