A situation they had never experienced before plagued the Korean Air players. I could understand why director Tommy Tilikhainen kept emphasizing experience.
Korean Air coach Tommy Tillikainen’s purpose to participate in the 2023 Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Men’s Club Volleyball Championship was clear. It was to give players a new experience so that they would not become frogs in the well. In an interview before the tournament, he reiterated that the keyword for this tournament is ‘experience’, saying, “I hope it will be a platform for young players to experience, gain opportunities, and grow.”
And while Korean Air held the competition, they realized how important experience is. But the way it was was so painful. Korean Air lost to Suntory Sunbirds (Japan) with a set score of 0-3 (21-25, 19-25, 19-25) in the upper round Group E match held at Isa Sports City on the 18th (local time). Committing 28 mistakes, he collapsed without even trying to play the volleyball he wanted to play. Director Tillikainen also could not hide his disappointment and anger.
In this game, Korean Air had to experience unfamiliarity several times. Korean Air’s blockers could not find a countermeasure against the fast attack by Kenji Sato, the middle blocker of Suntory, who started the day. This is because Sato was a left-handed middle blocker. The left-hander’s fast attack, which is rarely encountered in the 토스카지노V-League, confused the minds of Korean Air blockers.
This was not the only moment when I felt the need for experience. In the 3rd set 2-6 situation, as Yoo Kwang-woo’s game management continued to falter, manager Tillikainen replaced the setter with Jeong Jin-hyeok. Before this replacement, the combination of wing strikers was already changed to Jeong Han-yong and Lee Joon, and Jin Ji-wi (born in 1993) was the only player in his 30s or older on Korean Air’s court.
As Han Seon-su, Kim Gyu-min, Yoo Kwang-woo, and Kwak Seung-seok, who had always guarded Korean Air’s court, all left their seats, there was no veteran on the court to hold the team’s focal point. Korean Air’s young players, who had experienced this situation for the first time, were unable to avoid even basic call plays and were defeated.
In addition, I experienced an overwhelming height difference that I have never experienced in the V-League. Lee Joon, who stepped on the court from the 2nd set, had many situations in which he and Dmitry Mushalsky (Russia) were in the vanguard in the rotation. According to the competition profile, Lee Joon’s height was 185 cm, and Mushalski’s was 218 cm.
The height difference between the two players was 33 cm. When Muchhalski tried to attack from the front line, Joon Lee’s blocking timing was definitely not bad. However, Mushalski hit the ball far higher than Lee Joon’s blocking. In fact, it was meaningless to open blocking. If the moment to overcome this height difference comes again next time, this experience may give up blocking altogether and try other ways, such as joining the defense.
As such, Korean Air is experiencing a lot of things that need to be experienced at least once to play better volleyball in the future through this tournament. It’s just a pity that the method is so bitter. The contest isn’t over yet. This means that there are still things that can be experienced soon. In order to play well in the next season, and furthermore, in the next club volleyball championship, it is Korean Air that has to take care of what it can get until the end.