Hillstate ride momentum to stay No. 1 at eight points clear

Suwon Hyundai Engineering & Construction Hillstate players celebrate during a V League game against the Gwangju AI Peppers at Pepper Stadium in Gwangju on Friday. [YONHAP]

The difference in attack was clear in the beginning, with the league leaders winning the first set 25-9. The Suwon side lost the second set 31-29 but went on to win the third set 28-26 and the fourth set 25-19 for a final score of 3-1.  Friday’s win extended Hillstate’s winning streak to six games. The Suwon side have yet to lose a game this year, having lost their last game to the Hwaseong IBK Altos on Dec. 23 last year.   
Their form this season is as impressive as last season when they rode a long winning streak to stay at the top of the table. Hillstate failed to win the league title last season, however, as the Pink Spiders snatched the top position in the second half of the campaign and went on to claim victory. Second-place Pink Spiders have also shown a solid performance so far this season but failed to close the gap with Hillstate last week, losing Wednesday’s game to third-place GS Caltex Seoul Kixx 3-1 Kixx opposite hitter Gyselle Silva’s impact was clear during the game, scoring 37 points alone as the top scorer of the game.   
Silva has carried the team’s attack this season, scoring 701 points as the top scorer in the league as of Monday. With Wednesday’s win, third-place Kixx have narrowed the gap with second-place Pink Spiders to seven points. Further down the table, Daejeon Jung Kwan Jang Red Sparks snatched a fourth-place position from the Altos after a perfect 3-0 victory over the Hwaseong side on Thursday.  
At the very bottom, sixth-place Gimcheon Korea Expressway Hi-Pass also grabbed a 3-0 win against last-place Peppers on Jan. 16. That game was the first time that the Gimcheon side had won a game 3-0 this season since their 3-0 win against the Red Sparks on Nov. 2 last year.   Both Hi-Pass and the Peppers remained in their respective positions on the league table after Tuesday’s contest. Hi-Pass’s struggle this season comes as a surprise, considering they won the league championship last year. As for the Peppers, their run so far this season is nearly identical to the past two campaigns. After their foundation in 2021, they finished the league at the bottom of the table for the second season in a row — only securing three wins in the 2021-22 season and managing five wins last season.   With just two wins under their belt so far this season, they may finish this season at the bottom of the table yet again.   Whether the Gwangju side can climb out of last place in the second half of the 2023-24 season remains to be seen, but they will need to make some big changes as they are 18 points behind sixth-place Hi-Pass.The V League will stop for a week, as the V League all-star game will take place on Saturday.The all-star game will feature 40 players selected by the fan vote and 스포츠토토존 a committee of experts, who will be in action at Incheon Samsan World Gymnasium in Incheon.  

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