Choi Tae-woong sacked…Kwon Young-min, KEPCO coach

“I hope you can return after a little rest”

Kwon Young-min, head coach of KEPCO, expressed his sadness at the news of Choi Tae-woong’s dismissal from Hyundai Capital.

KEPCO swept OK Financial Group 3-0 (25-21 25-19 25-15) in straight sets in the men’s Dodram 2023-2024 V-League at Sangryoksu Gymnasium in Ansan on Nov. 21.

Fourth-ranked KEPCO (9-8, 27 points), who had lost two in a row after a seven-game winning streak, turned back the victory clock. With the three points, they rejoined the race for the top spot.

KEPCO out-blocked OK Financial Group 13-1 on the night.

Tice led the way with 17 points, followed by Seo Jae-duk with 12 points, including four blocks, and Shin Young-seok with eight points on five blocks. Lim Sung-jin also chipped in with 10 points.

Coach Kwon Young-min said after the match, “It was difficult in the middle of the first set as our reception was shaky, but Im Sung-jin scored important points to turn it around. “The first set was critical, and we were lucky to win because our opponent (main hitter) Leo and main setter Lee Min-gyu were out,” Kwon said.

“They used to have a high percentage of Leo’s attacks, but this season, they’ve gone with domestic players. We tried to block mainly domestic players, and it worked well. The serve was also well executed,” he said.

KEPCO will take two days off before facing Hyundai Capital on the 24th. Hyundai Capital, which is ranked sixth this season, announced the dismissal of Choi Tae-woong, who had been with the team for nine seasons, shortly before the start of the match.

Kwon said, “Choi Tae-woong is a senior who I like and have learned a lot from. I’m sorry to see him go, but I hope he can take a break and return to coaching another team. I hope you can take a break and return as a manager of another team.”

He continued, “Hyundai Capital (who meet on the 24th) will be without their coach, so I think we can either take that as an opportunity to be more united, or we can come out in a worse shape. We need to prepare ours well and be careful,” he warned.

OK Financial Group lost to KEPCO on the same day, their fifth straight loss.

“It was a disappointing loss, but mentally I think the players were united,” said OK Financial Group head coach Masashi Ogino. “We lost two setters to injuries, so I don’t know how much we can recover (for the next match), but we need to improve our success rate on side attacks and prepare for a win.”

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