The commander is satisfied, GS Caltex 6R looks to turn things around

“It’s just that I moved around the court better than before. We have to be satisfied with that.”

Seoul GS Caltex head coach Cha Sang-hyun, 50, was eager to find positivity in the midst of a four-game losing streak, and the mood at GS Caltex is heavy.

The team suffered a shutout loss against Daejeon Jeongwanjang in the Dodram 2023-2024 V-League Women’s Division at Jangchung Gymnasium in Jung-gu, Seoul, on Nov. 21 with a set score of 0-3 (21-25, 23-25, 23-25).

The loss was even more painful for the team, who dropped three points after four rounds to Jeonggwanjang, who were 1-5 in five rounds and in a tight race for the top spot.

GS Caltex remained at 16 wins, 14 losses, and 45 points, unable to escape the chase of fifth-place Hwaseong IBK (43 points). Chung Kwan-jang, on the other hand, remained in sole possession of third place with 16 wins, 14 losses and 50 points.

Giselle Silva (real name Silva) poured in a team-high 28 points. The teams were evenly matched in attack percentage (43.69%-45.69%). There was no difference in blocks (4-6), serves (2-2), or digs (14-16). The same was true for receiving efficiency, 34.85%-34.92%.

The difference was in their focus in crucial situations, where Silva struggled, but on the flip side, no one else was as reliable. Outside hitter Kang So-hwi, the main gun, only scored six points on 21.74% attack success rate and 4.35% attack efficiency.

On the other hand, Jung Kwan-jang led the team with 21 points from Megawatti Puttiwi (registered name Mega) and Giovanna Malana (registered name Jia) with 15 points, while Lee So-young had nine points, Jung Ho-young had seven points, and Park Eun-jin had six points. Jia had the lowest offensive success rate among them at 36.59%, while the rest of the team had a high hit rate of over 40%.

GS Caltex made the debut of Asia Quarter substitute Darin Pinsuwan (30-registered name Darin), and setter Ahn Hye-jin, who returned from injury, has only been back for three games, so it’s hard to say that the team is in full form or in sync with its players. She started the match, but was subbed out in the second set and spent most of the third set on the bench.

After the match, coach Cha Sang-hyun said, “We lost 0-3, but the positive thing is that we moved around the court better than before. We have to be satisfied with that,” he said, adding, “They have a good composition. They are definitely a good team. They deserve to be where they are in terms of blockers and ability. I think we did a good job. We tried to win in a bad mood and we didn’t take the set, but I think there are still some positives to take away.”

In effect, they admitted that they are outclassed at this point. GS Caltex is a team that has lost a lot of momentum and the players are not in good shape.

In a way, it’s a hope that they can play better in Round 6. Darin started as an outside hitter on the day and had five points, one service ace, and a 36.36% attack percentage. Her attack percentage was only 10.68% as she was still finding her groove, but it was a promising performance.

Her receiving efficiency wasn’t bad either, at 38.89%, and she was especially strong on defense. She made 12 out of 13 dig attempts. She also had more digs than opposite 토토 hitter Kang So-hwi (10/12) and libero Handa Hye (8/11).

“I was wondering what kind of performance we would have,” said coach Cha Sang-hyun after the match, “The defense tempo and stuff like that looked good. The reception was also good without any errors.”

“I think he needs time to adjust and he must have been quite nervous, but I didn’t see much nervousness on his face,” he said. “It’s important how he performs in the remaining matches. For the first game, we did the basic things well, so I would like to evaluate it positively.”

GS Caltex has struggled with Asian quarters this season. First-round draft pick outside hitter Medi Yoku (Indonesia) left the team for tactical reasons. Setter Soraya Pomra (Thailand), who was subsequently brought in, failed to make the team due to personal reasons. Setter Iris Tolenada (real name Tolenada) was brought in, but she struggled to establish herself in the starting lineup this season, appearing in just three matches.

GS Caltex didn’t really get any help from AsiaQuarter. That’s why Darin’s performance in the first game is all the more impressive. Clearly, there were flashes of promise here, and the main setter Ahn Hye-jin is expected to gradually improve in terms of physical condition and coordination, which is why Cha focused on inspiring confidence in his players throughout the match, telling them they “can do it.”

The team will face Chung Kwan Jang in the sixth round, and even if they can’t win the third place, they can still hope to play spring volleyball through the semifinals. That’s why coach Cha Sang-hyun is hopeful despite the poor performance in the fifth round.

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