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‘Scene Stealer’ Kim Ji-han’s big success, ‘Jump’ to 3rd place on Woori Card

Woori Card defeated OK Financial Group with a set score of 3-2 (24-26 25-22 20-25 25-21 15-8) in the Dodram 2022-2023 V-League home game held at Jangchung Gymnasium in Seoul on the 22nd.

Woori Card (14-9), which was in 4th place before the game, recorded 37 points and took down OK Financial Group, which was in 3rd place, and moved up a notch. The two teams have the same points, but the rankings were reversed as Woori Card took the lead in the number of wins.

In addition, Woori Card recently beat OK Financial Group, which was ranked third following Korean Air and Hyundai Capital, which ranked first and second, and is riding a tremendous upward trend with three consecutive victories. 

Woori Card-OK Financial Group’3rd place battle’… 

OK Financial Group was better at starting the cold-melted game. In the first set alone, he took the lead by catching 9 blocks. Woori Card pursued a deuce match, but Park Seung-soo and Jin Sang-heon blocked the attack of the opponent’s main gun, Riverman Agamez, and won the first set.

In the second set, Woori Card was equally punished with blocking. With Song Hee-chae and Lee Sang-hyun at the forefront, he blocked OK Financial Group’s attack with 7 blocks. It was because both teams’ serve was so strong that it shook the opponent’s receive. 

Entering the 3rd set, OK Financial Group took the lead again as Leonardo Leyba Martinez (registered name Leo)’s attack revived. Leo broke through the blocking of Woori Card by scoring 8 points in only the 3rd set. 

OK Financial Group, which gained momentum, seemed to be victorious, leading 10-4 in the fourth set. However, Woori Card, 안전놀이터 driven into a predicament, took out Song Hee-chae, who was stable in defense, and threw in Kim Ji-han, who had a good attack, to show the effect and went in pursuit. Woori Card, which revived the atmosphere with Kim Ji-han’s 3 consecutive serve aces, succeeded in reversing and dramatically won the 4th set.

Unlike the fierce match between the two teams, the 5th set was bland. With a 4-2 lead, Woori Card managed to score 6 consecutive points, including Agamez’ sub ace, and ran away. When the score gap widened to 10-2, OK Financial Group virtually gave up the chase and the game ended with Woori Card’s victory.

For Woori Card, Agamez led the attack with 23 points, the most in the team, and Na Gyeong-bok scored 22 points, achieving a record of 3,000 points (3,018 points) for the 22nd time in the V-League men’s division.

However, striker Kim Ji-han, born in 1999, appeared as a ‘new stealer’. In the aftermath of the recent Corona 19 infection, Kim Ji-han, who played as a substitute until the 3rd set that day, started in the 4th set and changed the atmosphere at once by hitting 3 consecutive sub-aces in a crisis where Woori Card fell behind 4-10. 

In the 5th set, where the win or loss was at stake, Kim Ji-han played a decisive role in the victory by raising 12 points, including 4 sub-aces and 2 blockings, by blocking an attack by Song Myeong-keun of OK Financial Group following a bold double attack.

Kim Ji-han, who played for KEPCO until last season, was a promising prospect whose potential was recognized, but he did not get many opportunities due to fierce competition with Seo Jae-deok, Park Cheol-woo, and Lim Seong-jin, and was traded to Woori Card this season.

Coach Shin Young-chul, who prefers aggressive volleyball, boldly appointed Kim Ji-han, and Kim Ji-han, who has a strong serve and spike, is rapidly developing into a main striker by showing off his skills to his heart’s content in the new team.

It is noteworthy whether Kim Ji-han, whose weak point of defense is getting better with increasing opportunities to participate, will lead the ‘generational change’ of men’s professional volleyball strikers beyond Woori Card’s advance into spring volleyball.

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