How much can they overcome last year’s heartbreak? There are just two days left until the Korean team takes the court in the first VNL of the year.
From June 30 to July 2, the FIVB Volleyball Nations League (VNL) 2023 will kick off. The women’s finals will take place on July 17.
Week 1 (May 30-June 4) will be held in Antalya, Turkey. The Korean team departed for the tournament on May 22 via Incheon International Airport.
Their first opponent will be the hosts. The Turks are currently ranked 7th (299.02 points), which is significantly higher than Korea (23rd, 148.84 points). It’s a tough start to their journey against a formidable opponent.
The team was coached by Lavarini until last year, when Daniele Santarelli took over. Santarelli previously led Serbia to victory at the 2022 World Championships.
The roster currently includes Gijem Örge, Aköz Simge Sevnem (libero), Özbai Kansu, Shahin Elif (setter), Ebrar Karakurt and Melissa Vargas (outside hitter), Eda Erdem, Akman Kubra, Zehra Günesh, and Kalak Asli (middle blockers), and Salihah Sahin, Aydin Ilkin, Hande Balajin, and Deria Chevezio Glu (outside hitters).
Several of these players are well known to Korean fans due to their global success at the Olympics and on the international stage. Eda Erdem, Zehra Günesh, and Hande Baladin stand out. On the other hand, there are some newcomers to the national team 스포츠토토.
Eda Erdem, who played with Kim Yeon-kyung (Heungkuk Life) at Fenerbahçe, is currently the captain of the national team in Turkkiye. Her strengths are her secondary connection and serve, and she is also good at blocking. In last year’s VNL, he was named MVP in a victory over South Korea. The 23-year-old midfielder also played against South Korea in Tokyo and was ranked first in blocking. In addition to his defensive skills, he is also a fast attacker.
Elsewhere, young attacker Evrar Karakurt (194 cm), born in 2000, utilizes his height to attack opponents with high hits and a consistent serve. He has been a member of the U-18 national team since 2017 and won the Best Apogee Spiker award at the 2019 VNL. She stands out for her bold and unique reactions after scoring. He scored 17 points against the Korean National Team in last year’s VNL.
The Cuban-born Vargas stands at 6-foot-3 and has a very quick and tricky spike that can power through opposing blockers or bomb down the court. She can play both outside hitter and outside spiker, and is listed as an outside hitter in this roster. This will be her first appearance for the national team at the VNL.
Lee Ju-ah, Park Eun-jin, Jung Ho-young (middle blockers), Yeom Hye-sun, Kim Dain (setters), Moon Jung-won, Shin Yeon-kyung (liberos), Park Jung-ah, Jung Ji-yoon, Kim Mi-yeon, Pyo Seung-ju, Kang So-hui (outside hitters), and Moon Ji-yoon (opposite spikers).
In the head-to-head series, South Korea has beaten Turkiye only a handful of times, most notably in four straight matches from the London 2012 Olympic Games to the 2018 VNL Qualifiers, 2019 VNL Qualifiers, and 2021 VNL Qualifiers.
Their most recent victory came in the quarterfinals of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, followed by 1-3 and 0-3 defeats at the generational 2022 VNL and 2022 World Championship, respectively.
In last year’s VNL, Kang So-hwi scored 13 points, Kim Hee-jin 11 points and Jung Ho-young and Park Jung-ah 10 points each, while Karakurt had 17 points, Günesh 15 points and Erdem 10 points for the Turkiye side. It was also the first time South Korea took a set, having previously failed to win a set against Japan, Germany, Serbia, Poland, Canada, Dominica, and the Netherlands.
With two days to go, the team’s morale will be tested in their first match. The team has been training domestically under new coach Han Yoo-mi and has been meeting with Cesar on the ground to get acclimatized. It’s impossible to expect a dramatic improvement, but it’s important to stay focused and mentally strong.
Meanwhile, South Korea will kick off Week 1 on June 1 at 8 p.m. local time (2 a.m. KST) against Turkiye.
The second week of the VNL (June 13-18) will be held in Brazil, and the final three weeks (June 27-July 2) will be held at the Chilbo Gymnasium in Seosuwon, South Korea.