Volleyball queen wins tournament MVP in Europe

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Volleyball queen wins tournament MVP in Europe


Kim Yeon-koung

Korean volleyball queen Kim Yeon-koung was named the Most Valuable Player at the 2011-12 European Volleyball Confederation Champions League after vaulting her Turkish club Fenerbahce Universal Istanbul to its first European crown.

At the sport and concert complex Heydar Aliyev in Baku, Azerbaijan, Kim scored a match-high 23 points (18 spikes, 3 serve aces and 2 blocks) to help Fenerbahce overcome France’s RC Cannes 3-0 (25-14, 25-22, 25-20) in the finals on Sunday.

The win gave Fenerbahce, led by Brazilian Jose Roberto Guimaraes, its first Champions League trophy. The Turkish team finished third last season and runner-up in the 2009-10 season in the European club competition.

For Kim, the tournament puts her one step closer to being a global star of the sport. The 24-year-old was not only the tournament MVP, but also the top scorer and spiker. In 12 Champions League matches (40 sets), Kim bagged 228 points with 193 spikes, taking No. 1 in both categories. She also ranked fourth in serves with 18 aces.

Kim signed with Fenerbahce last June and became the first Korean female volleyballer to play in Europe since Cho Hye-jung went to Italy in 1979. Heading to Europe was a good challenge for the 192-centimieter (six-foot, four-inch) tall player after she had amassed so much success in Korea and Japan.

After making her professional debut with the Cheonan Heungkuk Life Pink Spiders in 2006, she dominated the local volleyball league, earning regular season MVPs and three championship series MVPs, while also helping her club to three V-League championship titles.

Kim moved to Japan in 2009 after signing with JT Marvelous. She led the team to the regular season championships in her Japanese debut season and became the top scorer. She was named Japanese V-League MVP last year, before heading to Turkey.

By Joo Kyung-don [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]
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