South Korean women’s volleyball faced a harsh reality. After falling short in the quarterfinals of the Asian Championships, they have a big task ahead of them.
The Korean women’s volleyball team,토토사이트 led by head coach Cesar Gonzalez, lost their quarterfinal match against Thailand 0-3 (20-25, 22-25 23-25) in Group E at the 2023 Asian Volleyball Championship in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand on Wednesday.
After a lethargic first set, Korea fought back with Kang So-hwi (GS Caltex) scoring a team-high 17 points, but were unable to match Thailand’s height after the middle of the third set.
In particular, Thanacha Suksot (Korea Expressway Corporation), Ponpoon Gedpard (IBK), and Yupai Sittong (Hyundai E&C), who will meet Korean fans in the 2023-2024 season in the V-League Asia Quarterfinals, were relentless in their harassment of their opponents, dampening Korea’s hopes of catching up.
Things didn’t go as planned for South Korea in their first match of the tournament. The team lost 2-3 (25-22, 25-19, 23-25, 17-25, 13-15) against ‘underdogs’ Vietnam in the first match of Pool C, leaving them with no guarantee of even making the quarterfinals.
Korea then went on to defeat Chinese Taipei and Uzbekistan to finish second in Group C and reach the quarterfinals in a twist of fate. However, they struggled against Thailand throughout the tournament, failing to win a single set. In the end, Vietnam’s victory in the Vietnam-Australia match ended Korea’s hopes of reaching the quarterfinals.
In the meantime, South Korea has made it to at least the quarterfinals of the Asian Volleyball Championship. From their second-place finish in 1975 to their third-place finish in 2019, they have never finished outside the top four, which makes this result all the more shocking.
Of course, it was somewhat predictable. After reaching the quarterfinals at Tokyo 2020 two years ago, the Korean women’s volleyball team was faced with the task of generational change following the retirement of “volleyball queen” Kim Yeon-kyung (Heungkuk Life), while Yang Hyo-jin (Hyundai E&C) and Kim Soo-ji (Heungkuk Life), two of the team’s key players, also decided to retire from the national team.
With Cesar replacing Stefano Lavarini as head coach, the team faced a high barrier as they failed to win a single match in the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) for two consecutive tournaments. In the meantime, Korea’s world ranking plummeted to 35th.
Preparations for the Asian Games became an emergency. The team finished with a bronze medal at the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Games, but even a podium finish seems unlikely at this point. There are fears that the team could finish with no medals for the first time in 17 years since Doha 2006. There are no guarantees that the team will perform well at the Paris 2024 Olympic qualifiers.
The gap with world volleyball is widening as time goes by, and their performance remains stagnant. Unless something changes, the lack of success in international competitions is bound to continue. It”s not just the players, but the entire volleyball world that needs to take stock.