Seoul, Korea, June 3, 2017 – Slovenia overcame Korea 3-1 (25-23, 23-25, 25-14, 25-23) on Saturday thanks to a masterful performance from Tine Urnaut
, who scored 23 points for the 2015 European Championship silver medallists.
Korea put up a brave fight but were overwhelmed at crucial moments in the game as Urnaut, Alen Pajenk
and Mitja Gasparini
and Slovenia’s overall height pressured the home side with some devastating serves and impressive blocking.
Both teams won their opening Group 2 games on Friday, so Saturday’s match was a battle to see who would top the table at the end of the day.
Korea were in pole position in the first set at 23-21 but then dropped the next four points to go 1-0 down, with Pajenk getting a lucky intervention from the net cord on a crucial serve in the final stages.
In the second set, Korea got the break when Klemen Cebuli
served out to hand the home side two set points and they were able to level the match score at 1-1.
Korea were pulverised by Slovenia in the third set as they were out-hit and out-blocked. Gasparini, who plays in the Korean league, was on familiar turf and punished friend and foe alike.
Korea stabilised in the fourth set behind the attacking form of Hong-Suk Choi
but always seemed to be a point behind. They managed to level at 21-21 but three consecutive blocks – two by Cebuli and one by Gasparini – virtually handed the match to Slovenia. Siwoo Lee
netted a serve to hand Korea’s opponents two match points and Slovenia wrapped things up to take the match 3-1.