KEPCO’s 2023 was a roller coaster. After an ambitious start to the season that saw them hailed as Korean Air’s arch-rival, the team fell into a nine-game losing streak and faced the prospect of abandoning the season. But just before they hit rock bottom, KEPCO found their wings and finished the eventful 2022-2023 season in third place, securing their first playoff win in franchise history. It was a season of hope and promise, even if it didn’t quite reach the top.
In the upcoming season, KEPCO will be looking to reach their first championship game and win the title. With the exception of Gong Jae-hak, who was sidelined with an injury during the Cup, there is little loss of talent from last season. They’ve added libero Ryohei Iga, who can help with the weakness of receiving, and they’re also expected to add Kim Dong-young and Lee Si-mon after they retire during the season. This is a team that could give Korean Air a serious run for its money.
Introducing our foreign players
Ryohei Iga, the shield of ties & lucky breaks
After playing well last season, Tais Dulhos, the mainstay of the team’s defense, will continue his journey with KEPCO for another season. Tais was a key offensive player for KEPCO, as he showed tremendous improvement on his serve (0.476 serves per set, 6th in the league), which was a fatal weakness during his time with the Samsung Fire, and ranked in the top half of nearly every offensive metric, including 3rd in attack percentage (54.69%), 1st in open (48.16%), and 2nd in points (882). However, there are still some concerns about her ability to make team sacrifices in reception and the fact that she missed the second half of the season and spring volleyball due to a knee injury.
Ryohei Iga was a lucky second-round pick in the Asia Quarterfinal Draft and was called up without hesitation by head coach Kwon Young-min. He was the starting libero for the Panasonic Panthers in Japan’s V.League, so he has solid receiving and defense skills. She’s also an influential player on the court, actively participating in call plays. Her familiarity with the Mikasa ball is also something to look forward to.
Seo had a rough season last season, switching between outside hitter and outside hitter. This happened as first-year head coach Kwon Young-min struggled to establish a solid Plan A. He was no longer able to switch spots. Seo’s decline was understandable, as he was no longer the 20-something Seo Jae-Deok who could play anywhere on defense and offense. Both his receiving and attacking efficiencies were below 30% (29.6% receiving efficiency, 25.76% attacking efficiency). Fortunately, once the wing combination of Im Seong-jin, Taith, and Seo Jae-duk was finalized as Plan A and Seo’s position was fixed as an outside hitter, her performance was relatively stable.
This season, Seo hasn’t had to move around much. The team’s overall system hasn’t changed much due to the re-signing of Taith. On the contrary, the addition of Ryohei Iga, who is a reliable receiver, will take some of the pressure off of him, and it’s good to see that he and Ha Seung-woo have been able to work together since the start of the off-season. The change to Mikasa could also be beneficial for Seo Jae-Deok, who performed well when he was on the national team. Let’s see how powerful Seo Jae-duk will be now that he doesn’t have to wander.스포츠토토
Firepower is second to none
- The explosive power of the TICE-Seo Jae-Deok-Lim Sung-Jin trio
- Fierce fast attackers Shin Young-seok and Cho Geun-ho, with Park Chul-woo in the mix
- Bold game management by Ha Seung-woo who coordinates them
Perennial reception anxiety, can one Ryohei solve it?
- Reception anxiety was a problem all last season, and the team’s system hasn’t changed much.
- Too much pressure on Ryohei in his first season in Korea
- Mikasaro’s change of scenery will also affect the receiving options of domestic players
Kwon Young-min’s second season after re-signing with the team
- Kwon has a guaranteed multi-year contract, unlike last season when he only had a one-year contract.
- A season to showcase his volleyball without being overwhelmed by circumstances
- Unlike last season, the team was able to prepare with Ha Seung-woo from the start of the offseason.
Main players have to face multiple pressures
- Park Chul-woo could struggle in his first season after switching positions
- Shin Young-seok has an ankle injury that needs to be constantly managed
- Gong Jae-hak’s departure means Lim Sung-jin will have to carry the load all the way to Ishimon