Kazan kept the first place for now, but there are multiple contenders and do not expect Zenit to cruise easily through the rest of the rounds. A five sets battle in Belgorod demonstrated ambitions of the young Lokomotiv and reemerging from the starting slump Dynamo. Iskra is another team with good roster and big plans.
Tyumen (Tyumen) - Fakel (Novy Urengoi) 1:3 (20:25, 25:23, 20:25, 15:25)
Fakel rebounded from the unexpected defeat from Ugra and overcome their neighboring Tyumen. They were better in each department. But that was not an easy game for the winners. After exchanging the sets Tyumen jumped into seemly decisive 8:2 lead in the third set. Several plays later the host team extended their lead to 8 points 12:4. The visitors had to call a timeout and after it Fakel’s block came into action earning 5 points and soon enough Fakel tied the score at 12:12. Tyumen could withstand this mental blow and easily gave up the fourth set 20:25 and offered little resistance in the fourth.
Fakel is back into the leading three teams. Tyumen stays on the last place with just two wins.
Tyumen: Kiktev – 22, Dubrovin – 15, Pavlov, Bagutsky – all 11.
Fakel: Beketov – 14, Kosarev – 12, Voronkov, Kritsky – all 11.
Lokomotiv (Novosibirsk) - Zenit (Kazan) 0:3 (18:25, 20:25, 25:27)
After Zenit unexpectedly dropped the first game in Yaroslavl, Novosibirsk and Iskra cut the gap to just 2 points. So the matchup at Lokomotiv’s arena supposed to be the central game of the round. Kazan had a CEV CL game in France with Tours, while their opponents in Novosibirsk had all the time to prepare for the game. The host team was on the 3 games winning streak and was eager to challenge Kazan for the leadership in the Superleague. But Zenit’s head coach Alekno was fully prepared for the challenge. And Zenit’s roster had good players enough for two starting lineups. Alekno did not take experienced Tetyukhin and powerful spiker Panteleimonenko to France. He also started Stanley and Abrosimov just in the second set in the game against Tour to start the comeback. Practically the matchup with Tour was decided by Cheremisin, Bogomolov and Kulikovsky. And several days later Alekno started well rested Tetyukhin, Panteleimonenko, Stanley and Abrosimov, while the “French brigade” was resting on the bench.
The Kazan’s team came into the game fresh and relaxed. I think the loss in Yaroslavl was actually a positive factor for Zenit’s players: they can forget about the streak (10 games long) and concentrate on playing volleyball. As result the Kazan practically crashed the host team in the first two sets without much problem. Lokomotiv managed to organize some kind of resistance in the third set, but it was too late. Zenit was like the ran away train and left the Lokomotiv far behind.
The Zenit was better blocking and spiking. But the decisive advantage was in reception area where Kazan had one error vs. Novosibirsk’s 11 errors. Overall Lokomotiv had 38% positive reception against 61% for Kazan. The best player of the game was Stanley who scored 21 points and 70% effectiveness.
With this win Kazan took care of the one of the main pursuer. And this was certainly a fine coaching job by Alekno.
Novosibirsk: Pavlov, Leonenko – al 13, Priddy – 11.
Kazan: Stanley – 21, Tetyukhin – 13, Abrosimov -9, Apalikov – 8, Panteleimonenko – 6.
Dynamo-Yantar (Kaliningrad) - Gazprom-Yugra (Surgut) 3:0 (25:22, 28:26, 25:16)
Injury depleted Yantar came into this matchup with 6 games losing streak. Markus Nilsson almost recovered from his knee injury, but coach Antonov decided to keep him on the bench. Yet Yantar played with resolution finally to get a win. Tkachenko and De Cecco started this time and Tkachenko scored his team’s most 17 points. But the best on Kaliningrad’s team was Chaus with 10 points and 89% effectiveness.
Surgut team has a great game last round defeating Fakel. But this time their setter Khabibullin had problems and was replaced by Kolodinsky. Proskurnya earned only two points with only 17% effectiveness.
After Yantar won first two sets in close combat, the guest team gave up in the third set 15:25. First win for Yantar since end of October. The win allowed Yantar to move out of the dangerous zone up to the 9th place. Ugra is now down to the 10th place.
Yantar: Tkachenko – 17, Shpilev – 15, Shakirov – 13, Chaus – 10.
Ugra: Krasikov – 15, Maksimov – 10, Shulepov – 9.
Lokomotiv-Belogorie (Belgorod) - Dynamo (Moscow) 3:2 (25:23, 25:22, 16:25, 20:25, 15:12)
If the matchup in Novosibirsk between Lokomotiv and Kazan was a bit frustrating after Kazan took over in straight sets, this game went all the way and was fully up to the expectations. Belogorie started the 2010 season with confidence and was the main surprised at the early stages of the Superleague. But recently the team was alternating great games with unexpected losses. Dynamo, on the contrary, had the worst start of the season, but now seemly they are little-by-little back into the shape and with the return of great Brazilian Dante, they are well posed to get back into the contention. Last week they defeated in CEV CL Trentino at home with score 3:1 and were determined to take revenge of rather embarrassing loss from Belgorod in the first half of the Superleague.
Belgorod’s head coach Shipulin brought a new setter – Vasileios Kournetas from Olympiakos. This is first time 33 years old veteran plays outside of his country. He just was replaced by German setter Tischer in the Olympiakos’ starting lineup. With his experience he is a good match for very young Belgorod team. He signed with Lokomotiv at the end of 2009 and debuted in the Superleague after just couple practices with his new team. In general, the debut was a success. It took a bit for him to get used to the Russian tall hitters 218sm Musersky and 216 Dinaikin. But after that everything started clicking for the host team and Belgorod, with fierce opposition from Dynamo, gained two sets lead. But as a sign that Dynamo in getting there, the Moscow team stormed back into the match by taking next two sets. Cherednik replaced his outside hitter Poltavsky with another veteran Yakovlev and sent Samoilenko instead of Volkov. The substitutions worked like charm for Dynamo and they tied the score at two sets a piece.
The tie break was a cliffhanger with teams getting points in turns till 10:10. At the end Dineikin was the factor with his blocks and spikes that earned the victory for Belgorod. Overall both teams played very high level volleyball. Khtei had 78% positive out of 30 receptions; and Dineikin has 100% offence effectiveness scoring 5 out of 5 attacks. Tsherbinin had 82% effectiveness and scored 12 points.
Belgorod: Mysersky – 24, Khtei – 16, Ilinykh – 10, Dineikin, Kajevich – all 7.
Dynamo: Berezhko – 21, Dante – 20, Tsherbinin - 12, Yakkovlev – 10, Poltavsky – 8, Samoilenko – 7.
Ural (Ufa) - Lokomotiv-Izumrud (Ekaterinburg) 3:1 (18:25, 25:16, 26:24, 25:21)
Izumrud played again without injured Gerasimov. He started practicing but would be back only sometimes closer to the playoffs. Until then Lokomotiv starts Tarasov. The first set was close until Izumrud had a four points run that started with Aleksiev serve ace and couple opponent’s reception errors. The visitors gained an insurmountable seven points lead 21:14 and soon took the first set. The second set started with great plays by substitute Melnik and Ural opened up 4 points lead 5:1. The host team restored the needed confidence, led all the way and easily took the set. Ufa kept the momentum into the third set and was ahead by six points 14:8 and 16:10. Izumrud made some corrections in blocking and staged a comeback to tie the score at 24:24. But eventually Starovic, had some problems in the early sets, delivered couple great plays with block-out to give his team a set point followed by a block on Tarasov to win the set for Ural.
Izumrud started the fourth set better to capture 8:5 lead, but then give up too many points in defense. Ural recaptured the lead at 15:14 and never looked back 25:21.
After the win Izumrud jumped up to the seventh place; and Izumrud now are the second from the last.
Yaroslavich (Yaroslavl) - Iskra (Odintsovo) 0:3 (26:28, 22:25, 26:28)
Last round Yaroslavich delivered the first defeat to Zenit, the leader of the Superleague. So it was curious can the team continue to play the giants slayer role in the home game with Iskra. The answer is: “No.” Iskra came into Yaroslavl well prepared and first thing they did was to take care of Mikhailov. He still got 18 points, but any game when Mikhailov scores less than 30 points, Yaroslavich is in deep hole. Same was this time.
Although all three sets were fought closely, Odintsovo just had much more weapons. Iskra’s offense just overpowered the host team with middle blockers Egorchev attacking with 80% effectiveness and Astashenko with 67%. Kroglov was great all around receiving 25 serves 76% positive and scoring 12 points with 53% effectiveness. Spiridonov score most for Iskra with 56% effectiveness. Schops is still recovering from the injury and it might take some time for him to regain his best. But even without him Odintsovo looks like a formidable opponent.
Yaroslavich: Mikhailov – 18, Titich, Afinogenov – all 9.
Iskra: Spiridonova – 18, Kruglov, Schops – all 12, Egorchev – 8, Astashenko – 7.
Numbers…. Well, a lot of numbers (stats and etc.)
Musersky – 24; Kiktev – 22; Stanley, Berezhko – all 21; Melnik, Dante – all 20.
Best Spikers (Points/Errors/Succ %):
Volvich – 11/0/85%; Aleksiev - 17/0/81%; Stanley – 14/1/70%;
Abrosimov – 6; Yakovlev, Egorchev, Lee, Mastyuk, Samoilenko – all 4.
Best Receivers (Total/Errors/Pos%):
Salparov – 28/0/82%; Khtei – 32/0/78%; Kruglov – 25/0/76%.
Stanley – 6; Tetyukhin, Kiktev, Krasikov, Spiridonov – all 3.