Hillstate hold on to narrow lead as V League race stays hot

Suwon Hyundai Engineering & Construction Hillstate players celebrate during a V League game against Gimcheon Korea Expressway Hi-Pass at Gimcheon Gymnasium in Gimcheon, North Gyeongsang on Friday. [YONHAP]

The race remains tight at the top of the V League, with the Suwon Hyundai Engineering & Construction Hillstate holding on to a slim three-point lead over title rivals Heungkuk Life Insurance Pink Spiders.
Hillstate faced Gimcheon Korea Expressway Hi-Pass on Friday in Gimcheon, North Gyeongsang and proved why they are the current league leaders, winning 25-17, 25-18, 25-12 for a perfect 3-0 victory. 
The Suwon side’s cohesion in attack was clearly better than Hi-Pass, with four players — Laetitia Moma Bassoko, Wipawee Srithong, Lee Da-hyeon and Jeong Ji-yun — scoring a total of 43 points.  Friday’s win marked Hillstate’s fourth straight victory against Hi-Pass in the 2023-24 season, having previously managed three 3-1 wins against the Gimcheon side.  For Hi-Pass, it was yet another disappointing result. Last season’s championship winners have struggled so far this season, sitting in sixth on the seven-team table with just six wins as of Monday.  The Pink Spiders, meanwhile, began the new year with two wins over the Hwaseong IBK Altos and Gwangju AI Peppers.  The defending champion Pink Spiders failed to dominate against the Altos, but still pulled off a 3-2 win after a fierce contest on Thursday.  
The Incheon side added three more points on Sunday with a 3-1 against the Peppers and narrowed the gap with Hillstate by three points, but Hillstate have played one game fewer than the Pink Spiders as of Monday.  the fierce competition for the top spot between the two sides is similar to last season when they both displayed a dominant performance.  Hillstate also sat at the top of table in the early days of last season, only for the Pink Spider to snatch the title in the second half of the campaign.  The same could still happen this season, with three months still left to play.  Down in the middle of the table, third-place GS Caltex Seoul Kixx faced two contrasting results last week, winning Tuesday’s game against the last-place Peppers 3-0 and losing Saturday’s game against the Jung Kwan Jang Red Sparks 3-0.  This season’s Korea Volleyball Federation Cup winners Kixx have not been able to seriously challenge for the top spot yet, falling 10 points behind the second-place Pink Spiders.  The last-place Peppers, on the other hand, have still yet show any significant improvements despite being half way mark of the season.  The Gwangju side will need to pull off something special to climb up the table, as they sit 12 points behind sixth-place Hi-Pass.  he V League will continue this week as Hi-Pass face fourth-place Altos on Tuesday in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi. League leaders Hillstate will then play the Kixx on Wednesday at home, followed by the Red Sparks’ clash with the Peppers at 안전 Chungmu Gymnasium in Daejeon the following day.


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