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‘Miracle of 0%’ records and remains in memory Korea Expressway Corporation director Kim Jong-min × Lim Myeong-ok

Korea Expressway Corporation has become the main character of a drama without a script. Defying the expectation that the possibility of spring volleyball is low, it advanced to the playoffs and then rose to the championship match. He lost the first and second games and said the chance of winning was 0%, but the ball was round. The Korea Expressway Corporation won the first reverse reverse victory in the V-League and attached a second star to its uniform. I felt the afterglow of winning by meeting coach Kim Jong-min and Im Myung-ok, who worked together from the team’s first victory to V2.

The second star drawn together
and the championship trophy lifted

on April 7, 2023. Beyond the V-League, a great game unfolded that will be recorded in the Korean sports world. Korea Expressway Corporation lifted the championship trophy at the end of 158 minutes, the longest game ever in the women’s postseason, which lasted until the 5th set of the 5th game of the championship series. In addition, it recorded the highest viewer rating ever in the V-League, 3.4% based on live cable TV broadcasting, and achieved the first reverse comeback championship in Korea’s four major professional sports.

Q. A week has passed since you became champion. Can you feel the real feeling that you won? (The interview was held a week after the victory was confirmed.)
Coach Kim Jong-min (hereinafter referred to as Jong-min) seems to be feeling a bit better now. I’m too busy going to interviews (laughs).
Im Myung-ok (hereafter referred to as Myeong-ok) I still can’t believe it. Wouldn’t it be a bit more realistic if the winning bonus came in? (Laughs)

Q. Both of you received personal awards such as the Best Manager Award and BEST7 Libero Award along with the championship. In particular, Lim Myung-ok thanked manager Kim Jong-min at the awards ceremony. Can we hear more closely?
When Myeong-ok was in his second year with the team, coach Kim Jong-min took over. You came at a time when your self-esteem was hitting rock bottom and you were thinking about quitting volleyball. It was my first time playing volleyball with the coach, so I tried it for a year and after that, I made up my mind to stop if I was on the floor. Even at that time, I cared a lot about what I heard from the outside, but the director said, “Don’t listen to the outside story, just do what you do. I will stop the stories,” he said, instilling a lot of confidence. He had a chance to do well again. Do you remember
Jongmin ?
Myeong- ok Of course, director~ I didn’t mention it because I was afraid it would be too long when I was giving my impressions at the awards ceremony, but not all people can be good. There are times when the director is frustrated, and there are times when I wonder why he keeps getting angry like that (laughs), but to me, I think the director is always a benefactor.

Q. How is it to hear your acceptance speech for the director?
JongminWhen I first came to the team, I felt that Myeong-ok was focusing on other things compared to his skills. She seemed to notice too much, so I called and talked. She said, ‘Volleyball is with me. I play inside the volleyball court, but I pay too much attention to the noise outside. I’ll block it somehow, so you just focus on your workout,’ she said. He was the best libero at the time, but it was pitiful to see him staring at people around him.

Q. Is there any acceptance speech that the director left out? I’m not the type to think and talk in front of
Jong-min , I tend to say whatever I hear. I said it simply because I was afraid I would say something stupid, but there are always visible players and invisible players. The players you can see are flashy players who score goals on offense, so the fans recognize them a lot. However, the spotlight on Myeong-ok and (Moon) Jung-won, who are the players who support them to do well in that attack, is less. I wanted to step up and tell this story because these two players are the ones that fit my style the most.

From the 0% probability of winning
to the top together

Q. It was really difficult from the end to the end from the regular season to the postseason confirmation. How was it when you decided to play spring volleyball?
MyeongokWhen you do a video review during a game, the players gather on the court. Whenever that happened, I said a lot, ‘If we endure this, the goddess of luck will come to us’, and the video review was very good. Then, during the meeting right before the last game of the regular league, he said, ‘If it doesn’t work, let’s think it’s ours.’ Even in the playoffs, they said it was okay to feel comfortable and not have to go to the finals or win the championship, but it seemed that only one person was not comfortable (laughs).

Jongmin : I am also a bonus game for the players. I talked a lot about having fun and being comfortable, but all the players would know. Even when I think about it, the desire to win is too strong. So even if it’s okay before the game, when it starts, different images come out. But when I see the players having fun on the court and having fun, of course it’s good.

Q. You defeated Hyundai E&C in the playoffs and advanced to the championship match. However, the players were not in good condition due to a cold, and they lost the first and second games. I wonder what you were thinking when you came down to Gimcheon.
I said let’s enjoy Myeong -ok, but when I lost and entered the locker room, I was really angry. I was angry at myself for breaking down, and even though I asked to put it down and enjoy it, I didn’t enjoy it. There was definitely a sense of pressure from the big tournament called the finals.
Jongmin: To be honest, I came to my senses after the 2nd match. Throughout the 1st and 2nd games, I kept changing seats on purpose to see which one suited me best. The formation we did in the 3rd set of the 2nd game showed us how to play the game on an equal footing and the players found a sense of play, so I thought about it while going down to Gimcheon. He felt it was right to just go with what we were good at, without having to match the opponent.

We won the 3rd game in Gimcheon and dragged the series to the 4th game.
Before the 3rd match at Myung-ok
 , Daeyoung unni, me, Junga, and Yuna talked. We have a name, so let’s keep our pride. In Game 3, there were things I enjoyed more, but I enjoyed playing volleyball. After the 3rd game, I got a call from commentator Jang So-yeon. The offense improved and Yuna regained her condition, but thanks to Jeongwon and I holding out in receiving, they said that Yoonjeongi stabilized and her performance improved.
JongminI evaluated the same after the 3rd match. In the 1st and 2nd games, there was no way to do anything because the receive collapsed, but it was different in the 3rd game. As Myeong-ok and Jung-won got used to serving as Heungkuk Life Insurance’s sub, I thought everything went smoothly.

Q. Dramatically won the 3rd and 4th games and went back to Samsan. In Game 5, I saw the coach take off his jacket and direct the players. It was a rare scene.
 Once when I was in charge of Korean Air, I took it off for the first time when I came to the women’s team. I usually don’t take off my jacket, but suddenly I sweat a lot. I took off my jacket for the first time, thinking that the team atmosphere would live up and the players would play better as I took off my jacket.

Q. During the 5th match, was there a winner that was certain that it was a win?
 Okay. I didn’t think we were going to win until the end. Until the last score is scored. A video reading of Jung-ah’s attack touchout in the second half of the 5th set of
Myeong- ok. I wished we had saved more on the video review, but it came down to our score and we felt like we were going to win.
Jongmin: I just liked it better than winning (laughs). If the referee didn’t use the video review, I was going to call the in-out first. I knew it was an out, but the reason I used a touchout was because the opponent suddenly had a 3-man block. Yelena chased after me and blocked it, but I thought I could hit it with that angle. The coaches outside also wrote ‘touch, touch’ and it worked.

Q. The director left a quote for this series. How did he feel when he heard the words ‘remain in the record or pass by the memory’? After I heard it at the meeting with
Myeong-ok , and after the director left, we went ‘Oh~’ among ourselves. Before that, the director said, ‘You guys have already done well enough. I was even more impressed when he said, “I have no one to criticize even if I lose, and I am already the best.”
Since it was the last game for Jongmin , I thought it would motivate him to say something heartwarming. I thought about what to say as I went to the locker room, but I couldn’t think of anything (laughs). At first, I said, ‘You guys have already created a miracle, so let’s start without too much pressure’, but it suddenly came to my mind. So he said that.

Companionship that has been going on for 7 years.
Let’s draw a farther future together in the future.

Q. We have been together since Korea Expressway Corporation’s first victory.
Myung-ok won so dramatically right now, but I personally remember the season I played V1 as more special. At that time, the members were confident that we would win no matter who we faced, and we said that we were invincible. Even after you retire, you will be remembered as the best member.
Jongmin At that time, the composition of the members was good, and the people around us evaluated us as strong candidates for the championship, so there was a sense of pressure that this team had to win. To win this time is a miracle. I think this series will be memorable for a long time because it also impressed people who like volleyball.

Q. Lim Myung-ok has been working for Korea Expressway Corporation since 2015 and the coach since 2016. How are the past and now different?
 ok: In the old days, the atmosphere had a big feeling of being stuck in a rut. After the coach came, the team culture changed a lot. The squad has changed a lot, and the old culture has disappeared over the years.
Jongmin When I first 스포츠토토came to this team, I thought the culture was very unique. The players are used to the stereotyped method, so I felt that it had to be changed.

Q. You seem to be most grateful to each other as a coach and captain.
 I always call Myeongok when I’m having a hard time. And he always says the same thing, ‘It’s not the part I can play outside. Now I want you to do it’. Director
Myeong -ok is always a benefactor to me. He said that the coach told him to be number one unconditionally until he retired, and at that time he asked why he was talking about this, but seeing it now helped a lot. Thanks to that, I think he was able to get BEST7 for 4 years in a row.

Q. Is there anything new you realized or learned while going through this season?
This is the season I felt the most while working as coach Jongmin . Among them, I definitely felt that volleyball is a team game, not alone. He always emphasized teamwork in his players as well. I came to think that if we create organizational power and teamwork that can overturn the 6v4 inferiority, we will be able to create a strong team.

Q. Lastly, please thank the fans who made the championship together.
 : When I play, I shout at the players, so I can’t hear the cheering. But this time, I was surprised when I played two games in Gimcheon and Game 5 in the championship match. In particular, at Samsan Gymnasium, even though we were outnumbered by the opponent because we were away, we could hear equal cheering voices. I think the players were able to feel more comfortable because the cheering was hot. If more people come and shout and support us in the future, we will make a touching season like this one. The cheers of the fans were really loud during the 5th game of
Myung-ok , but it was the first time I heard the sound of cheering. I thought I was lucky to play in front of a large crowd while listening to the cheers. I would like to say thank you for thinking that I was able to achieve good results thanks to the hot cheers in every game.

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