One of the strengths of Korean Air, which has built a “dynasty” by winning the V League title for the past three consecutive seasons, is its experienced setters. Han and Yoo Kwang-woo, both born in 1985, are among the best in the country. It’s hard for a rookie to get a chance to play between them.
Korean Air setter Jung Jin-hyuk, 23, has spent the past two seasons in complete obscurity. He donned the Korean Air jersey as the third overall pick in the 2021-2022 rookie draft while attending Hongik University, but he only appeared in four matches and six sets: three matches and four sets in 2021-2022 and one match and two sets in 2022-2023. The bar was high for the seniors.
But Jeong Jin-hyuk has made his presence felt in the starting lineup at the 2023 Asian Volleyball Club Championship in Manama, Bahrain.
Korean Air’s main setter Han accompanied the team but was left out of the roster to rehabilitate his knee. Yoo Kwang-woo started the three preliminary group matches and the first match of the quarterfinals against Suntory Sunbirds (Japan). Jung’s chance came in the final match of the quarterfinals against Bayang Hongor (Mongolia) on Nov. 19 after the team was eliminated from the competition. He started for the first time in the tournament and helped them win the set 3-1. He showed a variety of game operations utilizing the left, right, and center of the court. On the 20th, he also started against Sporting Club (Kuwait) in the 5th¤6th place match and played the role of field commander. Although they lost the match 1-3, it was a nail-biter that kept them on their toes until the end.
“It was a good experience to feel the responsibility of leading the match,” Jung Jin-hyuk told the press after the match against Bayang Honggor. “It was a satisfying match,” he said, “I was able to play the way I wanted to play, and I was able to do what I had practiced in practice.
In the V-League, they are more familiar with the warm-up zone than on the court. “I study how to play as a setter who leads a team (by watching the seniors play),” Jung said, emphasizing that “the toss itself is an individual skill, so I work hard on it in practice.” “The two seniors usually give me a lot of advice on blocking positions, switches, and game management,” he said.
Jung Jin-hyuk has been playing with outside hitters Lee Jun (left) and Jeong Jeong-yong since their days at Hongik University. “Even after joining the pros, we’ve been working together a lot in practice, but it’s almost the first time we’ve played together full-time in practice, so it reminded me of our college days,” he said. 먹튀검증