Matthew Anderson anchors KAZAN to home victory over Austrian rookie
2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Men
Kazan, Russia, November 6, 2013. Russia’s Zenit KAZAN edged Austrian rookie Posojilnica AICH/DOB 3:1 (25-14, 19-25, 25-15, and 25-19) to claim their second home victory in the prelims of the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men. US American Matthew Anderson anchored the team from the capital of Tatarstan with 7 aces.
The experienced and skillful setter Nikola Grbic was named team captain for this game as Alexander Volkov is still nursing an injury. Grbic immediately showed his skills in terms of leadership as the home side comfortably set the pace of the game in the opening set. Roman Yakovlev, who replaced Maxim Mikhailov by the time Zenit KAZAN was leading 18:12, spiked three times running to bring the advantage of the local heroes up to 10 points (23:13) and pave the way for the final 25-14.
The second set turned into a triumphal march for Posojilnica AICH/DOB opposite Valdir Sequeira who scored 3 aces in a row, followed by a calibrated attack and the away team stormed out to a 4:0 lead. After an early time-out taken by Vladimir Alekno, KAZAN was still experiencing troubles in reception trailing 3:10. Zenit players made many mistakes while the Austrians, on the contrary, played magnificently in defense. Michal Hruska blocked Roman Yakovlev for the 20:11 and the first set ever won by Posojilnica AICH/DOB in the CEV Volleyball Champions League became reality only a few minutes later.
KAZAN got back in action really determined to prove that the second set failure was just a coincidence. And they met the challenge. The main hero of the third set was Matthew Anderson, who scored 4 aces, sealed many attacks and played successfully also in blocking – 22:13. The American opposite’s contribution accounted for 12 (!) points in the set, and Zenit KAZAN players comfortably seized it with the score of 25-15.
Zenit KAZAN sealed the fourth set as well thanks to an incredible performance of their middle blockers. Ivan Demakov, Nikolay Apalikov and Nikola Grbic blocked Andrej Grut three times running – 19:11. Soon Nikolay Apalikov upset Nejc Pusnik successfully blocking him as well – 22:15 before Zenit easily brought the game to a happy end.
“I am satisfied with the final result, but unhappy with the performance. The substitutions didn’t work in the second set, thus, leading to a negative outcome. For the moment I do not like the way our setter Igor Kobzar and middle blocker Alexey Kazakov are playing” said after the match Zenit KAZAN head coach Vladimir Alekno.
“We’re playing in the “group of death” and every match is a true challenge for us. Today we were really good in the second set, but then Zenit KAZAN started playing its best. Of course, to win a set against such a strong team is a real achievement, but still we’re upset”, commented after the match the head coach of Posojilnica AICH/DOB Johan Verstappen.
Top scorer for Zenit KAZAN was Matthew Anderson with 23 points while Valdir Sequeira totaled 19 for the guests from Austria.
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