“I hope we can continue to interact.”
Kunihiro Shimizu, formerly an outside hitter for Japan’s men’s national team, made his presence felt at the 2023 Gumi Dodram Cup Professional Volleyball Tournament in August, and he also started in Osaka’s exhibition match against Korean Air at Panasonic Arena.
Playing three sets in the five-set match, Shimizu scored in double figures with 15 points. Facing a Korean pro team for the first time in a month, Shimizu spoke about the unique play of Korean Air.
“The setter was really good,” Shimizu said, first praising starting setter Yoo Kwang-woo. Despite being in his 16th professional season, the 1985-born Yoo, along with teammate Han, is still considered the best setter in the V-League. Shimizu was another Japanese veteran, born in 1986, who gave the veteran a thumbs-up.
“The outside hitters hit really well. I was also impressed with how quickly they were able to deliver the play.”
Korean Air’s play is infused with Japanese volleyball, thanks to head coach Tomi Tilikainen, who played in the Japanese V.League. “I heard that Korean Air coach Tommy Tilikainen used to coach in Japan,” Shimizu said. I could feel that their defense was better than other Korean teams. Even in this practice match, there were a lot of balls that turned into counterattacks, and it was definitely different from other teams.”
If there were similarities, there were also differences. “There were a lot of pattern plays with short passes with individual time differences compared to Japan,” he said. “Korea plays strongly overall. “Japan plays stronger overall, with a lot of rebounding and attacking the paint. I think that was the biggest difference,” he said, elaborating on the differences.안전놀이터
Shimizu, who has been with the national team for a long time, faced Korean volleyball on the other side of the net. “I’ve been learning about Korean volleyball, but Korea has a very good defense, similar to Japan. I would like to continue exchanging with them,” he said, but then laughed, “But whenever we meet, I never want to lose on defense.”