Willow Johnson, daughter of MLB legend Randy, joins V League in Korea

Willow Johnson [KOVO]

American baseball legend Randy Johnson’s daughter Willow Johnson has joined V League team Heungkuk Life Insurance Pink Spiders, the club announced Monday. Randy Johnson is one of the best players in MLB history, having played for six teams, including the Seattle Mariners and Arizona iamondbacks.   His daughter Willow Johnson, 25, replaces the Pink Spiders’ Jelena Mladjenovic, as V League rules stipulate that each team can only have one foreign player, in addition to one Asia Quota pick. Johnson plays as an opposite spiker and joins the Incheon side from the Athletes Unlimited Volleyball (AUV) in the United States. The AUV is a pro league in which players switch teams every week of a season, rather than committing themselves to one team. Johnson also played for Turkish team Nilufer Belediyespor in the 2020-21 season after graduating from the University of Oregon. Mladjenovic exits after a relatively unimpressive run this season.  
The Bosnian opposite hitter was the Pink Spiders’ most impactful player during the 2022-23 season, scoring 821 points to end the regular season as the team’s top scorer and the third top scorer in the league.   She had failed to repeat that strong performance this season, scoring 501 points in 24 league games, even falling behind now-ex teammate Kim Yeon-koung with 520 points.  Johnson will have some work to do with her teammates once the league restarts next week, as the Incheon side ceded the top position to Suwon Hyundai Engineering & Construction Hillstate in December. The Pink Spiders have been unable to close the gap with Hillstate since then, falling eight points behind the league leaders to sit in second place as of Monday.   As the regular 2023-24 season runs through March, however, there is still plenty of time for the Pink Spiders to snatch the top spot and defend the league title. Johnson may make her V league debut on Jan. 30 when the Pink Spiders face Gimcheon Korea Expressway Hi-Pass.  
No V League games are on tap for this week due to the all-star game at Incheon Samsan World Gymnasium in Incheon on 스포츠토토존 Saturday, which will feature 40 players selected by the fan vote and a committee of experts.

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