Korean Air defeats ‘unnatural nemesis’ KB Sonbo to stay in title contention

Korean Air has won three consecutive league titles, including last season. KB Insurance is at the bottom of the league with 20 points less than 6th place. The objective power differential is clear, but when the two teams meet, it’s tense. The fifth matchup of the season was also tense until the middle of the game.

Korean Air defeated KB Insurance 3-1 (31-29 23-25 25-23 25-19) in the fifth round of the Dodram 2023-2024 V League Men’s Division at Gyeyang Gymnasium in Incheon on Sunday.

With the win, Korean Air improved to 3-2 against KB Insurance this season. With the three points, they are now tied with first-place Woori Card on 50 points. KB Insurance remained at four wins (21 losses). Two of their four wins have come against Korean Air.

Apogee Lim Dong-hyuk, who came on as a substitute midway through the first set, saved the day. After a series of errors and unsuccessful attacks by foreign player Murad Khan, Lim made the first set his own. As soon as he entered the court, he scored three points in a row, including a 100 percent attack success rate, to score 12 points in the first set alone. In the final moments of the set, with the score 30-29 and the lead at one point, he won the final 31 points with a service ace to seal the win for his team. After sending a powerful spike serve into the opponent’s court, Lim made a big gesture by pointing to his chest. It was an intentional gesture. After the match, Kim Min-jae said, “The opposing team, VEENA, had a big ceremony when they met us, and our team felt strangely intimidated.” They tried to win the momentum battle.

With the set tied 1-1, middle blocker Kim Min-jae provided a new source of energy in the third set. After entering the court at the start of the third set, Kim scored four points in each of the third and fourth sets, tallying a personal best of eight points this season. Kim had a slow start to the season after suffering an ankle injury during the Hangzhou Asian Games last year. He hadn’t gotten many opportunities until recently.

Korean Air won the third set in a close contest, and the fourth set was also close until midway through, when they pulled away with their height 토토사이트 추천 advantage. Kim Min-jae turned the tide early in the fourth set with a service ace and a blocking point.

Lim Dong-hyuk scored a match-high 32 points on 67.44% attack percentage. Jeong Jung-yong (15 points) and Kim Gyu-min (10 points) followed. The only concern is that foreign substitute Murad is still up and down, and left side hitter Jung Ji-seok is still struggling to find his groove. Murad did not return to the court after being subbed out midway through the first set. Jeong Ji-seok (6 points) didn’t score his first point until the third set. Korean Air head coach Tommy Tilikainen said, “Today was not Murad’s day. He needs to show the same good form in practice as he did in training,” said Korean Air head coach Tommy Tilikainen.

With the victory, Korean Air is now in the thick of the regular season title race with Woori Card. “There were always ups and downs during our three consecutive losses, but the players pulled together and overcame each time,” said Lim Dong-hyuk. “This season is tough, but so are all the other teams. We’ll try to enjoy it as much as possible.”


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