KB Insurance loses 7th straight game, secures last place in season

No sparkle from the coach’s resignation. KB Insurance has clinched the last place in the men’s professional volleyball league before the sixth round.

KB Insurance lost to visiting OK Financial Group 1-3 (21-25, 25-20, 25-27, 23-25) in three sets in the fifth round of the Dodram 2023-2024 V-League Men’s Division at the Uijeongbu Indoor Gymnasium in Uijeongbu-si, Gyeonggi-do, on April 18.

The loss, their seventh in a row, sealed KB Insurance’s place at the bottom of the men’s division with a 4-25 record (19 points). Even if KB Insurance wins all seven of its remaining matches and sixth-place Hyundai Capital (13-16, 40 points) loses all of its matches, it will not be able to take the lead in the standings.

KB Insurance, whose head coach In-jung Huh resigned after 14 days, hoped to turn things around under Kim Hak-min. After losing a close full-set match against Hyundai Capital in the previous match, KB Insurance was the victim of a bad call and showed no luck on this day.

It was the fourth set with the set score at 1 to 2. After losing the previous three sets 25-27 on deuce, KB Insurance seemed to have found a way to score in the fourth set, trailing 21-23. An attack from Andres Biyena (registered name Biyena) hit the hands of OK Financial Group’s Park Won-bin and went out of bounds. The ball was clearly out on video replay. However, assistant referee Choi Sung-kwon and head referee Song In-seok ruled it ‘in’.

Acting head coach Kim Hak-min and the KB players claimed a blocker touchout. KB Insurance had already used up the video review, but the referee had the discretion to use the video review ex officio. However, referee Song In-seok gave a warning to Hwang Kyung-min, who protested strongly. KB Insurance’s matches this season have been plagued by bad calls, which has added to their disappointment. KB Insurance once again pulled within 23-24 after Woo Sang-jo’s fast attack and an opponent’s attack error, but Leonardo Leyva (nicknamed Leo) scored a back-attack to secure the three points for OK Financial Group.

OK Financial Group moved up to third place, ahead of KEPCO (15 wins, 14 losses, 44 points), as Leo led both teams with 38 points, while Chae Hwan and Shin Seong-jin contributed 14 and 10 points, respectively. KB Insurance was led by Biyena’s 31 points and Hwang Kyung-min and Hong Sang-hyuk’s 16 and 11 points, respectively, but the team was unable to capitalize on the loss.

Meanwhile, in the women’s division, GS Caltex has been on a downward spiral in the second half of the season.

GS Caltex fell 0-3 (21-25, 21-25, 21-25) in three sets to IBK IBK in the visiting Dodram 2023-2024 V-League Women’s Division at the Hwaseong General Indoor Gymnasium in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi-do, on April 18.

GS Caltex has yet to pick up a point against any team except last-place Pepper Savings Bank, starting with a shutout loss to Heungkuk Life in their first match in Round 5. Even Pepper Savings Bank could only manage two points in a tight full-set match, dropping them to fourth place with 16 wins and 13 losses (45 points).
In this match, head coach Cha Sang-hyun was replaced by Lim Dong-kyu due to elbow surgery, but GS Caltex was too lethargic without their leader.

They were outclassed in both height and serve. In the first set, IBK recorded five blocking points as Choi Jung-min and Kim Hyun-jung shut down GS Caltex’s offense. GS Caltex’s reception was also shaky, giving IBK three service aces in the first set alone. The final point came from Pyo Seung-ju, who hit Handa Hye with her serve to give IBK the first set.

The second set followed a similar pattern. After Hwang Min-kyung opened the set with two consecutive service aces, Brittany Abecrombie (real name Abecrombie)’s back-attack and Choi Jung-min’s fast-breaking attack kept the scoreboard ticking over. Only Giselle Silva (née Silva) struggled for GS Caltex, as a strong spike attack on Silva’s serve helped them reach the 20-point mark, but Choi Jung-min scored an ace and blocked a quick opener from Kwon Min-ji to end the second set.

The third set was also dominated by Abecrombie and Choi. Abecrombie led IBK’s offense with eight points on a 70% attack percentage. Choi Jung-min was a presence in the center with five points, including two blocked shots. After reaching the 20-point mark with a quick opener from Pyo Seung-ju, IBK completed the shutout victory with a back-attack from Abercrombie.

With 23 points from Abercrombie and 15 points from Choi Jung-min, IBK improved to 14-15 (43 points) and closed the gap on third-place Jung Kwan-jang (15-14, 47 points) to four points.

GS Caltex was led by Silva’s 27 points, a game-high for both teams, but came up short in the loss.


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