Undefeated Hyundai Hillstate take ninth win of season

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Undefeated Hyundai Hillstate take ninth win of season

Yang Hyo-jin of Suwon Hyundai Engineering & Construction Hillstate, right, plays the ball against Pepper Savings Bank AI Peppers on Saturday at Pepper Stadium in Gwangju. [YONHAP]

Yang Hyo-jin of Suwon Hyundai Engineering & Construction Hillstate, right, plays the ball against Pepper Savings Bank AI Peppers on Saturday at Pepper Stadium in Gwangju. [YONHAP]

 
Undefeated since the start of the 2021-22 V League season, Suwon Hyundai Engineering & Construction Hillstate are on a nine-game winning streak, clinching a win against Korea Expressway Corporation Hi-pass on Wednesday.
 
Hillstate have dominated ever since the V League season kicked off on Oct. 16. The last three games, against GS Caltex Seoul Kixx on Nov. 10, Pepper Savings Bank AI Peppers on Saturday and Korea Expressway Corporation Hi-pass on Wednesday, were complete shutouts, won in three straight sets.
 
Olympian Yang Hyo-jin was the the Suwon club's star player on Wednesday, scoring the most points of the match, 20, and raising two blocks.
 
Veteran player Yang has been popular for some time, but has recently been getting more attention thanks to the women’s national team’s fourth-place finish at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games.
 
Yang turned professional in 2007, debuting with Hillstate, and has been playing with the club ever since. Not only is Yang a franchise star, she at one point topped the board for the most number of blocks for 11 consecutive seasons.
 
However, her block form wavered last season, as Han Song-yi of Daejeon KGC took the top seat while Yang ranked at fifth for number of blocks. As Hillstate’s most capped player, the club took a blow with Yang’s diminished form and finished at the bottom of the standings last season, with 11 wins and 19 losses.
 
Suwon Hyundai Engineering & Construction Hillstate players celebrate winning against Pepper Savings Bank AI Peppers on Saturday at Pepper Stadium in Gwangju. [YONHAP]

Suwon Hyundai Engineering & Construction Hillstate players celebrate winning against Pepper Savings Bank AI Peppers on Saturday at Pepper Stadium in Gwangju. [YONHAP]

 
Hillstate have only won the V League championship title twice, in the 2010-11 season and again in the 2015-16 season. But this season, great teamwork is getting the club back up on the standings and also closer to the club’s longest winning streak of 10 games. The longest winning streak of any club on the women’s V League is 14 consecutive wins, by the Kixx in the 2009-10 season.
 
The Kixx are a strong team — they achieved the first ever treble in women’s professional volleyball history this March, taking the Championship title after winning three games of the best-of-five series, after winning the 2020-21 regular season title and also the pre-season KOVO Cup.
 
However, this season, Hillstate seems to be invincible against the Kixx, the Kixx having dropped both their matches against the Suwon club. But the Kixx has only three losses so far, having also lost against the Korea Ginseng Corporation Pro Volleyball Club, and stands at third place.
 
Hillstate will next play Industrial Bank of Korea Altos on Saturday, looking to extend their winning streak to 10 matches.

BY YUN SO-HYANG [yun.sohyang@joongang.co.kr]
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