‘Still going strong’ Yang Hyo-jin “Inspired by watching men’s volleyball”

“We can’t play the same as the men, but we also realize that we need to be stronger while watching them play.”

Hyundai E&C won the match against GS Caltex in the fourth round of the Dodram 2023-2024 V-League Women’s Division at Suwon Gymnasium on Tuesday with a set score of 3-2 (30-28 21-25 25-16 17-25 19-17).

Hyundai E&C’s star player Yang Hyo-jin led the team with 25 points (52.50% attack percentage). It was her highest point total of the season.

Yang Hyo-jin said in an interview, “The match went to a full set and there were a lot of rallies. We played frantically. The opponent had a good momentum and we panicked, but we were able to win by focusing until the end,” she said.

At the beginning of the fifth set, Yang Hyo-jin’s block and open attack seemed to make things easier, but GS Caltex’s offense took over at one point. At 14-14, however, Yang Hyo-jin caught a spike from Oh Se-yeon to turn the tide.

Reflecting on the situation, Yang said, “At the beginning of the fifth set, I thought we were in trouble because we were going to win, but then (the tide) turned, but all the players played their roles. At the end, (Lee) Da-hyun did a good job of blocking,” she said, adding, “I could feel that the players were trying to do their job even in the intense situation. It was a game where I felt more immersed in the game.”

“I actually wanted to score on the previous attack, and I was pissed that I didn’t,” he said. So I came off the block thinking, ‘I’ve got to get that hit somehow. I was like, ‘I’m going to override it somehow,'” he said of the situation.

Hyundai E&C had a 2-1 advantage against GS Caltex this season, but on this day, they struggled.

“I got through to Silva, but the outside hitters made it difficult for me,” Yang said, adding, “When you play a season, you always expect opponents to come in differently. So today, I thought we had to go in with a little more tension. We have to keep an eye on how we block and what we have to do, not just play where we are blocked. They’re always going to try to do better and we have to be an upgrade to match that,” he concluded.

With 25 points on the night, Yang Hyo-jin surpassed the 5,500-point mark in offensive scoring and remained in first place in that category.

“I’m just grateful,” she said, adding, “I recently had a 1500 block, and I’ve been getting more and more offensive points, so I think the first records are always meaningful.”

When asked by the press if she thought it was possible to score 10,000 points, she joked, “I think I’d have to go back to being 20 years old to score 10,000 points,” but emphasized, “Regardless of the number of points, I have a strong desire to win this time.”

If women’s volleyball has Yang Hyo-jin as its iconic middle blocker, men’s volleyball has Shin Young-seok (KEPCO). Recently, Shin Young-seok commented on Yang Hyo-jin, saying, “It’s an honor just to be mentioned together.”

Yang Hyo-jin responded, “I think you’re very nice to say that. I admire Shin Young-seok every time I see him play. His form is great, and he has a cool and dominant feeling in the center. I get a lot of inspiration from watching him.”

“I can’t play like them, but after watching them play, I feel like I know I need to put more effort into my movements. It helps.”

With the win, Hyundai E&C (52 points) extended its lead over second-place Heungkuk Life (47 points) to five points. The upcoming matches between the two teams could decide the regular season title.

Yang Hyo-jin said, “Even though we’ve won our last game and we’re in the fourth round, I think we should take it easy. “We have to be passionate but not greedy,” said Yang, “because if we get greedy in the remaining games and want to clinch first place, our movements may become heavy. We need to look at one ball, one game, and continue to do what we’ve been doing.”

As for Heungkuk Life, he said, “They are a good team in all aspects,” adding, “They have a good organization, led by (Kim) Yeon-kyung. They are good in many ways.” As for Hyundai E&C’s strengths, he said, “We have good teamwork. We communicate well with each other and play reliable volleyball,” she emphasized.

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