Korean Air, OK Financial Group win shutout in KOVO Cup opener

Defending champion Korean Air swept the first match of the men’s KOVO Cup.

Korean Air swept the first match of the 2023 Gumi Dodram Cup Professional Volleyball Tournament Men’s Group A against Woori Card 3-0 (25-21 25-21 25-19) on Saturday at Park Jung-hee Gymnasium in Gumi.

Korean Air, which has seven players on the national team, is competing in the KOVO Cup with a 10-player roster.

Despite being short-handed, the Korean Air team performed at their best. Lee Jun scored a game-high 18 points (57.1% offensive success rate), while Kwak Seung-seok added 12 points.

Woori Card’s Kim Ji-han and Song Myung-geun scored 13 and 12 points, respectively, but couldn’t prevent the loss.

Korean Air took the first set and took control of the match.

At 20-20, Kwak Seung-seok’s quick opener, Lee Jun’s open attack, and Kwak Seung-seok’s service ace all came in quick succession.

He then reached set point with an unforced error, which Lee blocked to take the first set.

The second set also belonged to Korean Air.

Down 10-15, Korean Air scored seven straight points, including a back-attack by Kwak Seung-seok, a service ace, and a quick open by Jung Jin-hyuk.

At 23-20, a block by Cho Jae-young and a quick open by Kwak Seung-seok capped it off.

Korean Air closed out the match in the third set.

With the score tied at 17-17, Korean Air broke away with a block by Kwak Seung-seok and Cho Jae-young and a back-attack by Lee Jun.

The gap widened to 22-17, and after a block by Cho Jae-young, the opponent’s errors came in quick succession to secure the shutout victory.

In the next Group A match, OK Financial Group swept KB Insurance in straight sets, 3-0 (25-17 25-22 25-11).

OK Financial Group’s Chae-hwan Chae produced 16 points (58.8% offensive success rate), including six blocks, to lead the way in the win. Byung-sun Jeon added 13 points in support.

OK Financial Group head coach Masashi Ogino enjoyed a victory in his debut as head coach.

The KB Insurance Korean put up a good fight with 15 points, but it was overshadowed by his team’s loss.

OK Financial Group dominated the first set.

Leading 12-10, OK Financial Group scored five consecutive points thanks to a quick open by Jeon Byung-hyuk, a back attack by Lee Jin-sung, and a block by Chae Ji-hwan.

At 22-17, a timeout and block by Chae Hwan set up a set point before Jin Sang-heon finished it off with a block.

The second set also belonged to OK Financial Group.

With the score tied at 19-19, they took the lead after a block by Chae Hwan and a series of opponent errors. At 24-22, the opponent’s open attack missed and they won the second set.

KB Insurance self-destructed with 11 unforced errors.

OK Financial Group closed out the match in the third set.

Leading 12-6, OK Financial Group widened the 안전놀이터 gap with a relay score from Park Won-bin, Jeon Jin-sun, and Chae Ji-hwan.

They steadily piled up points to reach 23-9, capped off by a Lee Jin-sung timeout and a Kang Jung-min service ace.

Woori Card and KB Insurance, who dropped their first match, will meet at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 8, while Korean Air and OK Financial Group, looking for their second straight win, will face off at 7 p.m.