Almaty, Kazakhstan, September 24, 2017 – Kazakhstan completed Pool A of the 2018 FIVB Women’s World Championship – AVC Qualification Tournament) with a straight-sets win against Fiji (25-8, 25-19, 25-14) at the Baluan Sholak Sports Palace on Sunday.
Kazakhstan coach Vyacheslav Shapran was filled with intense emotions in the press conference after the match. “We have fulfilled the honour to join the 24 strongest teams in the competition in Tokyo. We managed to form a powerful team within a short period of time. It was through hard work, patience, and everyone’s support that we earned this ticket,” said Shapran.
Captain Radmila Beresneva and Katerina Tatko were the top scorers for the victors, contributing 12 points each. Fiji’s Anaseini Seniloli likewise scored 12 points in the match.
“We are happy to win and we finally got this ticket after so many injuries and other things we needed to face. We got together and made it. I want to thank the entire team as we all supported one another,” said Kazakhstan’s captain.
Beresneva and Sana Anarkulova stepped up as primary options that sparked the host team’s offence. The Kazakh side completely outplayed their opponents, connecting on a total of 19 attacks as Fiji were limited to four spikes. The hosts sent their bench players on court, and fully knew when and where to attack. Kazakhstan easily found unmanned spots on their opponents’ court to take the first set at 25-8.
In the next set, Kazakhstan coach Shapran looked to his bench players more for the offensive runs. Irina Kenzhebaeva and Tatko connected from the flank but the hosts fell to costly errors. Meanwhile, Fiji put in with extra effort in defence to set up Seniloli on attack. However, they needed to work more steadily and cohesively, especially against their opponents’ middle attack. Yana Petrenko and Alessya Safronova fortified the Kazakh frontline to help seal the second set at 25-19.
By the third set, substitute setter Aliya Batkuldina orchestrated Kazakhstan’s offence by enabling nearly every hitter on the floor. Fiji’s Jiko Kotoibuavou had some good runs, but her effort alone was not enough. The host team carried on with good momentum, scoring off service aces, to help seal the final set at 25-14.
Coach Basilio Kalokalodromu was pleased with how the competition unfolded for debutants Fiji. “It has been a very good experience for us this week, as we managed to complete with top-level volleyball teams,” he said.
Fiji captain Karisitiana Ulamila added “We have learned a lot. When we go back to our country, we will have a lot to work on”.
Kazakhstan posted a total of 44 attacks, six blocks and seven service aces to formally secure one of two coveted slots for the 2018 World Championship in Japan.
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