“I feel stronger about myself.”
South Korean women’s volleyball is in crisis. It had its worst performance in four international tournaments in 2023. From a total loss at the 2023 Volleyball Nations League (VNL), to a quarterfinal exit at the 2023 Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Women’s Championship, to a loss at the 2024 Paris Olympics qualifiers, to a fifth-place finish at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games. Notably, it’s been 17 years since Korea’s women’s team won a medal at an Asian Games since Doha 2006.
Still, there is hope. Since Kim Yeon-kyung (Heungkuk Life), the team hasn’t had a player who can unleash the offense, and these international tournaments have given them hope. GS Caltex’s Kang So-hwi is one of them. Kang So-hwi was the main outside hitter for the national team with her unstoppable attack and solid defense.
GS Caltex head coach Cha Sang-hyun said, “It’s clear that he has grown. She played a lot of matches with the pressure of a national team ace and experienced both high and low blocking. He seems more stable than last year. If we can come up with an offense that suits his tastes a little more, we’ll be able to play a more stable game on the bench.”
It’s still early in the season, but Kang So-hwi has helped the GS Caltex open with three straight wins, scoring 52 points in three games with a 46.08% attacking percentage and 44.44% receiving efficiency. In particular, in the game against Pepper Savings Bank at Pepper Stadium in Gwangju on the 27th, he recorded 25 points with a 48.94% attack success rate and 52.17% receiving efficiency, and together with foreign player Giselle Silva (registered name Silva), they combined for 65 points to help the team win.
Speaking after the game against Pepper Savings Bank, Kang So-hwi said, “From the moment we met, I knew it wouldn’t be an easy game. Yasmin and (Park) Jung-ah’s offense was so strong. Fortunately, we found our rhythm as the sets went on,” she said, adding, “I asked (Kim) Ji-won to put the ball up a lot, and that helped me feel better.”
Despite a string of poor performances in international tournaments, the team has learned a lot from them.토스카지노 주소
“I lost a lot, but I realized that I was stronger because I faced strong opponents. In international competitions, blockers are tall. But in the V-League, I see a lot of gaps. I feel like I can easily score offensive points. I don’t feel intimidated when I’m blocked, and I think that has become my strength.”
Kang So-hwi wears the number 97 on the national team instead of the number 10. No one has worn the number 10 since Kim Yeon-kyung retired from the national team. During the Hangzhou Asian Games, Kang So-hwi was asked by a reporter, “Why don’t you wear number 10 for the national team?” He said, “Number 10 is Yeon-kyung’s sister’s number.
Kang So-hwi said, “I think the number 10 is still a bit of a burden. Number 97 is not bad. I’m going to wear number 97 for the time being,” he laughed.