Hong-Suk Choi shines as Korea see off Czech Republic


The Hague, Netherlands, 17 Jun, 2017 - 17 points in just three sets from Hong-Suk Choi were enough to take Korea to a straight-set win over Czech Republic on Saturday.
Jan Hadrava was once again the top scorer for Czech Republic, putting 11 points on the board.

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From the beginning it was clear that both teams were hungry for the win. The score evened up to 7-7, after which Korea started making the difference. At 9-11, Czech coach Miguel Fernandes called for a time out, but Korea played sharp and steady, thus building out its lead prosperously (15-20, 17-23). An ace of Hong Suk Choi made Korea win its first set on Dutch ground at 18-25.

Though Czech Republic immediately created a comfortable lead in the second act (5-2, 11-7), Korea fought itself back into the game and managed to level again at 12-12. With Choi on service position, the Asians took over the lead at 13-14. When Yung-Suk Chin spiked the Mikasa outside the Czech field, Slovakia came aside (19-19) and with substitute Adam Bartos on serve, the men of Fernandes scored two big points in a row (22-20). After an amazing rally, a well place spike of Kang-Won Lee brought 23-23 on the score board. Czech Ales Holubec served the Asian their set point by spiking the ball in the net (23-24). In the exciting final phase, Korea missed its first two set points, but cashed the third one at 25-27.

Despite of the daring save of Jan Hadrava, Korea leads at the first obligatory break (7-8). The Korean defence worked overtime, but could not prevent the Czech creating a modest gap (13-11). With quick play, Korea managed to level again at 16-16, but after a Korean touch, the difference was three again (19-16). Korea did not give in and got rewarded for its fighting spirit when Shin spiked another point for his team (19-19). When the attempt of Malek Zmrhal landed outside the lines, Fernandes called for a time out (20-21). An ace of Choi brought Czech Republic in the danger zone (20-23). Choi hit his team to set point, but his serve landed outside the line. When his Slovakian colleague Bartos did the same, the match was played: 20-25.

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