The starting setter, two outside hitters, and a foreign player have changed. Woori Card’s new era has begun.
In the 2023 free agency (FA) market, the Woori Card bleed heavily. Nah Kyung-bok, a 198cm outside hitter who wore the jersey of Woori Card as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015-16 rookie draft, made the first move. He left for KB Insurance. Of course, Na will return to the V-League after completing his military service, but the Woori Card set out to find a replacement. They put the puzzle together.
Firstly, they acquired middle blocker Park Jin-woo from KB Insurance as compensation for Na Kyung-bok. Then, they drafted 202-centimetre outside hitter Issei Otake (Japan) from the Asian quota, which is new this year, and acquired Matej Kok (Slovenia) through the foreign player tryout. He is the only ‘new face’ among this year’s foreign players. The 199cm Matej Kok is not a proven player in Korea, but his versatility as an outside hitter and apogee digester makes him very useful.메이저사이트
Recently, the Woori Cards have made two consecutive trades to bolster their outside hitters. On the 25th, they acquired outside hitter Han Sung-jung from KB Insurance in exchange for starting setter Hwang Seung-bin. Hwang Seung-bin joined the Woori Card from Samsung Fire last year, changing uniforms after just one season. Han Sung-jung returns to her hometown team. After being drafted by Woori Card as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017-18 rookie draft, Han Sung-jung was traded to KB Insurance in 2021. He is back in a Woori Card jersey.
The very next day, on the 26th, news of another trade broke. This time, it was with OK Financial Group. Woori Card outside hitter Song Hee-chae and OK Financial Group outside hitter Song Myung-geun were traded one-for-one.
With this, Woori Card lost their main setter Hwang Seung-bin, outside hitter Na Kyung-bok and Song Hee-chae, and added a new foreign player. That’s a change of four starters.
Woori Card head coach Shin Young-cheol told The Spike on the 26th, “It’s not easy to make a new edition. It’s a shame because it’s time to settle down. Trades will become less and less common. We are focusing on young players. I think the team will stabilise as we go along,” he said.
With new outside hitters Han Sung-jung and Song Myung-geun, Matej Kok and Otake, as well as the returning Kim Ji-han, the team has plenty of options in the front row. Shin also plans to examine several combinations during the off-season. “Myung-geun is a good attacking player. He’s also fast. When she joins the team, we’ll see if we want to use her as an outside hitter or as an outside hitter. Otake also played middle blocker until her third year of university. I’m going to check which position is better for me. It will be decided by comparing Kim Ji-han’s attacking power.”
The setters currently include four-year pro Kim Kwang-il, two-year pro Han Tae-joon, and Lee Seung-won, who will return from military service in August. Lee has played eight professional seasons since joining the organisation in 2014. However, he was traded from Samsung Fire in April last year while serving in the military. Shin said, “I haven’t seen him yet. His ball handling control is not bad. He has more height than Tae-joon. I’ll judge him when he joins the team.” “I’m trying to play faster now. That’s what I’m doing in training. I’m also going to watch Seung-won when he comes in.”
The new coach has emphasised speed as well as piecing together the puzzle with new members. The clock is ticking for Woori Card as they prepare for the 2023-24 season.