Pepper Savings Bank, the youngest club in the Korean Professional Volleyball V League, has won its first back-to-back matches in its three years of existence.

Pepper Savings Bank defeated Jeonggwanjang 3-1 (25-17, 25-21, 14-25, 25-19) in straight sets in the sixth round of the Dodram 2023-2024 V-League Women’s Division at Chungmu Gymnasium in Jung-gu, Daejeon on Wednesday.

It was their second straight win. Pepper Savings Bank had never won back-to-back matches since joining the V-League for the first time in the 2021-2022 season. A poor roster was to blame. However, a surprise victory over second-place Heungkuk Life on Aug. 8 set the stage for a turnaround.

The match against Chung Kwan Giang was a great opportunity for Pepper Savings Bank to get their first back-to-back wins. The team had already clinched third place in the regular season standings regardless of the outcome of the remaining matches, making it their first spring volleyball in seven years. In fact, before the match, coach Ko Hee-jin said, “The main players are doing a lot of physical training. They need to recharge their batteries, so we’re going to rest them today. The backup players have also done a lot of preparation, so I expect a good game,” and didn’t even put most of the starters in the backup zone. Instead, Jungkwanjang’s starters sat in the stands and cheered on the backup players.

Pepper Savings Bank, on the other hand, started the same team that won against Heungkuk Life with only a change in order. Yasmin Bedartghani (real name Yasmin) led the way for Pepper Savings Bank, as she continued to lead both teams in scoring with 30 points and a 42.19% offensive success rate. Park Jung-ah and M.J. Phillips added 18 and 11 points, respectively, to help the team celebrate its first back-to-back wins. The victory was also Pepper Savings Bank’s first win against a formal organization since its inception. In the past three years, Pepper Savings Bank had lost 17 straight games to Chungjang.

The loss snapped Jung Kwan-jang’s seven-game winning streak, but reaffirmed the potential of its backup players. Lee Sun-woo led the way for the Apogee Spikers with a team-high 27 points. Kim Se-in added 13 points and Lee Ji-soo eight, while Park Hae-min and Han Song-yi helped the juniors with seven points each.

Pepper Savings Bank, led by acting head coach Lee Kyung-soo, started with Ha Hye-jin (middle blocker)-Park Sarang (setter)-Park Jung-ah (outside hitter)-M.J. Phillips (middle blocker)-Lee Han-bi (outside hitter)-Yasmin Bedardt (outside hitter)-Chae Sun-ah (libero).

Jeonggwanjang, led by head coach Ko Hee-jin, started with Kim Chae-na (setter)-Kim Se-in (outside hitter)-Han Song-yi (middle blocker)-Lee Sun-woo (outside hitter)-Park Hye-min (outside hitter)-Seo Yoo-kyung (libero).

Pepper Savings Bank took advantage of the early disadvantage in the first set, tying the score at 7-7 with a quick opener from Lee Han-bi and an open point from Yasmin. Yasmin’s service ace and back-attack gave them the lead, and an opponent error gave 안전놀이터 them the 20-point advantage. Kim Sae-in’s quick open attack went wide and Pepper Savings Bank easily took the first set.

In the second set, Yasmin’s explosive offense took the lead. At 10-10, Yasmin scored two consecutive points and Park drove the offense, and Pepper Savings Bank broke through the 20-point mark. Jung Kwan-jang made a last-ditch effort to catch up with Park Hye-min and Lee Sun-woo, but failed to overturn the deficit.

Jung Kwanjang escaped with a win. Lee Sun-woo scored back-to-back points to take the lead early in the third set. Back-to-back blocked points by Lee Ji-su and Han Song-i widened the gap and reached the 20-point mark when Park Jung-ah missed. A quick open by Lee, a blocked point by Han Song-i, and an open point by Lee won the third set.

The fourth set was a close one. Pepper Savings Bank trailed 14-16 before Yasmin tied the score with a timeout attack and a service ace. Park extended the lead with two consecutive points and Phillips blocked an open attack from Kim Sae-in to reach the 20-point mark. Park saved set point with a service ace and Yasmin closed out the match with a straight shot.

Meanwhile, in the men’s sixth round match in Suwon, Korea Electric Power defeated Samsung Fire 3-1 (26-24, 25-18, 23-25, 25-18) in straight sets thanks to the performances of Lim Sung-jin and Taith. Lim Sung-jin and Tice had 26 and 20 points, respectively, to help KEPCO snap a four-game losing streak.

With the win, KEPCO improved to 17 wins and 18 losses (50 points), overtaking Samsung Fire (18 wins and 17 losses – 48 points) for fifth place.