Willow Johnson, the ‘Daughter of a Legend’, a breath of fresh air for Heungkuk Life and the V-League?
Expectations are rising for Heungkuk Life’s new foreign opposite spiker Willow Johnson (registered name Willow – 191 cm) in the women’s professional volleyball league. Willow is expected to be a key point for Heungkuk Life as they look to regain the top spot in the women’s division.
According to the Korea Volleyball Organization (KOVO) on Monday, administrative procedures such as Willow’s visa and international transfer agreement (ITC) were finalized on the 26th. Her player registration is also complete.
She was given the number 51. Now all that’s left is for Willow to don the Heungkuk Life jersey and step onto the 바카라사이트 V-League court.
Professional volleyball resumes this week after the All-Star break last week. The biggest change for both the men’s and women’s teams before and after the break was the women’s team, Heungkuk Life. The team was forced to replace foreign players during the season. Heungkuk Life announced the news of the foreign player change on the 22nd, saying, “We have finalized the contract with Elena Mrazenovic, who has accompanied us for the past two seasons.”
Elena performed well in the first and second rounds of the season with over 100 points and an attacking success rate of over 40%. However, from the third round (132 points-37.54%), her attacking success rate began to drop sharply into the 30%s, and she only scored double-digit points in the fourth round (98 points-34.84%), drawing the ire of fans. In the end, Heungkuk Life parted ways with Yelena after the fourth round of the Dodram 2023-2024 Women’s V-League at Jangchung Gymnasium in Seoul on March 17.
In the meantime, Heungkuk Life lost the top spot in the league to rival Hyundai E&C. Currently, Heungkuk Life is in second place with 18 wins and 6 losses (50 points). The gap between them and leader Hyundai E&C (19-5, 58 points) has widened to eight points.
Heungkuk Life looked for another foreign player to help them out of the crisis. According to the Korean Volleyball Organization (KOVO) rules, the scope of substitute foreign players during the season is limited to players who participated in the pre-season tryouts.
Heungkuk Sinsaeng chose American opposite spiker Willow. Willow had previously tried out for the V-League three times. In the tryouts held in May last year, she attracted a lot of attention from clubs with her high-hitting offense and blocking using her large height of 191 centimeters.
The fact that Willow is the daughter of legendary Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher Randy Johnson also attracted attention. Her father, Randy Johnson, is a baseball legend who played in the MLB from 1988 to 2009. He compiled a career record of 303 wins and 166 losses with a 3.29 ERA, won five Cy Young Awards, was named to 10 All-Star teams, and threw a perfect game and a no-hitter.
“I’ve played in the professional league for four years and I’m honored to be here,” Willow said in a statement released by the club on April 26. “I’ve heard amazing things about the V-League from American players who’ve played in Korea before, as well as other high-level players, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to experience it,” he said.
“Volleyball Empress” Kim Yeon-kyung (191 centimeters) is also excited about Willow. “She’s a left-handed player who can hit fast balls,” Kim said of Willow after the last All-Star Game, “and she has the ability to shake up opponents in that regard.” “That’s the kind of player we needed,” he said, adding that he was excited about her.
“He’s very aggressive and has a good cheer. I’m looking forward to seeing her.” Willow also described her strengths, saying she brings “good energy and good spirits to the team.” “I’m confident that this will boost the team’s energy and we will be able to enjoy ourselves on the court and continue to win matches,” she said.
Heungkuk Sinsaeng’s first game of the fifth round will be against Korea Expressway Corporation at Gimcheon Indoor Gymnasium on the 30th. After knocking on the door of the V-League three times, it will be interesting to see if Willow will be able to fulfill her dream.