Zenit KAZAN claims all-Russian clash of the titans
2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men
Kazan, Russia, October 30, 2013. On Wednesday Zenit KAZAN beat their archrivals and compatriots of Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK in the match starring the winners of the 2012 and 2013 editions of the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League. The home team around head coach Vladimir Alekno lost the opening set (14-25) but then swept the three next (25-13, 25-21, and 25-19) to claim a very important victory to bounce back from last week’s defeat to Lube Banca Marche MACERATA in Italy.
Zenit KAZAN struggled in the opening set as the hosts could not control the serves by Artem Volvich and Anton Astashenkov. NOVOSIBIRSK moved the score up to 14:8 and a triple block on home superstar Maxim Mikhailov made it 18:11 for the guests from Siberia’s largest city who wrapped it up at 25-14.
After the break wing-spiker Evgeny Sivozhelez took a leading role for Zenit KAZAN. He killed some terrific attacks and he also cheered the team up (7:5). Nikolay Apalikov also started doing a good job at the net and blocked three times in a row the Cuban spiker of Lokomotiv, Oreol Camejo (15:8). The hosts of Zenit KAZAN played well in defense and concluded some long rallies to finish the set with a terrific margin of 12 points (25-13).
The score was very close in the third set with Pavel Moroz and Matthew Anderson anchoring Lokomotiv and Zenit respectively. Anderson and Mikhailov helped Zenit change gear and the home side did not miss any single opportunity to claim that section of the game at 25-21.
As they reached the halfway mark in the fourth set, Zenit KAZAN players looked very inspired and dictated the pace by four points at the second technical time-out. Sivozhelez and Mikhailov were those who set the tempo for Zenit and the home heroes could eventually celebrate their first victory in this edition of the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League.
“We failed in the first set but then we could show our game. It was the first match which we played with a great energy. Nikola Grbic is a great setter and I liked our quick game” said after the match the most effective player from Zenit KAZAN Matthew Anderson who registered 18 points. Pavel Moroz paced titleholders and world vice-champions Lokomotiv with 23.
“We started well but we didn’t estimate the strength of Zenit KAZAN correctly. In the second set our rivals started playing really well in offense as well as in serving. We made a lot of silly errors. We didn’t play our Volleyball. There will be a match with Lube Banca Marche MACERATA next week and we have to win in order to keep alive our chances to make the Playoffs and defend our title” said Lokomotiv wing-spiker Lukas Divis.
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