Korean Air, representing Korea at the 2023 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championships, was defeated by Japan’s Suntory Sunbirds in the first match of the quarterfinals, and their advance to the quarterfinals was frustrated.
Korean Air lost with a set score of 0-3 (21-25 19-25 19-25) in the quarterfinals of the tournament held at Isa Spos City Stadium in Manama, Bahrain on the 18th (local time), reducing the gap of the existing main players.
With this defeat, Korean Air took two losses, including the loss (1-3 loss) to Bayangkara, Jakarta, Indonesia in the group stage. In the match between Jakarta and Mongolia’s Bayanhongor held at the same time, Jakarta won 3-0, and Korean Air won against Bayanghongor on the 19th. You can’t go up to the 4th river.
From the second game of the group stage, Korean Air coach Tommy Tilikhainen set up the starting lineup with setter Kwang-Woo Yoo, apositive striker Dong-Hyeok Lim, outside heater Jung Ji-Seok-Jeong Han-Yong, and middle blocker Kim Min-Jae-Jin Ji-Woo. This is the best lineup that Korean Air can build without Lincoln Williams, who was missing from the entry due to the absence of setter Han Seon-seon and middle blocker Kim Gyu-min, who are accompanying the squad for this tournament, but have not been issued an ITC (International Transfer Agreement).
The match, which flowed with a tight balance of 6-6 at the beginning of the first set, changed to being dragged into the room of Korean Air. Korean Air collapsed by committing 9 offenses in serving and attacking in the first set alone. They caught up to 16-18 in the second half of the set, but Dmitry Mushalski (Russia), who is considered the world’s best middle blocker, showed an activity worthy of his name, and the victory was on the decline. At Suntory, Mushalski, who is not in the main position but as an apositive spiker, succeeded in an avant-garde open attack with high RBIs bursting from an overwhelming height of 218 cm, followed by a right quick open and Even Jung Han-yong’s feint attack was blocked. Due to Mushalski’s one-man show, the score gap widened to 6 points in an instant, and he gave up one set.
The second set also started at a disadvantage of 1-4 at the beginning, but Korean Air made a 15-15 tie in the middle of the set thanks to Lim Dong-hyuk’s great performance from the right flank. The moment the hope of winning the 2nd set blossomed, Mushalski’s high-altitude strike sparked fire again. Mushalski’s successive back attacks and open attacks increased the momentum, and it seemed to change the atmosphere with a quick attack from the position, but Suntory succeeded in scoring two attacks and a serve, and Lim Dong-hyuk’s offense broke out, making the score difference 16-21. wide open
Muchhalski’s presence could not be explained simply by attacking goals. With Mushalski lurking on the flanks, it was difficult for Korean Air’s blockers to keep the midcourt in check, and Suntory’s setter Masaki Oya took advantage of this and made three consecutive fast attacks in the second half of the second set to take the second set. In particular, Korean Air’s blockers could not catch up with the timing of Kenji Sato’s fast attack, a left-handed middle blocker that is difficult to find in the V-League.
In the third set, coach Tillikainen attempted to turn the atmosphere around by replacing ace Jung Ji-seok, who showed extreme sluggishness with 3 points in the previous two sets and a 12% attack success rate, and put in Lee Joon. At the beginning of the set, Lim Dong-ryeok’s right back attack and setter Yoo Kwang-woo’s serve scored to make the score 2-0, but after Yoo Kwang-woo’s serve, catch ball Beom-sil and Mushalski’s quick open attack succeeded, Lim Dong-hyuk’s attack was blocked, and Jeong Han-yong’s attack He gave 5 points to the room in an instant and was dragged away again. In the end, when the score gap widened to 2-6, coach Tillikainen removed Kwang-woo Yoo and put in Jin-hyeok Jeong, but it was too much to overturn the already tilted game. When Suntory took a huge lead, 18-10, in the middle of the third set, they even showed some room to take out Mushalski, and the match ended with Suntory’s complete victory.
Suntory’s ace Muchhalski scored 15 points (attack success rate 59%), including 1 block and 1 serve score, and Alain scored 12 points including 2 serve scores. Left-handed middle blocker Sato also played with Korean Air blockers with an attack success rate of 87.5% (7/8).
In 2017, coach Tillikainen, who had three years of coaching experience as the command tower of Toyota Gosei (now Wolfdogs Nagoya), took the analysis meeting, which usually ended in about 30 minutes as a’jiilpa’, to 1 hour and 20 minutes ahead of the game that day. It showed enthusiasm enough to more than double. However, although Mushalski’s overwhelming presence and stature are small, Alain Junior (Cuba) and Oya Setter’s sensuous tosswork and game management, who did their part in serving, attacking, and receiving, prevented them from properly unfolding what they had prepared and was disappointed beyond the difference in power. I ended up losing due to my poor performance.
At least, apositive Im Dong-hyeok, who was somewhat sluggish in the three group stage matches, supported the attacking team with 19 points (attack success rate 52%) including 1 block and 1 serve, but ace Jeong Ji-seok only scored 3 points. The total number of errors in the team also came out 28 in three sets. It was a game that was impossible to win.
Coach Tillikainen, who met with reporters after the game, said, “I said that I was preparing a lot, but I couldn’t show anything I had prepared.” I will prepare well for the game tomorrow,” he expressed his resentment in a short interview.