Moma+Yang Hyo-jin+Wipawi combine for 46 points…Hyundai E&C beats last-place Pepper with ‘Yasmin’s 20 points,’ jumps to 2nd place

Hyundai E&C moves into second place.

Hyundai E&C, coached by Kang Sung-hyung, secured a 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-21) straight-sets victory over Pepper Savings Bank in the second round of the Dodram 2023-24 V-League Women’s Division at Pepper Stadium in Gwangju on Wednesday.

With the win and three points, Hyundai E&C improved to 20 points (8W-3L) and moved into second place, ahead of 토토 GS Caltex (20 points, 7W-3L).

Leticia Moma Basoko (née Moma) scored 21 points, while Yang Hyo-jin, Wipawi Sithong (née Wipawi), Jung Ji-yoon, and Lee Da-hyun added 13, 12, 9, and 6 points, respectively.

Pepper Savings Bank suffered its third straight loss. Yasmin Bedardt (real name Yasmin) led the way with a team-high 20 points, but Park Jung-ah and Lee Han-bi only managed nine and six points, respectively. However, Park Eun-seo’s performance as a substitute was remarkable. She came off the bench to score nine points.

Pepper Savings Bank started with setter Lee Ig-eun, outside hitters Park Jung-ah and Lee Han-bi, middle blockers MJ Phillips (registered name Phillips) and Ha Hye-jin, outside hitter Yasmin, and libero Oh Ji-young.

Hyundai E&C started with setter Kim Dain, outside hitter Jung Jeong-yoon-Wipawi, middle blockers Yang Hyo-jin and Lee Da-hyun, opposite spiker Moma, and libero Kim Dain.

Early in the first set, Yasmin’s attack exploded and Park Jung-ah’s service ace gave Pepper Savings Bank a 4-1 lead. The team continued to attack Jung Jeong-yoon. Hyundai E&C struggled in the early part of the set as their attacks didn’t work. Pepper Savings Bank went from 9-7 to 11-7 with Park’s back-to-back kills. After a long rally at 13-11, Yasmin blocked Jeong’s attack and Park blocked Jeong’s follow-up attack at 15-12.

Hyundai E&C narrowed the gap to one point at 14-18, thanks to an opening by Moma, a quick attack by Jeong Ji-yoon, and a kill by Yang Hyo-jin. It was not the end of the story. Yang Hyo-jin’s fastball and block, Moma’s attack, and Park Jung-ah’s attack error gave the team the lead for good. It all started with Wipawi’s serve. Yasmin, who gained momentum in the final set, overcame the onslaught of Pepper Savings Bank, and won the first set with a late attack from Moma.

Pepper Savings Bank seemed to take the early lead in the second set. At 1-1, Park Jung-ah, Lee Han-bi, and Yasmin scored consecutive points to take a 4-1 lead. However, Hyundai E&C tied the score at 3-7 with an open attack by Jung Jeong-yoon, two consecutive blocks by Wipawi, and a service ace by Jung Jeong-yoon. Wipawi then scored an attack point to take the lead, and back-to-back kills by Moma and Lee Idahyun gave Hyundai a 10-7 lead. In the second set, Wipawi continued her strong performance. At 12-10, she scored back-to-back points to give her team a boost. Hyundai E&C responded with another big run of points, this time from Yang Hyo-jin and Moma. Pepper Savings Bank was led by Yasmin, but lacked support from its domestic players.

Pepper Savings brought in Park Eun-seo and Park Sarang instead of Lee Han-bi and Lee Ig-eun. Still, it was no easy task to close the gap. Hyundai E&C had Wipawi continue to add strength, while Yang Hyo-jin dominated the center. Lee Da-hyun also started to come alive. Hyundai E&C took the second set with back-to-back kills from Moma at 23-18.

Pepper Savings Bank changed its starting lineup for the third set. Park Sawa and Park Eun-seo, who had been on the court since the middle of the second set, started. Pepper Savings Bank had a good start as Park Eun-seo was strong in the offense. However, Hyundai E&C came right back at 7-9 with an open attack from Wipawi, a kill from Yasmin, and a kill from Moma that capped off a long rally. Following the first and second sets, they regained the initiative they had lost earlier in the set. Pepper Savings Bank, who could lose the set and the match, did not give up. They tied the game. After the midway point, it was a seesaw game.

After the second technical timeout, I started to worry. The purpose was to strengthen the defense. Pepper Savings Bank went from 17-17 to 19-17 thanks to back-to-back kills by Park Jung-ah and Park Eun-seo. They reached the 20-point mark first when Ha Hye-jin blocked Moma’s follow-up attack, but Hyundai E&C immediately tied the score. Moma scored on a follow-up attack, Wipawi’s attack was blocked by Yang Hyo-jin, and Yasmin’s attack error tied the score.

Despite being down at the beginning of each set, HMC remained focused and defeated Pepper Savings Bank to move up to second place in the standings with three points.

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