The South Korean men’s volleyball team (ranked 27th in the world), led by Lim Do-heon (51), narrowly defeated Thailand (71st), led by Park Ki-won (72), in a nail-biting match to advance to the 7th-8th place match.
South Korea defeated Thailand 3-1 (25-19, 25-23, 23-25, 31-29) in straight sets in the men’s volleyball 7th-10th place match at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games at the China Textile City Sports Center Gymnasium in Shaoxing, Zhejiang, China on Friday. With the victory, Korea, which has won two straight matches following its win over Bahrain, will play Indonesia (57th) in the 7th-8th place match at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The Korean team has already failed to achieve its goal. A shutout loss to 51st-ranked Pakistan in the quarterfinals at the same venue on Nov. 22 ended their hopes of advancing to the higher rounds and secured their first medal in 61 years since the 1962 Jakarta Games (5th place). However, the remaining matches will not be wasted. Defeats to India (73rd) and Pakistan, two teams they had considered beneath them, showed the growth of Asian volleyball, and the world ranking they now held meant little.
They also struggled against 71st-ranked Thailand. The first set was easily won by Han, who served two aces, and Na Kyung-bok, who scored four points. The second set was a close affair. Tied at 17-17 midway through the game, Korea dropped three points to take a 20-point lead. They quickly responded with an open attack by Lim Dong-hyuk, a block by Kim Gyu-min, and a point by Jeong Jung-yong. In the final minutes, Na Kyung-bok and Heo Soo-bong shined on both sides. Heo Su-bong broke through the opponent’s blocking wall to score, and Na Kyung-bok tied the score at 23-23 with an open attack. Thailand called a quick timeout, but Jeong Jeong-yong’s service ace saved a set point and Na Kyung-bok’s hard-hitting kill took the second set.
The third set was also difficult. They reached the 20-point mark with a missed serve from their opponent, but were unable to pull away and conceded a 23-24 lead after an error by Na Kyung-bok. In addition, Jeong Jeong-yong’s attack error cost him the third set.
The fourth set was a bloodbath. Thailand took the lead from the beginning and scored the first 20 points due to Na Kyungbok’s defense. However, Thailand continued to make mistakes, resulting in deuces and a back-and-forth battle. Then, at 29-29, Jeong 토토 Jung-yong’s service ace and Na Kyung-bok’s hard hit inside the Thai court ended the match in dramatic fashion in the fourth set.
Na Kyung-bok was the ace of the match with 19 points, followed by Heo Soo-bong with 11 and Lim Dong-hyuk and Jeong Jung-yong with 10 each. Setter Han was also active on the offense and defense, totaling six points with three service aces and two blocked shots.