Pink Spiders thump Hillstate as late-season push continues

The Heungkuk Life Insurance Pink Spiders celebrate after winning a V League game against Suwon Hyundai Engineering & Construction Hillstate at Suwon Gymnasium in Suwon, Gyeonggi on Monday. [NEWS1]

The second-place Heungkuk Life Insurance Pink Spiders thrashed V League leaders Suwon Hyundai Engineering & Construction Hillstate 3-0 on Monday, narrowing the points gap by three points with nearly one month of the regular 2023-24 season left to go.A loss to Hillstate would have pulled the Pink Spiders further away from the league title race, but Monday’s game in Suwon turned out to be a one-sided affair with the Incheon side dominating throughout the contest. The Pink Spiders displayed a clear difference in attack from the first set, winning 25-14, before winning the second set 25-18 and third set 25-20 for a perfect 3-0 victory.Monday’s win marked the first time that the Pink Spiders beat Hillstate 3-0 this season, having previously recorded two 3-2 wins, one 3-1 loss and one 3-0 loss so far this campaign.  The Pink Spiders’ Kim Yeon-koung and Hillstate’s Laetitia Moma Bassoko were joint top scorers of the game with 17 points, but no other Hillstate player scored a double-digit amount of points during the game.  The Incheon side’s new signee Willow Johnson was the second-top scorer of the game with 14 points, followed by her teammate Reina Tokoku with 11.  The improvements in the Pink Spiders’ performance are clear compared to the mid-season, when they struggled in attack against other teams and ceded the top spot to Hillstate in December last year.    
The Pink Spiders ended up replacing former opposite spiker Jelena Mladjenovic, who had struggled this season, with Johnson.  With only three points separating Hillstate and the Pink Spiders and about one month of the regular season left to go, the two sides could switch positions once again.  Over in the middle of the table, third-place GS Caltex Seoul Kixx stayed in their position after Friday’s 3-1 loss to Hillstate. The capital side is only one point clear of fourth-place Daejeon Jung Kwan Jang Red Sparks, who won Sunday’s game against Gimcheon Korea Expressway Hi-Pass 3-1.  The Kixx, however, have played one game fewer than the Red Sparks as of Tuesday.  The ideal result for the Kixx is to stretch the gap with the Red Sparks, if they want to avoid the so-called “semi-playoffs.”  
The semi-playoffs take place when the gap between the third and fourth place team is three points or less. The winner then reaches the playoffs to face league runners-up.  For the Red Sparks, making it to the semi-playoffs will be their first time reaching the postseason since the 2016-17 season.  Fifth-place Hwaseong IBK Altos also remained in their spot on the seven-team table with two 3-0 wins against sixth-place Hi-Pass and last-place Gwangju AI Peppers last week.  Saturday’s 3-0 loss against the Altos was the Peppers’ 21st straight loss of the 2023-24 campaign, making the Gwangju side the team with the longest single-season losing streak in women’s V League history.  Founded in 2021, the Peppers finished their first two V League seasons — 2021-22 and 2022-23 campaigns — at the bottom of the table. Their run this season will likely see them repeat that again this year.With only eight league games remaining for the Gwangju side, the maximum number of points they could secure is 24 — and that’s assuming they win every game — taking them up to 35 points.  Sixth-place Hi-Pass have 28 points as of Tuesday. The V League will continue this week, with Hi-Pass facing the Kixx at home on Wednesday. The Pink Spiders will then face the Altos in Incheon the 카지노사이트 following day.

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