‘Three consecutive losses’ GS Caltex is at stake even in fourth place

The Industrial Bank of Korea beat GS Caltex, where manager Cha Sang-hyun was away at home.

The IBK Industrial Bank of Korea Altos, led by head coach Kim Ho-chul, won a set score of 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-21, 25-21) in a home game against GS Caltex KIXX in the fifth round of the Dodram 2023-2024 V-League at Hwaseong Indoor Stadium on the 18th. Industrial Bank of Korea, which had three points against GS Caltex, which failed to accompany coach Cha Sang-hyun to the away game in Hwaseong after undergoing elbow surgery, continued its dream of becoming a spring volleyball player (14 wins and 15 losses) by narrowing the gap with fourth-ranked GS Caltex to two points.

Industrial Bank of Korea led the attack with Brittney Abercrombie scoring 23 points with a 60 percent attack success rate, while Choi Jung-min, the top blocking player (0.86 per set), also scored 15 points, including five blocks. On the other hand, GS Caltex struggled hard with Giselle Silva scoring 27 points with a 51.02% success rate, but lost three points to IBK as it fell far behind 3-11. GS Caltex has been sluggish in five games in five rounds, including three consecutive losses, recently, and has turned on a “red light” to advance to volleyball in the spring.

GS’s performance in the women’s first treble declined

GS Caltex achieved the “treble” by winning the regular league, championship game, and cup competition in the 2020-2021 season, in which “Soso sisters” Lee So-young (Red Sparks, head of the court), Kang So-hwi, and Mereta Lutz, the tallest foreign player in history, played at 205 centimeters. GS Caltex was the first team in history to win all of the regular league, championship game, and cup competitions, as there are often unified winners who win both the regular league and the championship championship, but the V-League championship candidates rarely do their best in the cup competition.
However, GS Caltex’s winning members, who are enjoying their heyday in the club’s history, were separated after the end of the season. Lutz, the team’s main striker, chose to take on a new challenge when he moved to the Japanese league, and Lee So-young, co- MVP and captain of the championship, also moved to the chairman position after receiving exceptional treatment of 1.95 billion won for three years. In addition, Park Hye-min transferred to the chairman position through a trade, and Lee Hyun-setter joined Pepper Savings Bank AI Peppers through a special designation for a new team.

GS Caltex has named Cameroonian Apogit Spiker Rettizia Moma Vasoko (Hyundai Engineering & Construction Hillstate) as its new foreign player. As Moma was 184 centimeters tall, the shortest among foreign players who played in the 2021-2022 season, and she is in her late 20s, many were skeptical whether she would be able to fill in for Lutz’s position. However, until the season ended prematurely due to COVID-19, Moma was an active foreign player, ranking first in scoring (819 points) and attack success rate (47.3 percent).

GS Caltex, which finished the season in third place in the 2021-2022 season, received FA status with main setter Ahn Hye-jin and “saviour” Yoo Se-yeon. Since both players were essential players in the team, they signed an FA contract with Ahn Hye-jin on the condition of a three-year salary of 280 million won and a three-year salary of 250 million won with Yoo Se-yeon. GS Caltex renewed its contract with Moma, a foreign player who showed the best performance, but faced the season without external reinforcement due to its focus on holding two internal FA players.

GS Caltex, which won its fifth championship by confirming the growth of Moon Ji-yoon and Kwon Min-ji in the cup competition, struggled when the V League opened. While Hyundai Engineering & Construction and Heungkuk Life Pink Spiders formed a “two-way structure” and the Korea Expressway Corporation’s high pass was doing well, GS Caltex moved around the middle and lower ranks and failed to advance to the spring volleyball, ranking fifth among the seven clubs. It was a very disappointing performance for GS Caltex, which maintained its top position for four consecutive seasons from the 2018-2019 season.

1 win and 4 losses in 5 games in the second half of the year

GS Caltex, which gave up renewing contract with MOMA after the end of the season, sought to recruit Park Jeong-ah (Pepper Savings Bank) and Bae Yuna (Korea Expressway Corporation) to reinforce its stature in the FA market. However, GS Caltex ended the FA market by recruiting Jung Dae-young, the oldest player in the league, and by securing internal FA civilization and Han Soo-jin. For foreign players, it nominated Apojit Spiker Giselle Silva, who has dual citizenship in Cuba and Azerbaijan, and for Asian quarter, it chose outside hitter Medi Yoku from Indonesia.
GS Caltex replaced the Asian quarter with Soraya Pomra, a former member of the Thai national team, after Ahn Hye-jin’s setter, who had chronic shoulder problems during the off-season, underwent surgery. As Pomra had a baby just before joining the team, however, he replaced the Asian quarter with Iris Tolenada, a setter for the Philippines national team. As GS Caltex changed its players for the third time since the first season of the Asian quarter, its growing anxiety grew and consequently, GS Caltex’s farming in the Asian quarter this season failed.

Despite the absence of Ahn Hye-jin, the main setter, and the lack of skills of players in the Asian quarter, GS Caltex ranked third (15 wins and 9 losses) through the fourth round thanks to Silva’s strong performance, who led the way in scoring (849 points), attack success rate (46.34 percent), and serve (0.36 points per set). As Heungkuk Life Insurance was shaken by foreign player replacement issues, it seemed that it could rise to second place depending on its performance in the second half. However, as of Wednesday when it played five games in the second half of the year, the score gap between Heungkuk Life Insurance and GS Caltex has widened to a whopping 19 points.

GS Caltex started the second half with a 0-3 loss to Heungkuk Life Insurance, which was joined by Willow Johnson, but lost to Pepper Savings Bank in nine games on Wednesday, narrowly winning the game 3-2. GS Caltex also gave up three points each, losing 1-3 and 1-3, 0-3 to Hyundai Engineering & Construction on Wednesday, Korea Expressway Corporation on Wednesday, and Industrial Bank of Korea on Wednesday. While GS Caltex was in a deep slump, Chung had four wins and one loss in five games in five rounds, giving up even the third place.

While runner-up Heungkuk Life had 14 points from five games in the fifth round, GS Caltex fell to fourth place with only two points from five games in the fifth round. If GS Caltex’s slump continues in the remaining games, it may worry about falling to fifth place, the same as last season, let alone retaking third place.

GS Caltex, whose height is considered the biggest weakness with 1.74 blocks (7th) per set, will face off with Chung Kwan-jang, who has national middle blockers Jung Ho-young and Park Eun-jin, on the 21st.

BY: 토토

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