Home-court advantage was not enough to help Korea past undefeated Italy in World Volleyball League action Sunday in Incheon.
Korea was unable to match the European side’s powerful attacks and strong blocking, as Italy swept the first two sets (25-15, 25-22) while the Koreans struggled to find their rhythm.
After the second set, Korea came back strong with good serving and strong defense, notching two sets (25-21, 25-22) against the world volleyball powerhouse. But the Italians revived quickly with their strong serves and claimed the fifth set 15-10 to extend their unbeaten record to six games in the 2011 FIVB World League.
Team Korea reacts after its loss to Italy. (Yonhap News)
Italy also beat Korea 3-1 (23-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-20) in the first leg on Saturday.
Despite the defeat, Korea manager Park Ki-won praised his players.
“Our team generally did a great job in today’s match. The biggest plus is that we got two sets against Italy even though the team is not in the best condition,” he said.
“In the third and fourth sets our players were very strong with high concentration and strong organizational power. I am very glad we gained an additional point even though we lost our match today,” Kwon Young-min of Korea added.
The FIVB World Volleyball League started May 27 and continues through July 10.
In the 2010 competition, Korea finished dead last after losing all 12 of its group ties. But the side is currently sitting in second place in Group D with six games played and a 3-3 record.
By Oh Kyu-wook (firstname.lastname@example.org