Kim Jong-min, director of the Korea Expressway Corporation, was breathless in April. After participating in’Spring Volleyball’ as the 3rd place in the regular league for the V-League Women’s Division in the 2022-2023 season, it went through a playoff with Hyundai E&C and a championship match with Heungkuk Life Insurance, and rose to the top with the first’reverse sweep’ in history. It was a miraculous victory that surpassed the 0% probability.
The joy was short-lived. Park Jung-ah (Pepper Savings Bank) and Jeong Dae-yeong (GS Caltex), who were key members of the championship, were not comfortable with the free agent (FA) departure, such as changing uniforms. It was fortunate that out of the 5 free agents, 3 starters, including Bae Yu-na, Moon Jeong-won, and Jeon Sa-yan, remained. In a phone call with Sports Donga, coach Kim said, “I won the championship with good players, but the players transferred to another team by their own choice.” I cheered for the players who chose .
It wasn’t just ‘subtraction’. Luck followed. As a compensation player for Park Jung-ah, he recruited Lee Go-eun, the main setter of Pepper Savings Bank. His strengths are fast toss and defense, and he played 122 sets in 33 games in the 2022-2023 season and finished 4th in the toss.
Coach Kim said, “I was surprised to see the list of protected players. The main setter was released. It was an unexpected choice,” he confessed. After the 2021-2022 season, Lee Go-eun earned FA qualification and returned to her parent team, Road Corporation, a year after transferring to Pepper Savings Bank. Coach Kim showed his composure, saying, “It’s okay to accompany Lee Go-eun next season, or trade under good conditions.”안전놀이터
The first Asia Quarter Draft this year was also an opportunity for coach Kim. The Korea Expressway Corporation nominated Tanacha Soksot from Thailand as the fourth priority. He is an Apogee Spiker (Light) with a height of 180 cm and is evaluated as having offensive and defensive abilities. Coach Kim said, “I noticed that the two years spent on the stage in Japan, where it was very difficult for a foreign player to play. Even though he doesn’t have good players, he plays organized volleyball. I think that would match the color of our team,” he explained the background of the selection.
However, he has not yet decided on a position. Coach Kim said, “For now, we are thinking of an outside hitter (left), but our team doesn’t care too much about the player’s position.”
Now, only the foreign player’s decision remains. I am still contemplating whether to renew the contract with Catbell (USA), who is the number one contributor to the championship and the MVP of the championship match. Manager Kim was concerned about his knee condition, saying, “He is a player who fits well with our team, and he will be fine after one more season, but his physical condition is not good.” Catbell will participate in the 2023-2024 season tryouts for foreign players (May 11-13, Turkiye). Manager Kim showed a cautious attitude, saying, “I will make a final decision after looking at the other players participating this time.”