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Force is strong for the Skywalkers at this year’s postseason

Apr 05,2017
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The Cheonan Hyundai Capital Skywalkers celebrate after winning the V-League postseason championships on Monday. [YONHAP]
The Cheonan Hyundai Capital Skywalkers won the V-League post-season championship by defeating the Incheon Korean Air Jumbos 3-1 at Gyeyang Gymnasium in Incheon on Monday. This was the Skywalkers’ third championship win in 10 years.

With the win, Choi Tae-woong, manager of the Skywalkers, became the youngest manager to lead the team to win the regular season in 2015-16 and the championship game in 2016-17. Choi was hired as the Skywalkers’ manager in 2015.

As both teams were only one win away from winning the V-League post-season championship, the teams were in fierce competition until the second set, playing beyond 25 points. But it all came down to the third set, which the Skywalkers won.

While the Skywalkers were leading 20-18, Park Joo-hyung, their wing spiker, and Shin Young-suk, a middle blocker, finished the set by winning points with blocks. Every time the Skywalkers won a point, the players celebrated.

Moon Sung-min, a right attacker, led the team with 25 points, including one serve-ace and two blocks. Following Moon, Danijel Galic, a left attacker, posted 17 points.

Throughout the championship games, the Skywalkers had to fight through injuries. Noh Jae-wook, a starting setter, injured his back and Galic injured his ankle. The two weren’t able to train but decided to fight through injuries and play. During the game, Galic tripped after a block but he stood back up and continued to play.

Even worse, Moon, who was the V-League leader in scoring among domestic players with 739 points, was not able to play at his highest ability during the first championship game and so the Skywalkers were swept by the Jumbos.

From Moon’s weak performance, Choi, who coaches the team with encouragement, criticized Moon by saying how he was weak in crucial situation.

But starting in the second game, he redeemed himself. Over the course of the championship games, Moon recorded 125 points and with that, he won the MVP award by winning 26 of 29 votes.

“After our team won the championship, I gave Choi a big hug,” Moon said. “He will forever be my role model.”

And for the Jumbos, they were unable to capture a championship win. For the fourth time, the Jumbos came up close to winning the V-League post-season championship.

The expectation for the Jumbos winning the post-season championship was even higher after they won the regular season, but they lost another chance to make history.

The Jumbos, who are eager to prove they can overcome the pressure, concluded another season without a post season championship trophy.

On the other side, Daejeon Samsung Bluefangs hired Shin Jin-sik as the team’s new manager. Shin played for the Bluefangs for 12 years and said, “I wanted to be a manger for the Bluefangs. I will bring back our team’s legacy once again.”

BY PARK SO-YOUNG [kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]