Lee Da-young’s Romanian league (Divizia A1) challenge stopped in the semifinal playoffs (hereinafter referred to as PO).
Lee Da-young, who played for Rapid Bucharest in the 2022-2023 season, ended the season early due to a back problem after the first round of the quarterfinals PO. The match against Dinamo Bucharest in the first leg of the quarter-final PO on March 25 was virtually his last match in the Romanian league. He is coordinating his return schedule with his club.
Against Dinamo Bucharest, 스포츠토토Lee Da-young scored 4 sub-aces and won the team 3-0. The result of the game was good, but the worst outcome awaited Lee Da-young. It was a back injury. He injured his hamstring twice in the season and struggled with the flu, but he developed back problems from the end of the season. It is a symptom of disc constriction. Pain reappeared in the area that was injured seven years ago during the V-League Hyundai E&C. It is similar to the situation experienced by Yasmin, a foreign player of Hyundai E&C. Although early treatment is possible if he does not overdo it and takes enough rest, he endured his sick body and participated in the first round of the quarterfinals PO.
Thai national team member Ponpun Gedrard, who was recruited during the season, also suffered a hamstring injury and was unable to work well with the striker, so the team entrusted Lee Da-young with an important game. Lee Da-young said, “It wasn’t good because I had a sprained back, but the team asked me to play, so I forced myself to play. He applied an anesthetic cream and received a pain relieving injection and went out and won the match, but the next day his back condition worsened so much that he could not walk properly. Now the pain is transmitted to my legs and it is difficult to walk.” In the second leg of the quarterfinals PO, Ponpun played and led the team to a 3-1 victory. Lee Da-young was not even included in the list of participating players.
When it became uncomfortable not only for his exercise but also for his daily life, he underwent an overhaul at the hospital. As a result of the MRI scan, “The situation is worse than I thought. He has an inflamed disc which is irritating a nerve going down his leg. Even if he receives an injection as an emergency prescription, a great effect cannot be guaranteed. He needs rehabilitation.” The doctor’s final diagnosis was, “It is impossible to compete any more. He warned that if he runs forcibly, his future career as a player may be in danger.” After that day, Lee Da-young was excluded from team training and focused on treatment. He received electrical stimulation and physical therapy such as laser for 1 hour and 20 minutes every day, but the situation did not improve. Since then, he has discussed returning home early with the club for complete treatment in Korea.
Lee Da-young, who started the 2022-2023 season at Rapid Bucharest after passing through the Greek league PAOK Thessaloniki, went through many twists and turns. Lee Da-young, who played a key role in winning 3 consecutive victories at the beginning of the season with coach Carlo Parisi, who arranged for Rapid due to his relationship in the Greek league, and gave home fans a wonderful ceremony, later injured his hamstring and gave up his position as the starting setter for a while. The season record was 8 games, 49 sets, 37 points (12 sub-aces, 15 blockings), and a set success rate of 37.09%.
In the Romanian first division, 11 teams play 20 games each season, home and away. After that, the top 8 teams go through the quarterfinals and semifinals PO to play the championship match. Lee Da-young was unable to play many of the team’s season games due to an injury. “It would have been nice if I had given enough rest during the initial injury and played when my body was perfect, but due to the club’s circumstances, I played early and played the game, so my muscles were torn again and my return was delayed,” he explained the situation. The Romanian League is not a system like the V-League, where players are treated with care when injured and a dedicated trainer takes care of their physical condition. Therefore, players often have to endure and run even when they are sick. Lee Da-young said, “I had the flu once, but the team said, ‘There are not enough players to compete,’ so I practiced for just one day and sent them to the field.”
The situation within the team was not good in many ways. Parisi coach, who initially selected him, stepped down at the beginning of the season. After that, coach Branco Gaits led the team. During the season, Lee Da-young’s chances to play decreased as position competitor Fontun was recruited, but at the end of the season, Rapid found Lee Da-young again. The expected Fontun suffered a hamstring injury. With Lee Da-young put in, the team won 6 consecutive wins and ended the season in 4th place (16 wins, 4 losses, 43 points).
Lee Da-yeong suffered from a back problem in the process of winning streak at the last minute, and after the first round of the quarterfinals PO, she was in a physical condition that made it difficult to endure. Rapid wanted Lee Da-young to play ahead of the first leg of the semifinal PO against Alba Blazi on April 8. Lee Da-young would also participate if he could, but he had a lot of worries because his injured part was his back. There is a reason why not only the Rapid team but also his teammates wanted Lee Da-young to play.
Alba, who took first place in the league this season (17 wins, 3 losses, 43 points), has not lost to Rapid in the past 7 years. The Serbian national team is the strongest team with 5 players including setter, outside hitter and middle blocker. Rapid, who finished the season in 4th place, won 3-2 in the second half of the match on 12 March. On that day, Lee Da-young played as the main setter and performed a lot. Rapid and his teammates waited for Lee Da-young’s physical condition to improve, because the memory of winning the match was so strong.
The expedition with Alba was a 6-hour bus ride away. It was the worst condition for a herniated disc patient. Lee Da-young gave up the away business trip in the first leg of the semifinals after thinking about it. In the end, the team was defeated 0-3 (16-25, 14-25, 11-25). When even Fontun couldn’t play, Libero Albu Michaela was improvised as a setter to play the game. The second leg of the semifinal PO will be held on the 20th. If Rapid is eliminated from PO in the semifinals, they will play for 3rd and 4th place.
The following is a Q&A with Lee Da-yeong, who is about to return home.
– You worked hard for one season. I wonder where he grew up this season.
“I knew more about European volleyball in Romania, where the level was higher than in Greece, where I played last season. Technically, I learned the most about moving fast attacks, and my ability to pass calmly when I was in a hurry improved. Above all, I learned the most about pipe attacks. I’m from the V-League now, and I’m trying hard to learn with pride that I’m the only player in the European league. I think this is a good opportunity to learn volleyball. I am proud to see that I am improving day by day as I am accumulating many different experiences.”
-If you watch the team’s game video, you use the pipe attack as a basic option.
“Here, in a critical situation, we always use a pipe attack. All attackers are ready to hit at any time. Even in a highball situation, you have to hit the pipe attack. There is a limit to the fast attack, so we use a pipe attack, but in our team, we used it a lot because we have good coordination with Nasya Dimitrova. It is different from V-League volleyball, where a lot of balls go to wing strikers and foreign players. The more important the game, the bigger the role of the middle blocker. Even in the match against Alba, our team’s middle blocker did well and won. ”
-I am curious about life in Rapid. What is the training like?
“It is difficult beyond imagination. Compared to the grieg league I played last season, it is much stronger. I enjoyed playing volleyball back then, but it is more difficult here because the level of the league has improved. I train every day except Sunday. On Monday and Tuesday, it is divided into two rounds of ball training in the morning and afternoon, and only half a day is exercised on Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday, weight training in the morning and ball training in the afternoon. If there is a game on the weekend, I only exercise once in the morning on Friday. Compared to the V-League, the training here is more detailed and the training intensity is higher. The training was a lot and it was hard, so I just slept on my days off. Because of that, I couldn’t even visit famous places around me. ”
– I am curious about how the Romanian league is operated and how to live there.
“This league is different from the V-League, as the game schedule changes frequently during the season. The distance traveled was shorter than in the Greek League PAOK. At that time, our team traveled a lot because it was in the provinces, but here, there are many teams centered in Bucharest, so the distance traveled was reduced. Romania is vast, so some teams travel by bus for 10 hours. The part-time job takes 5-6 hours and the nearest one is 40 minutes away. During the CEV Cup, it was a match against teams from other countries, so we mainly used airplanes. The lodging provided by the club is a two-bay style, and it is comfortable to live in because it is small. There are Korean restaurants and Korean marts nearby. Fans often send Korean food by courier. Thanks, I’m eating well. Thank you very much.”
– How are your colleagues?
“The average age of the team is in their 30s. Me and Sese (Cuban outside hitter, Aylama Sese Montalvo) belong to the younger side. Colleagues treated me well. I also had frequent conversations with Sese. He told him that he could make a lot of money if he went to the V-League, and asked him to give it a try. Sese said he was reluctant to play in the next season if the V-League went too far. The Serbian national team’s libero Theodora Pushic, who won the world championship this time, also took good care of me. When I was having a hard time with my injury, he often contacted me and took care of me. The players were all good.”
-Have you lived all your life in Romania by yourself? how do you communicate
“It was like that in Greece, too, and I lived without an interpreter. He is conversing in English. I can do it in my daily life. I exchange stories with my colleagues in group chat rooms. This time, even when I said that it was difficult to compete because I was sick, my teammates contacted me saying that they would like to play together. So a few days ago, I accurately informed the chat room of my physical condition. In the meantime, even though I was sick, I didn’t show any signs of hardship and said that it would be okay as long as I was in pain, so the players didn’t know about my back injury. It was only later that he found out about my situation and cheered me on so that I could receive treatment and continue my career as a player for a long time.”
-What did you learn from Romania?
“As a mercenary, you always have to give 100%. In the Greek League, I didn’t think much of myself as a mercenary, but the Romanian League was different. As the level of the league rises, this pressure will increase. Life in an overseas league is not easy. If there are domestic players who want to challenge overseas leagues, you should take a good look at this part. Personally, I have become more mature.”