Mikhailov breaks the scoring record for 2010 season with 35 points in Surgut. Another humiliation for Moscow Dynamo, Fakel is slowing down. Who can stop Zenit?
After this round the Superleague would take a month break. For some teams that would be definitely a blessing, for some teams to improve even more. Zenit will go to Doha to try the new FIVB rules. The rest of the teams would play in the RVF Cup. There would be a lot of events. But the focus for all teams would be the get ready for the games of Superleague and Euro Cups.
Tyumen - Ural (Ufa) 1-3 (26:28, 13:25, 25:22, 12:25)
Another home loss for Tyumen and the team is still winless. I did mention that the hosts are playing in the Superleague because Samotlor team withdrew due to financial difficulties. Tyumen was notified less than a month before the start of Superleague season. Obviously it is imposible to prepare to compete in the top division on such short notice. The Tyumen’s management desperately needs the break to regroup and maybe add a fresh blood to the roaster.
Lokomotiv-Belogorie (Belgorod) - Lokomotiv (Novosibirsk) 3-2 (15:25, 28:26, 16:25, 25:20, 15:10)
Novosibirsk team won convincingly all three games against the teams at the bottom of the Superleague ranking. But they lost both games against the leaders of the Zenit and Iskra. Both losses came in hard fought five sets battles. There is no doubt that the team did great job putting together impressive roaster that can challenge any team in the league. And with the return of Priddy and Lee they got even better. Potentially they have all potentials to fight for the gold. The problem is are them ready mentally, do they have the confidence. The big question is can they break through and bag a win against one of the leaders of the current season. Young Belgorod team, on the other side, does not have any problem with the ambitions. All teams Shipulin led do not have problems in this department. In the last game they just won the five sets derby against Iskra. It should not be a problem for youngsters to recover physically. So this matchup has all promises to become the central of the round.
The match lived up to its hype. Almost 2 hours game had all the modern volleyball can offer. Novosibirsk came red hot out of the gate and was leading by ten points 23:13 it the first set after crashing spikes of Priddy and Pavlov. Lee and Leonenko delivered final touches to finish the first set 25:15.
After such fiasco Shipulin had to replace the starting setter Bagrei with Starozhilov. Belgorod was leading all the time in the second set thanks to the improving block, but was not able to build up any substantial lead. The score tied up multiple times. At the end of the set the guests even managed to get two set points. But three attacks help Belgorod to avoid two sets behind disaster.
The third set almost mirrored the first set with Novosibirsk building the 22:13 build thanks to Belgorod’s mistakes. Two attacks by Kazakov and Lee finished the job for guests. Pushed to the limit Shipulin sent setter Bagrei back into the fight and replaced not so convincing Kadziewicz with young Sychev. But it was the significant improving in attacks by Ilinykh and Musersky let the Belgorod team fought back into the match. In the tie break Belgorod had more energy and got the final laugh in this game full of dramatic turns.
Belgorod lost a point but kept the co-leading position with Zenit. It is still an impressive start for the young team and Shipulin has one more month to work on his talented and ambitions prodigies. Novosibirsk finished yet one more time so short of beating Superleague elite team. It is frustrating, but I think that they are getting there and in the coming several seasons they would be he team to recon in the race for all the gold.
Gazprom-Yugra (Surgut) - Yaroslavich (Yaroslavl) 1-3 (22:25, 25:23, 22:25, 18:25)
Finally another win for Mikhailov and Co! Yaroslavl had 17:6 advantages in the blocking department. They also improved serve receiving commiting only 3 errors. That allowed Khamutskh setup Mikhailov for the season best 35 points (62%). Ivanov added 13 points for Yaroslavl. Shulepov (19) was the best for Yugra.
Fakel (Novy Urengoi) - Iskra (Odintsovo) 1-3 (25:20, 26:28, 27:29, 24:26)
After four games winning streak, Fakel suffered second loss in the row. It is alarming that the losses came at the hands of the powerhouses of the Superleague Zenit and Iskra. The closely fought four sets game lasted 2:02 hours! Beketov, Hansen and Roony played better this time but still need some time go get to their best. Kosarev is recovering from cold and could play only in the fourth set. Schops delivered Iskra’s most 23 points and two young guys Kalinin and Spiridonov added 14 points each. Overall Iskra has minimal advantages in all aspects of the game and that was enough for them to get 3 points in Novy Urengoi. On the Fakel side Beketov got 15 points, Rossamakhin 13, Roony and Kritsky 10. Iskra holds the third place and now has two points advantages over Fakel, the fourth team.
Dynamo-Yantar (Kaliningrad) - Zenit (Kazan) 2-3 (25:21, 18:25, 30:28, 14:25, 9:15)
What a roller-coaster ride for Kaliningrad fans. The local team started better and jumped into the early 8:4 lead after Nilsson’s crashed the ball into the floor. Yantar was better at the second technical timeout 16:11 after De Cecco served two aces. The pursuit mounted by the defending champs fall short and the hosts took the first set. Both teams started the second set with good concentration and couple long rallies got everybody in the arena on their feet. Opponents went up to 10:10 tie when Kazan turned up another notch. It all started from Panteleimonenko service ace that almost destroyed the plastic board with ads. Cheremisin and Apalikov added several aces and Zenit went ahead to take over the set. Panteleimonenko finished it with two powerful serves. Kazan scored 5 aces in this set alone. The third set lasted 37 minutes and was classic by itself. Two points was the biggest advantage held by any side. The game was tied at 23:23 and went all the way to 28:28 with teams locked in close combat. Eventually Tetyukhin served outside of the court and Krivets blocked Apalikov. That was the last success of the hosts. Zenit rolled over them in the fourth set 25:14 and fifth set 15:9. Yantar fought bravely and fully deserved a point. But Zenit is just too solid and still remains team to beat. Stanley did not play again. Nilsson (20), Shakirov (12) and Khroshev (10) for Kaliningrad; Panteleimonenko (18), Cheremisin (16) and Tetyukhin for Kazan. Zenit now has 15 points and shares the lead with Belgorod. Yantar with 9 points is on the sixth place.
Dynamo (Moscow) - Lokomotiv-Izumrud (Ekaterinburg) 1-3 (22:25, 23:25, 25:22, 23:25)
After less than impressive start of the 2010 season Dynamo trashed Tyumen’s team in the fifth round. Although the opponent in that game was the weakest team in the Superleague, some hoped that this is a sign of the awaking of sleeping giant. The inspiring play of Poltavsky, just returned from injure caused timeout added more reason for optimism for Dynamo’s fans. And they expected nothing except a victory against just returned into Superleague Izumrud. The guest team had not so impressive start on their own. The outcome of the game was total shock for everybody, including the guests. The sport media on the next day covered the fifth loss of Moscow team as the main event of the start of 2010 season. Four losses in six games is the worst start of Dynamo. They lost only 7 times in the whole 2009 season. It is hard to tell the reason of this performance of the experienced players. But, no doubt, it is time for coach Bortsh to act. The Dynamo’s management might get impatient soon and in Russian when management get impatient, a lot of bad things could happen.
Poltavsky started in the first three sets and could not deliver the same power he showed in the previous game and was replaced by Yakovlev in the fourth. That did not help much. Volkov (93%) had good night, but that was not enough. The host team did not have enough energy during the whole game and lost almost all long rallies of the match. Guest team outplayed the opponents thanks to incredible display of power by Bulgarian Aleksiev who was also one of the decisive instruments of the 3:0 rout of Russian team in bronze medal game of the recent CEV Euro 2009 in Turkey. Dynamo: Volkov (18), Berezhko (17), Sivozhelez (15), Poltavsky (8). Izumrud: Aleksiev (22), Gerasimov (16), Krasnoperov (15), Tsvetanov (9). I hope Bortsh still has a month go condition his team and get back into the race and also to avoid embarrassment in the CEV Champions League.
Numbers…. Well, a lot of numbers (stats and etc.)
Mikhailov – 35; Pavlov 26; Schops – 23; Ilinykh – 22; Aleksiev – 22; Shulepov – 19.
Best Spikers (Points/Errors/Succ %):
Volkov – 14/0/93; Possamakhin – 15/0/67; Pavlov – 12/3/67; Tsvetanov – 11/0/64.
Ivanov – 8; Aleksiev – 7; Mikhailov – 5.
Best Receivers (Total/Errors/Pos%):
Kashitsin – 21/0/71; Yanutov – 32/0/66; Khtei – 29/0/66.
Mikhailov – 4; Khoroshev, Panteleimonenko, Dubrovin, Schops – 3.
Elsewhere in the League ….
Russian Volleyball Federation selected the best websits of Men Superleague Teams. The best website is Fakel’s: http://www.fakelvolley.ru/rus/news.htm. Honorable award goes to Zenit Kazan: http://www.zenit-kazan.com/rus and Ural Ufa: http://www.volleyufa.ru.