Pink Spiders win 2022-23 V League title
The Incheon Heungkuk Life Pink Spiders won the 2022-23 V League title on Wednesday with a 3-0 victory over the Hwaseong IBK Altos, taking the trophy with a game still left to be played.
The Pink Spiders went nine points clear on top of the table with 79 after Wednesday’s win against the Altos at Hwaseong Gymnasium in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi, locking in the league title before their last game on Sunday.
The Incheon side only needed one point in Wednesday’s game to win the league, which would have been possible even with a 3-2 loss as V League rules stipulate that a team that loses 3-2 also takes one point.
The Pink Spiders, however, were out in full force from the beginning as they grabbed the first set 25-15. They did not back down in the second set either, winning 25-13, followed by another win in the third set 25-16 to secure the coveted league title.
This is the Pink Spiders’ first league title since the 2018-19 season, when they also won the championship.
The league title comes despite the club unexpectedly dropping their head coach Kwon Soon-chan in the middle of the season.
They played under then-interim head coach Kim Dae-kyung for over a month, still playing well as they managed a perfect 3-0 victory over then-league leaders Suwon Hyundai Engineering & Construction Hillstate, before snatching the top spot on Feb. 15.
The Pink Spiders maintained their success even after Marcello Abbondanza took charge of the team on Feb. 19, picking up multiple 3-0 wins.
Kim Yeon-koung, who rejoined the Pink Spiders ahead of the 2022-23 season, won the league for the first time in 15 years. Kim had won the title three times before, in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
She was one of the reasons behind the team’s success this season, as she led her side to multiple crucial wins with the highest attack success rate in the league — 45.76 percent as of Thursday.
The Pink Spiders will now be facing runners-up Hillstate with only bragging rights on the line — the two sides have already secured first and second place.
The postseason will take place shortly after the last game. The Pink Spiders have landed in the championship, with the opponent to be decided after the playoffs between Hillstate and either the third-place team or the winner of a so-called semi-playoff.
The semi-playoff will take place if the gap between third-place Gimcheon Korea Expressway Hi-Pass and fourth-place Daejeon KGC is three points or less at the end of the season.
As of press time, Hi-Pass have 57 points and KGC have 53 points. KGC’s last league game was set to be played against Hillstate later Thursday evening.
Hi-Pass will directly advance to the playoffs if KGC fails to earn one point in their last game.
BY PAIK JI-HWAN [email@example.com]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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