First-ever quarterfinal setback for South Korea exposes lack of fundamentals

The Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) 2024 Asian Women’s U18 Championship concluded on Wednesday with the final match between China and Japan. China defeated Japan 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 26-24) to win the title. In the other semifinal match on the same day, Chinese Taipei swept Thailand 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-23).

South Korea ended their journey in fifth place. After a shutout victory (25-7, 25-7, 25-12) over Uzbekistan in the fifth through eighth place match on Nov. 22, the team defeated Iran in straight sets (25-21, 25-22, 25-17) in the fifth through 스포츠토토사이트 sixth place match the next day (Nov. 23).

Throughout the tournament, Kim’s game plan worked well. Kim said that he paid a lot of attention to the use of the center in preparation for the tournament. It showed. Middle blockers Jung Ah-rim and Ha Ye-ji made their presence felt with fastballs at key moments. This distracted opposing blockers and opened up more opportunities for the wing attackers, with captain and main gun Park Yeo-seom proving to be the solution, while Park Yoon-seo and Kim Ji-yoon joined in the scoring hunt. With the firepower of this trio, South Korea had an easy time of it for most of the game.

However, they were unable to capitalize when it really mattered. In particular, the first match of Group D against Chinese Taipei (0-3) and the second match of Group F against Japan (2-3) were more of a radio silence. We had no digs at all. The first step was twisted and all options and tactics were useless. They were desperate to save the ball, which resulted in the setter receiving an unstable ball and narrowed their toss options.

Their opponents easily responded to the Iljisunda-like attack. They quickly regained the initiative and harassed Korea. This vicious cycle was repeated throughout the match. “The players played a good game with a lot of fighting spirit, but overall, there was a big difference in quality. In particular, we were unable to receive, which led to many regrettable situations,” Kim said.

It wasn’t just reception. Korea’s overall play lacked a lot of detail and completeness. Against Chinese Taipei, the setter’s toss height for a fastball was not even at the middle blocker’s head height, resulting in a point being surrendered.

The lack of pipe attacks and spike serves was also disappointing. Both are essential if you want to compete against strong teams. Korea needs to work on their fundamentals in all areas.

The age groups are more about identifying and filling in gaps than immediate results. Still, a fifth-place finish is a disappointing result considering Korea’s performance at the tournament so far. This is actually the first time South Korea has failed to finish in the top four at the tournament. Since the tournament’s inception in 1997, South Korea has never finished outside the top four, except in 2003, when they did not participate.

There were many tears shed by the Korean team right after the game against Japan. We shouldn”t forget those tears.

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