Volleyball, the first Korean ball game to win an Olympic medal and the country’s most prominent professional sport, will begin its six-month V-League campaign on April 14 amid a crisis.
Professional volleyball’s Dodram 2023-2024 V-League will kick off with the men’s championship match between last season’s 1-2 finishers Incheon Korean Air and Cheonan Hyundai Capital at Gyeyang Gymnasium in Incheon at 2 p.m., followed by the women’s championship match between Gimcheon Korea Expressway Corporation and Incheon Heungkuk Life at 4 p.m. at Gimcheon Indoor Gymnasium.
The V-League, which has always been a popular winter indoor sport, has gotten off to a rocky start this season. Both the men’s and women’s teams have been underwhelming in recent international tournaments, and their recent quarterfinal exits at the 19th Hangzhou Asian Games have dampened public interest. 토토사이트
Each of the seven men’s and women’s teams will be under pressure to win back their fans with a strong showing in the 20th season of the professional program.
The V-League will play a total of 252 games, 36 games per team, over six rounds of the regular season, followed by the semi-playoffs and playoffs to determine the champions in a best-of-five series starting March 28, 2024.
This season, the Asian quota system is expected to be a factor as players from six Asian countries, including Japan, Taiwan, Mongolia, and Thailand, will join the league. In the men’s competition, Korean Air, which will try to win its first four consecutive titles, will be challenged by last season’s third-place Suwon KEPCO and fifth-place Ansan OK Savings Bank.
Korean Air has the advantage of not having any major changes in power and having more youthful players, while KEPCO has a stronger organization and a more solid defense with the addition of Asia’s quota libero Ryohei (JPN). OK Financial Group, led by Japanese coach Masashi Ogino, has also seen the growth of promising players such as Shin Shin-jin and Chae Ji-hwan, as evidenced by their first cup win in August.
On the women’s side, Heungkuk Life, which has added best friends Kim Yeon-kyung and Kim Soo-ji through free agency and is expected to benefit from the tactics of coach Marcello Abondanza, who joined the team at the end of last season, and Suwon Hyundai E&C, which has strengthened its existing domestic lineup of Yang Hyo-jin, Kim Dain, and Lee Da-hyun with the addition of newcomer Kim Joo-hyang, foreigner Moma, and Asia quarterfinalist Wipai Sithong, are expected to be two strong teams.
“In the 2023-2024 season, each team in the V-League will have to step up their game and perform at a higher level to regain the love of fans who have turned their backs on them,” a volleyball expert told BONBO. “Whether Korean volleyball revives or goes down the path of regression depends entirely on the players and leaders, not just the professional clubs.”