Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan, May 25, 2017 – The home crowd in Boris Alexandrov Sports Palace cheered to the sweet taste of a 3-2 victory (21-25, 25-22, 25-19, 17-25, 15-11) by Altay VC against Chinese Taipei’s Taiwan Power in Group A of the SMM 2017 Asian Women’s Club Samruk Kazyna Volleyball Championship on Thursday.
Kristina Anikonova led Altay VC with 19 points but found difficulty in playing against a tough Chinese Taipei club.
“It was a difficult match because our opponents were very active and strong in defence. This was the main challenge we needed to face,” Anikonova said.
“We have a new coach in the team and we tried our best to win for him. Of course, all the spectators were cheering for us and so this victory is dedicated to them,” Anikonova added.
In the first set, Chinese Taipei’s Taiwan Power showed how they could compete against a much taller team. They played good defence and set up their plays rather carefully, to take a 3-0 lead.
Altay then showed their power at the net and connected with blocks from Lyudmila Issayeva and Sana Anarkulova to stay within a point at the first technical time-out.
Taiwan Power captain Chang Li-Yun snapped back-to-back points, favouring off-speed attacks. By this time, Altay VC were having problems with their first ball, which gave the 16-12 lead to Chinese Taipei by the second technical time-out.
Altay VC’s Tatyana Pyurova and Anikonova helped bring the match at 18-18. Teams traded points, each displaying innate strength: powerful attacks for Altay VC and good defence for Taiwan Power. It was Chinese Taipei’s persistent defence and precise attacks that prevailed at the end of the first set, 25-21.
In the second set, the Kazakh side tried to employ combination plays to throw the opponents off their rhythm. Taiwan Power continued to be patient in picking up the ball and running their offence, to take 8-6 at the first technical time-out.
Chinese Taipei knew well what it meant to defend and easily took advantage of empty spots in the Kazakh defence.
Issayeva equalised at 13-13 with an ace, but an attack error by Altay VC gave the two-point advantage to Taiwan Power at the second technical time-out. Altay VC gained momentum from the powerful attacks of Yunieska Robles, giving the Kazakh side the second set at 25-22.
Altay VC’s Anarkulova got the home crowd roaring by connecting with blocks at the start of the third set. Blocking was clearly what was needed to keep their opponents in check. While Taiwan Power tried to keep up, their usual precise attacks started missing the mark. Pyurova soon joined Altay VC’s block party and Anarkulova sealed the third set at 25-19 with an attack down the line.
Teams exchanged points by the fourth set, with neither team taking a clearly marked advantage. Taiwan Power later had to do without their main offensive weapon, Chang Li-Yun, who slightly limped for a substitute. Tseng Wan-Ling took charge and Lee Tzu-Ying went for the tip-in to force a decider with 25-17.
In the final set, Chinese Taipei took a 5-2 lead on the effort of Chang Li-Yun and Wen I-Tzu on attack.
Kazakhstan captain Inna Matveyeva scored an ace to equalise at 5-5. Anikonova continued to impose her presence at the net and even from the service line. Another block by Anarkulova brought Altay VC to 11-8. With the crowd cheering on Altay VC seized the momentum towards a 15-11 finish.
Kazakhstan’s Altay VC will face Thailand’s Supreme VC on Friday, May 26, at 19:00 local time.
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