Hyundai E&C in the lead…Hyojin Yang “won’t make a big deal out of it”

“It’s good to keep climbing and be in the top spot.”

Hyundai E&C won its third round match of the Dodram 2023-2024 V-League Women’s Division against Pepper Savings Bank 3-0 (25-17 25-23 28-26) in straight sets at Suwon Gymnasium on Wednesday.

Hyundai E&C (35 points) extended its winning streak to seven games and moved to the top of the standings, knocking Heungkuk Life (33 points), which has played one game less, into second place. Foreign player Moma led the way with 20 points (45% attacking percentage), while Yang Hyo-jin also contributed 13 points (45% attacking percentage) to the winning streak.

It was Yang Hyo-jin who turned a tightly contested first set into Hyundai E&C’s favor. With a narrow 10-9 lead, the team scored six consecutive points, four of which came from Yang Hyo-jin.

Hyundai E&C gained momentum as Yang Hyo-jin’s block and fast-break points came in quick succession. Against a self-destructive Pepper Savings Bank team, a service ace by Jeong Jeong-yoon set the tone and gave them an eight-point lead in the first set, 25-17.

Yang Hyo-jin finished with 13 points on the night, including four blocks. She now has 1,499 career blocks and is just one away from becoming the first male and female V-League player to reach 1,500 career blocks.

However, Yang didn’t seem too concerned about the record. After the game, Yang said, “To be honest, I was conscious of the record when I was blocking until the 10th season (when I became the No. 1 blocker in consecutive seasons). I cared about the number one blocking record and the numbers, but now I focus on every game regardless of the record. My thinking has changed since then.”

“It’s not a big deal that we did it at home. It’s not like you’re getting the award at home if you do it away,” he said with a laugh.

As for IBK’s Choi Jung-min, who leads the team in blocks this season (0.93 per set), he said, “(Choi) has a nice hand shape. She’s not very tall, but she’s leading the team in blocks, and I think that shows all the players that she can do it. For me, I just think, ‘You’re tall. I think Choi Jung-min is doing a good job.”

As for his blocking hand shape, he said, “I have a basic hand shape base. It changes a bit depending on the flow of the game or the rally. Once you have a beautiful hand shape, no matter how much the attacker twists, hits, or pushes, it will be an effective block.” “Blocking is a wall. It’s a wall, and if you build a good wall, it’s an effective block and it goes to our team. If the wall collapses or deviates slightly, the opponent can hit it lightly and score. That’s why the hand shape is the first thing we talk about.”

Hyundai E&C had some organizational issues at the beginning of the season, but the team has since gone on a winning streak and is now in the top tier.

“The new players have found their roles, and Lee Da-hyun’s form has improved,” said Yang Hyo-jin. As the players got better and better, the team as a whole looked better and better,” Yang reflected.

The team didn’t place much importance on their first-place finish. “It’s a situation that can change overnight,” Yang said. Our goal is to do our best in the remaining games and go to the postseason at the end,” she said, adding, “It’s still a long season. We’re not even halfway there, but it’s good to keep climbing and be in the top spot.”

Hyundai E&C will not play another home game until 2023. They will have to leave for a five-game road trip. Yang Hyo-jin said, “It’s hard to recover and play again. I will try to hold on in December,” she said encouragingly.

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