The teams were divided according to generations, but it was an exciting all-star game where everyone came together as one.
At the professional volleyball 2022-2023 V-League All-Star Game held at Samsan World Gymnasium in Incheon on the 29th, everyone who visited the stadium enjoyed a “star party” together, regardless of gender and age.
This year, the Korea Volleyball Federation reflected the trend of the MZ generation and divided the men’s division into M-stars for players born before 1995 and Z-stars after that. The women’s division was classified as of 1996.
The 6,446 seats in the stadium were filled with fans and sold out for the first time in four years. It is the third largest in history, following 7,500 people recorded at the Seoul Olympic Gymnasium in the 2006-2007 season and 7,112 people gathered at the Suwon Indoor Gymnasium in the 2011-2012 season.
As it was held at Heungkuk Life’s home, the player who gathered the most cheers was by far the ‘World Star’ Kim Yeon-kyung (Heungkuk Life). As soon as she debuted in the 2005-2006 season, Kim Yeon-kyung, who participated in the All-Star Game three times in a row, stepped on the All-Star Game court in 14 years. Returning to the V-League after 11 years, he recorded the most All-Star votes (82,115 votes) in the 2020-2021 season, but the All-Star Game was not held due to Corona 19 at the time. Kim Yeon-kyung, who was active in China the following year, succeeded in achieving the highest number of votes (82,297 votes) again after returning.
On this day, Kim Yeon-kyung made a surprise appearance at the photo booth with Kim Hee-jin (IBK Industrial Bank of Korea) and others before the main event and took pictures with fans. Yang Hyo-jin (Hyundai E&C) also responded to the fans’ enthusiasm by transforming into a market clerk.
Kim Yeon-kyung, who received the most votes, said, “I thought I would be chosen even before the voting started.” The energy is different from Z Star,” he said, realizing the generational difference.
However, Kim Yeon-kyung actively narrowed the gap between generations in the main game. The match was played in 4 sets with 15 points per set, and the 1st and 2nd sets were played by the women on the court. Z-star Lee Da-hyun (Hyundai E&C) performed the ‘Candy’ dance of the idol group NCT DREAM, reflecting the trend. Kwon Min-ji (GS Caltex) also drew cheers by dancing New Jeans’ ‘Hype boy’. M Star’s Kim Yeon-kyung and Kim Hee-jin, who saw them, asked them to play the same song, saying that they could do it too, and then showed off their dance moves. Every time a goal was scored, everyone danced. Kim Yeon-kyung even called her fans in her own uniform to her court and gave her a chance to serve.
At the end of the second set, the male players also joined in and played the match. At first, M-star Shin Young-seok (KEPCO) and Z-star Park Gyeong-min (Hyundai Capital) entered the team, followed by league serve Leo (OK Savings Bank) and Samsung Fire & Marine Ikebairi, who boasted a strong serve. In the process of scoring, a player on the bench received the ball and the line referee even returned it, drawing laughter. The women’s match 안전놀이터 ended 1-1.
In the men’s match held in the 3rd and 4th sets, the performance of the coaches stood out. Korean Air coach Tommy Tilikhainen personally made the decision on the video review and even returned the serve from the director’s seat. Choi Tae-woong, director of Hyundai Capital, requested a video review of Shin Young-seok’s dance because it was “strange.” Women’s players were put in as line referees and made decisions in favor of their teams.
MVP, the ‘star of stars’, was won by Leo in the men’s division. Leo, who led M-Star’s victory with 6 points, said, “It was funny and fun that I belong to the older side.” In the women’s division, Kim Yeon-kyung won the best player honor. Kim Yeon-kyung said, “It would have been better if I had received the regular league MVP or the championship MVP rather than the All-Star MVP, but I will do my best to win the MVP by doing well in the remaining games.” The ceremony award went to Shin Young-seok in the men’s division and Lee Da-hyun in the women’s division.
The off-duty game also added to the fun. In the Spike Serve Contest, the women’s Elizabeth (KGC Ginseng Corporation) recorded 89 km and took the place of ‘Queen’. The men’s ‘King’ went back to Ikbairi (Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance), who recorded 117 km. In the first Libero Contest, Choi Hyo-seo, a rookie of KGC Ginseng Corporation, won the first championship with 2 points.