KEPCO sweep Samsung Fire to extend winning streak to five games

KEPCO defeated Samsung Fire to extend its winning streak to five games. On the women’s side, Jung Kwan-jang snapped a five-game losing streak and avoided a second-round sweep. Pepper Savings Bank fell into a 14-game losing streak.

KEPCO extended its winning streak to five games with a 3-1 (14-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-20) home victory over Samsung Fire in the second round of the Dodram 2023-2024 V-League Men’s Division at Suwon Gymnasium on Monday. After struggling to a 1-5 record in the first round, KEPCO won its fifth straight match to improve its record to 6-6 and 18 points on the season and pull within one point of third-place Samsung Fire (7-4 and 19 points).

In the first set, Samsung Fire dominated KEPCO. From 14-10, Samsung Fire went on a 20-10 run after a quick opener by Shin Shin-ho, a back-attack by Yosubani, a block by Noh Jae-wook, back-to-back points by Kim Jung-ho, and a service ace by Shin Shin-ho. With the points in hand, Samsung Fire was able to take the first set with ease thanks to their strong serve.

Tice and Lim Sung-jin in particular struggled with their receiving. KEPCO’s team reception efficiency in the first set was only 26.32%, and Samsung Fire recorded three service aces in the first set alone. With a shaky defense, KEPCO was unable to generate much offense and dropped the first set easily.

However, in the second set, the defense started to settle down and the team pushed forward with a strong attack. With the score tied at 23-23, KEPCO had set point with an open attack by Lim Sung-jin, but Shin Young-seok blocked Kim Jun-woo’s spike to end the set and level the match.

KEPCO fought back to take the match to a third set. With the score tied at 21-21, Im Sung-jin scored back-to-back quick open points and blocked Yosubani’s back attack to reach set point at 24-21. Yosubani then scored a point, but Taisu answered with a back attack to end the set.

In the seesaw fourth set, with the score tied at 16-16, KEPCO scored five straight points to take a 21-16 lead after a back-attack by Tice and a block by Shin Young-seok, followed by an open attack and block by Tice and an opponent error. KEPCO held on to the lead and evened the match at 24-20 with a quick opener from Tais on match point.

Tais led the KEPCO offense with 30 points, including four blocks, while Lim Sung-jin chipped in with 16 points, including three blocks. Shin Young-seok added 10 points, including three blocks, and Seo Jae-duk chipped in with nine points. Yosubani, who complained of a sore left foot during the game, played until the end and finished with 33 points, but it was a disappointing loss for the team.

Meanwhile, in the women’s match at Chungmu Gymnasium in Daejeon, Chung snapped a five-game losing streak with a 3-1 (21-25, 25-23, 25-16, 25-18) victory over last-place Pepper Savings Bank. With the 14th straight win over Pepper Savings Bank, Chung Kwan-jang improved to 5-7 on the season and moved into fourth place, ahead of IBK IBK (5-6, 14 points). Pepper Savings Bank remained at 2-9 and 5 points.

The first set belonged to Pepper Savings Bank. Down 14-16, the team tied the game at 16-16 after a Mega kill by Philips. A seesaw game ensued, and at 18-18, Park took the lead with an open attack from Park and further extended it with an opponent error. Leading by two points, Pepper Savings Bank had set point at 22-20 with a quick open from Yasmin and a block from Lee Han-bi, and ended the set with a quick open from Lee Han-bi.

In the second set, however, Jung Kwan-jang fought back. The game was tied at 22-22 late in the set. After a block by Mega, Pepper Savings Bank responded with a quick open from Yasmin, but Kwanjang took the lead again with a point from Mega, and Yasmin’s attack went out of court, allowing Kwanjang to tie the set 1-1.

Riding high on the momentum, Jeong sealed the win by taking the third and fourth sets. In the third set, with the score tied at 7-7, back-to-back errors by Pepper Savings Bank, a block by Park Eun-jin, and a service ace by Jia gave them an 11-7 lead. Lee Han-bi’s back attack interrupted the flow, but Jung Kwan-jang led Mega to overtake Pepper Savings Bank and take the third set with ease.

In the fourth set, Kwan-jang held Pepper Savings Bank to just eight points and reached the 20-point mark. At 11-7, she scored seven straight points, including back-to-back kills by Mega, a staggered attack by Park Hye-min, a block by Mega, and three straight kills by Park Hye-min to extend the lead to 11 points. At 20-8, Jung Kwan-jang finished off Pepper Savings Bank with an open attack and service ace by Mega, followed by a quick open, open, and staggered attack by Jia.

Kwanjang’s Mega finished with 30 points, including four blocks, while Jia added 24 points. Jung Ho-young added 10 points with five blocks. Park Hye-min had nine points. Pepper Savings Bank was led by Yasmin with 22 points, while Park Jung-ah and Lee Han-bi had 15 and 13 points, respectively, but it was not enough to prevent the team from losing.

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