Looking for a ‘last-minute upset,’ Heungkuk Life added three valuable points to put pressure on leader Hyundai E&C.

Heungkuk Life defeated Hyundai E&C 3-1 (25-14, 25-20, 21-25, 25-17) in straight sets in the women’s Dodram 2023-2024 V-League at their home court, Samsan World Gymnasium in Incheon, South Korea, on Monday.

Second-place Heungkuk Life improved to 70 points (25-7), closing the gap to two points on first-place Hyundai E&C (72-24, 7-7), which has played one match less. While Hyundai E&C still holds the magic number to clinch the top spot in the regular season, Heungkuk Life 토토 kept the possibility of an ‘upset’ alive with the win.

Heungkuk Life envisions a thrilling scene in which JUng Kwan-jang catches Hyundai E&C on the 2nd and they win the match against Hyundai E&C on the 12th to take over the top spot in the regular season. The stage was set for an upset.

The offense was led by Kim Yeon-kyung (21 points) and Willow Johnson (26 points), with Reyna Tokoku (9 points) providing support.

Korea Express, which defeated Heungkuk Life in the championship match last season but missed the postseason this season, finished the 2023-2024 regular season head-to-head with Heungkuk Life 1-5.

Heungkuk Life won the fourth set to take the three points. After Willow’s late attack tied the score at 8-8 in the fourth set, Heungkuk Life took advantage of Kim Yeon-kyung’s quickness to save a ball that hit the net, and then executed a clever open attack to make it 10-8.

A staggered attack by Kim Yeon-kyung, a service ace by Lee Won-jeong, and an opponent error gave Heungkuk Life a 15-8 lead. The match was effectively over.

Heungkuk Life became the first team in the V-League Women’s Division to surpass 2,600 career service aces (2,603).

Kim Yeon-kyung added four blocked shots, becoming the 16th player in V-League Women’s history to surpass 300 blocked shots (301).

A full house of 6,122 spectators attended the Samsan World Gymnasium in Incheon.

All tickets (3,475) for the men’s game were also sold out at Cheonan Yugwasun Gymnasium, making it a ‘three-day men’s and women’s sellout’.

This is the second time this season that both men’s and women’s games have been played on the same day, after February 12 (3,599 for the men’s game between Woori Card and Hyundai Capital and 3,834 for the women’s game between Hyundai E&C and Heungkuk Life).

In the men’s match, which was held at the Cheonan Yugwansoon Gymnasium on the third day of the Lunar New Year, leader Korean Air defeated Hyundai Capital 3-1 (21-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-15) to extend its winning streak to eight matches and solidify its top spot in the regular season.

Korean Air improved to 22 wins, 11 losses and 67 points, further widening the gap on second-place Woori Card (20 wins, 11 losses and 60 points).

Korean Air has three games left, Woori Card has five, and the two teams will meet for the final time in the regular season on Nov. 6 at Incheon Gyeyang Gymnasium.

Sixth-ranked Hyundai Capital’s chances of qualifying for the spring volleyball season have dwindled. With 14 wins, 18 losses and 44 points, Hyundai Capital failed to reduce the gap between them and third-place OK Financial Group (18 wins, 14 losses and 52 points).

To qualify for the semifinals, the difference between third and fourth place must be two points or less. Hyundai Capital and OK Financial Group both have four games remaining. With fourth-ranked KEPCO and fifth-ranked Samsung Fire also in the hunt for a postseason berth, Hyundai Capital’s situation is very difficult.

Korean Air had a tough start to the match, losing their height advantage with four blocks in the first set alone, but they managed to turn things around in the second set.

At 22-23, Jeong Jeong-yong’s back-row attack and Kim Min-jae’s block gave Korean Air the momentum, and at 24-23, Choi Min-ho’s overnet error tied the set at 1-1.

The third set was just as intense. Korean Air took the lead at 21-21 with back-to-back kills by Lim Dong-hyuk. At 23-22, Lim Dong-hyuk scored again with a back-area attack. The Korean Air then cut the deficit to 24-23, but veteran setter Yoo Kwang-woo calmly led a fast-paced attack utilizing middle blocker Kim Kyu-min to close out the set.

After dropping back-to-back sets, Hyundai Capital seemed to have lost its momentum. Korean Air started the fourth set on a high note and easily added three more points to their lead. Lim Dong-hyuk led the offense with a team-high 17 points. Hyundai Capital had 32 team errors that hurt them.

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