As the 2022-2023 season V-League enters the 6th round of the regular league, the ranking competition is reaching its peak. In particular, the fight for first place with a direct ticket to the championship match is worth seeing. The men’s division is a one-point match between Korean Air (65 points, 22 wins and 9 losses) and Hyundai Capital (64 points, 21 wins and 10 losses). In the women’s division, while Heungkuk Life Insurance (70 points, 23 wins and 8 losses) is one step ahead, attention is focused on whether Hyundai Engineering & Construction (64 points, 22 wins, 9 losses) can overcome the 6-point gap.
Coincidentally, both the men’s and women’s divisions are a confrontation between foreigners and domestic commanders. Nationality doesn’t mean much on the court, but domestic coaches risked their pride.
Korean Air coach Tommy Tillikainen (Finland), who won the combined championship last season, is in the position of Mercury. Korean Air also climbed to the top in the 2020-2021 season led by Roberto Santili (Italy), challenging foreign coaches to win the combined championship for three consecutive seasons. Korean Air took the lead until the 4th round, but in the 5th round, it slowed down to 2 wins and 4 losses, allowing Hyundai Capital to pursue. However, it is finding its place by beating OK Financial Group. Coach Tillikainen showed his enthusiasm, saying, “From now on, every game is a final.”
From the beginning of the season, Choi Tae-woong, head coach of Hyundai Capital, called for a comeback. After winning the championship match in the 2018-2019 season, he is determined to become the champion again in 4 seasons. In particular, he burned his desire to compete against Korean Air, saying, “I will definitely come up with a way to win during the 6th round.” Hyundai Capital, which formed a triangular formation of foreign players Oh Reol, Heo Soo-bong, and Jeon Kwang-in, became stronger with each round. In the 5th round, I caught Korean Air for the first time this season, and the recent 5 consecutive wins are on the rise. Coach Choi encouraged the players, saying, “The leading battle is the high ground battle.” It is expected that the direction of first place will be decided in the 6th round confrontation on the 5th of next month.
In the women’s division, attention is paid to whether the first ever foreign coach will win the championship. In the meantime, the runner-up achieved by Mamoru Bandaira (Japan) of Heungkuk Life Insurance in the 2010-2011 season is the best result. 안전놀이터
Heungkuk Life Insurance, with Kim Yeon-kyung and Yelena’s one-two punch, was in a position to pursue until the middle of the 5th round, but has been firmly guarded since defeating Pepper Savings Bank and taking the lead. Heungkuk Life Insurance, which had been acting manager since early January, recently entrusted the baton to coach Marcello Abondanza (Italy). Having conducted world-class clubs such as Lavita Baku (Azerbaijan), Fenerbahce (Turkiye), and Zanetti Bergamo (Italy), he had a priestly relationship with Kim Yeon-kyung at Fenerbahce. He won the debut match against Korea Expressway Corporation, but lost after a full set match against GS Caltex. “I have a desire to win. He will analyze the defeat well and prepare well for the rest of the game.”
Kang Seong-hyeong, head coach of Hyundai E&C, had the best season last season. The postseason was not held because the league ended early due to the spread of the new coronavirus infection (Corona 19). It ran towards the top again this season, but drew a downward curve after foreign player Yasmin’s injury. Recently, after experiencing 5 consecutive losses, IBK caught IBK and succeeded in rebounding, but I am still uneasy. If you put it in the chase until the final match of the regular league (March 19), which is scheduled to face Heungkuk Life Insurance, the possibility of a last-minute reversal remains. This season, Hyundai Engineering & Construction took the lead with 3 wins and 2 losses.