- 2023 Annual Yon-Ko Games Held September 14, 2023
The Greatest College Sports Festival...Celebrating Inter-University Harmony and Friendship
The '2023 Annual Yonsei University vs. Korea University Friendship Games (hereinafter referred to as Yon-Ko Games)' were held on September 8th and 9th in Mokdong and Goyang, Seoul for two days.
Celebrating its 58th anniversary this year, the Yon-Ko Games serves as a festival to reaffirm the strong friendship and tradition between the two prestigious universities in Korea, both among current students and alumni. In this year's Yon-Ko Games, our university emerged victorious in baseball (6:4) and ice hockey (4:1) but experienced defeats in basketball (60:64), rugby (27:41), and soccer (0:3). Although falling short of an overall championship with a record of 2 wins and 3 losses, our university athletes displayed a fiery determination under the scorching sun that shone brighter than anything else, providing a heartwarming spectacle.
The opening ceremony of the 2023 Yon-Ko Games kicked off at 10 AM on September 8th at Mokdong Baseball Stadium. Following the opening speech by our university's President Seoung Hwan Suh and words of encouragement from Korea University's President Kim Dong-won, the Chairman of the Student Council's Emergency Response Committee delivered a welcoming speech. Representatives from both universities pledged to engage in friendly competition through an oath-taking ceremony. The presidents of both universities, alumni association leaders, and sports association presidents presented bouquets of friendship to their counterparts in the opposing team, as well as to the Student Council and cheering squad members who worked tirelessly in preparation for the Yon-Ko Games.
At 11 AM, the baseball team players took the field for the first game of the 2023 Yon-Ko Games. In the first inning, Kang Min-gu (Physical Education major, '23) took the mound as the starting pitcher. In the second inning, Du Jeong-min (Sports Applied Industry major, '22) recorded our university's first hit, followed by Captain Ko Kyung-pyo's (Sports Applied Industry, '20) walk, and Lee Dong-jun's (Sports Applied Industry, '21) triple, bringing in 2 runs.
In a tightly contested match, Korea University scored 1 run in the top of the 5th inning but failed to score any more, concluding their attack with a score of 2-1 in favor of our university. In the bottom of the 5th inning, Korea University's starting pitcher struggled with control, allowing Lee Dong-jun, Kwon Woo-jae (Sports Applied Industry, '22), and Ko Seung-wan (Sports Applied Industry, '20) to reach base consecutively. In the bottom of the 5th inning, with 2 outs and the bases loaded, designated hitter Lee Do-gyeom (Sports Applied Industry, '20) hit a timely hit, extending our university's lead to 4-1.
In the 6th inning, our university's pitcher Yoon Sung-hwan (Physical Education, '22) took the mound as the second pitcher. Despite allowing 1 run to Korea University with one out and bases loaded, solid fielding by Ko Seung-wan and a strikeout by Yoon Sung-hwan ended the inning without further damage. In the bottom of the 6th inning, our university's offense exploded with hits from Ko Kyung-pyo, Kwon Woo-jae, and Kim Jin-hyung (Sports Applied Industry, '21), adding 2 more runs to our university's score. Yonsei maintained a lead of 6-2 until the 8th inning.
In the 9th inning, Korea University mounted a threat with one out and the bases loaded, scoring 2 additional runs. However, our university's closing pitcher, Cho Sung-min (Physical Education, '20), who also took the mound in last year's Yon-Ko Games, along with the steady fielding of second baseman Lee Dong-jun and first baseman Kwon Woo-jae, managed to secure the final out count. With this, our university clinched its first victory of the 2023 Yon-Ko Games with a score of 6-4, just as they did in the previous year's Yon-Ko Games.
At 2 PM, the ice hockey game took place at the adjacent Mokdong Ice Rink. In the early stages of the 1st period, our university aggressively attacked during the first power play opportunity, and within just five minutes of the game's start, Lee Seung-jae (Sports Applied Industry, '22) scored the opening goal. Korea University quickly responded with an equalizer, and the intense battle continued, but our university's exceptional defense prevented any additional scoring, concluding the 1st period with a 1-1 tie.
The fierce offensive battle between both teams continued into the 2nd period. Although Korea University had several shooting chances, our goalkeeper Jang Ga-ram (Physical Education, '21) maintained a steady performance, preserving the 1-1 score. In the middle of the 2nd period, a minor penalty against Korea University gave our university a numerical advantage. Seizing this opportunity, our university players capitalized on a pass from Jeon Hyeok-jun (Physical Education, '21) and a one-touch shot by Kim Shi-hwan (Physical Education, '23) to score an additional goal, bringing them closer to victory.
In the final 3rd period, Korea University attempted a strong offensive to catch up, but they couldn't break through the impervious goalkeeping of Jang Ga-ram. Instead, our university struck first. In the middle of the 3rd period, Im Dong-gyu (Sports Applied Industry, '23) passed the puck from behind the net, and Bae Sang-ho (Physical Education, '20) was open in front of the net, slotting the puck in with a one-touch shot, extending our university's lead.
Leading 3-1, our university found itself in a power play situation for Korea University just before the game's end. With little time remaining, Korea University, trailing behind, employed the empty net strategy by substituting their goalie with an extra field player. Six Korea University players stormed our university's zone, but our university players calmly defended against Korea University's attack, then quickly counterattacked. Shin Dong-hyun (Physical Education, '21) seized the opportunity, shooting the puck into the empty net, sealing a convincing 4-1 victory for our university.
The last game of the first day of the Yon-Ko Games took place at 5 PM in the Goyang Gymnasium, featuring a basketball match. Our university started strong with a 2-point shot by Lee Gyu-tae (Physical Education, '22), quickly followed by a clean 3-point shot and successful free throw by Yoo Gi-sang (Physical Education, '20), opening up a sudden 4-point lead. The early stages of the game were marked by intense offense, but it took a while for any baskets to be scored. Korea University managed to succeed with three consecutive 3-pointers, seizing the momentum and ending the 1st quarter with a score of 16-25, widening the gap.
As the 2nd quarter began, our university opened the scoring with a 2-point shot by Lee Gyu-tae. Offensive efforts continued as Yoo Gi-sang made a 3-point shot, and Lee Joo-young (Physical Education, '23) scored a 2-point shot, narrowing the lead to 4 points. However, Korea University rebounded and continued their strong offensive play, extending the lead to 27-39 by the end of the 2nd quarter.
The 3rd quarter started with a significant point difference. Nonetheless, our university players refused to give up and ignited a comeback. In the latter part of the 3rd quarter, our university rebounded effectively, and Lee Gyu-tae, Yoo Gi-sang, and Lee Joo-young scored consecutively. With fewer turnovers compared to the 2nd quarter, our university closed the gap to just 3 points, ending the 3rd quarter at 48-51.
In the early stages of the 4th quarter, our university, trailing closely behind Korea University, secured rebounds and opened the scoring with close-range shots. Then, a Korea University offensive foul gave our university possession, and Yoo Gi-sang's score turned the game around, putting us ahead 52-51. However, Korea University responded swiftly, resulting in a back-and-forth game. With just over four minutes remaining, Korea University regained the lead with successful free throws and 2-point shots. With just 6 seconds left in the game, our university's Yoo Gi-sang successfully made a 3-point shot, bringing us within a 2-point deficit against Korea University. However, with only 0.2 seconds remaining, Korea University scored a 2-point shot, concluding the game with a score of 60-64.
On the second day of the Yon-Ko Games, September 9th at 11 AM, a rugby match took place at Goyang Stadium. In the early stages of the first half, amidst a fiercely contested battle, Korea University took the lead with a try at the end of the first ten minutes. However, our university swiftly responded with a quick kick by Seo Woo-hyun (Physical Education, '21), shifting the game's momentum. Han Jun (Physical Education, '22) scored a try, and Seo Woo-hyun's conversion kick gave us a lead of 7-5.
Both teams continued to accumulate points after the scrum. Our university extended their lead with Kim Tae-gyun's (Sports Applied Industry, '22) individual try, followed by Seo Woo-hyun's accurate conversion kick, adding 7 points. Just before the end of the first half, Seo Woo-hyun scored an additional 3 points with a penalty kick, resulting in a tense first half ending in a 17-17 tie.
The second half continued with an unpredictable and intense battle. Our university's offensive gained momentum as the second half began. Kim Chang-hyuk (Sports Applied Industry, '21), who came on as a substitute in the second half, successfully scored a try with his dynamic play. Following this, Seo Woo-hyun's conversion kick added more points, putting us ahead at 24-17.
However, Korea University managed to turn the tide with consecutive tries and conversion kick points. Despite the frustrating situation of proceeding without video review despite a coach's objection and the absence of key players due to injuries and ejections, our university's unwavering determination resulted in a final score of 27-41 as the game concluded.
At 2 PM, at the same venue, a football match took place. Our university's football team started the game using the strategic formation of 3-4-3 that they had employed since the latter part of last year. Within the first minute of the first half, Jang Jae-hyuk (Sports Applied Industry, '20) made an attempt, and in the third minute, Captain Choi Hyeong-woo (Sports Applied Industry, '20) boldly attempted a long-range shot but narrowly missed the goal. In the 13th minute of the first half, Korea University threatened our goal with free kicks, corner kicks, and throws, but our goalkeeper Choi Gang-seo ('23) displayed excellent judgment, ensuring our goal remained intact.
Despite Korea University's aggressive attacks pressuring our university, our players continued to play with tight defense and swift counter-attacks. However, in the 37th minute of the first half, a player from our university who was positioned in front of the goal used their hand to clear the ball during a corner kick situation for Korea University, resulting in a red card and a regrettable ejection. Amidst a confusing atmosphere, Korea University's penalty kick hit the goalpost and deflected in, concluding the first half with a score of 0-1.
Our players, despite being at a numerical disadvantage, never gave up and played well until the end. As the second half began, Kang Min-Jae (Sports Applied Industry, '22) made an attempt on Korea University's goal, but it was not easy to breach. In the third minute of the second half, Korea University had a perfect opportunity, but Choi Gang-seo's superb save averted the crisis. Even in a disadvantageous situation, our university displayed an excellent level of performance, with a clear team identity of compact defense and effective penetration into the opponent's half, making the 10 vs. 11 scenario hardly noticeable.
In the 13th minute of the second half, following a free-kick by Choi Hyeong-woo, Park Ho-in (Sports Applied Industry, '21) delivered a well-timed early cross, but it narrowly missed Kang Min-jae's foot, resulting in a missed shooting opportunity. In the latter part of the second half, despite a turnaround with the entry of fast-paced players Jang Ha-min (Sports Applied Industry, '23) and Jang Hyun-bin (Sports Applied Industry, '23), leading to threatening shots, and the excellent defense by our formidable goalkeeper Choi Gang-seo, our university players continued the challenging battle in scorching weather of over 30 degrees Celsius, facing a 10 vs. 11 disadvantage. However, Korea University managed to score two consecutive goals in the late stages of the game, concluding the match with a 0-3 score.
Kim Soo-hyun, a student majoring in Lifestyle Design (Class of '23) who watched this year's Yon-Ko Games, said, "I think it's more enjoyable to watch the games while cheering enthusiastically. I believe strength comes from everyone coming together." Kim Chan-hyuk, a student majoring in German Language and Literature (Class of '23), shared his thoughts, saying, "I didn't know the rules or have much interest in rugby or ice hockey, but after watching the ice hockey game yesterday and finding it so exciting, I went home and looked up videos of the game. Today, I came to watch the rugby match as well."
Meanwhile, over the course of September 8th and 9th, various events around the stadium captured attention. Photo zones, filled with hopes for victory, were set up at Mokdong Baseball Stadium and Goyang Stadium. Students gathered in groups of three or five to take pictures and create lasting memories of the Yon-Ko Games. In addition to this, various participation events such as Yonsei Milk sharing, cap, and cool scarf giveaways were held, further enhancing the festive atmosphere.
Although this year's Yon-Ko Games concluded with a slightly disappointing overall score of 2-3, the passion of Yonsei students, who painted Seoul's Mokdong and Goyang Stadiums with waves of blue, burned brighter than ever. Like a blazing flame that shines even brighter when it's hot, at the end of the summer, filled with Yonsei's blue cheers, we send a heartfelt round of applause and gratitude to all Yonsei members who sweated for the Yon-Ko Games.