It wasn’t a spectacular debut, but her steady, consistent play from start to finish proved why she was rated as a “No. 1 player to watch.
Last season, KU ranked fifth in receptions (31.66% efficiency) and sixth in digs (8.201 per set). With outside hitter Thais Dulhos (real name Thais) at outside hitter, the team had the challenge of withstanding targeted hits, but overall their receiving was shaky.
While the team achieved something meaningful last season with their first playoff win in franchise history, KEPCO wanted to go even higher, and through the first-ever Asian Quota this year, they acquired Japanese libero Ryohei Iga (real name Ryohei).
At the Dodram 2023-2024 V-League Men’s Media Day prior to the start of the season, Ryohei was one of the most heavily scrutinized players among the 14 foreigners, and was labeled as a watch list by several teams.
And in his first game, Ryohei proved why he was the No. 1 target. KEPCO played its first game of the season against KB Insurance at the Suwon Indoor Gymnasium on Sunday. Prior to the game, KEPCO head coach Kwon Young-min said, “With Ryohei’s arrival, we were able to strengthen our receiver and defense, which was a disappointment last season.”
From the first set, Ryohei’s stability showed in the numbers. His receiving efficiency was a whopping 83.33%, and naturally, KEPCO was able to prepare a variety of offensive options. In the first set, Shin Young-seok had seven points, including one block, while Tais and Seo Jae-duk had four points each. KEPCO’s team reception efficiency was a whopping 61.90% while KB Insurance was held to 27.27%.
The second set was no different. Although their receiving efficiency dropped from 83.33% to 60%, it was still high. KB Insurance tried to serve around Ryohei, but Ryohei had a wide receiving range.
The defense was also good. She kept KB’s players in their offensive spots and turned the ball into counterattack opportunities for KEPCO. Ryohei’s performance took a lot of pressure off the KEPCO players’ shoulders. The attackers on the receiving line were able to take the pressure off of receiving, and setter Ha Seung-woo was able to run a variety of attacking patterns with the ball coming right over his head.메이저놀이터
However, in the third set, a different KB Insurance serve shook the entire Korean team. The stronger serves meant fewer targets for Ryohei. While KEPCO’s receiving efficiency dropped, Ryohei continued to serve and attack well, showing that her stability had a significant impact on her performance.
Although KEPCO lost the match in five sets, Ryohei’s presence was evident. She finished her debut with a 68.42% reception efficiency. The team finished with a 51.69% receiving efficiency. After the match, KEPCO head coach Kwon Young-min said, “I think the first thing a libero should do is receive. Not only did they receive well, but they also defended well. She did a flawless job,” and gave her a thumbs-up.