Volleyball News

Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, September 28, 2016 – Powerful Kazakhstan pulled off a convincing straight-set 25-17 25-20 25-21 victory over Australia to take home the 5th place at the “SMM” 5th AVC Cup for Men at the Nakhon Pathom Gymnasium here on Wednesday.

The Kazakhstan’s starters included powerful hitter Maxim Michshenko, Vitaliy Vorivodin and Dmitry Vovnenko, the tournament’s tallest player with the amazing height of 212cm, while Australia, which overpowered title-holders Korea the previous day, fielded young bloods led by ace spiker Jordan Richards, Thomas Hodges and Arshdeep Dosanujh.

Kazakhstan and Australia battled it out heavily to vie for the pole position in the first set. With more individual talents strengthening their team, Kazakhstan took an early 11-9 lead, thanks to mighty attacks from Michshenko and powerful jump serves by Vitaliy Vorivodin. Australia tried to narrow the gap, making use of Richards’ aggressive attacks, but Dmitry Vovnenko and Anton Kuznetsov performed an impeccable defence to blunt Richards’ attacking attempts. Kazakhstan took the set 25-17.

Kazakhstan continued their onslaughts in the second set. After leading narrowly 15-14, the Kazakhs went on their great show. Australia tried to regain their form, but their fightback was in vain when Kazakhstan foiled the rivals’ determined attempts to capture the set 25-20.

The third set was briefly dominated by Australia when they regained their composure to take an initial 6-2 lead. Michshenko gave Kazakhstan a strong comeback when he came up with powerful jump serves and acrobatic spikes. Australia lost their concentration to trail 16-18 at the final assault, while Kazakhstan’s confidence grew increasingly. Vorivodin produced an erratic serve, leaving Australia to come close 21-24 and Michshenko exploded a powerful spike to end the Aussies’ determined challenge. Kazakhstan captured the set 25-21, match and the 5th place. Australia finished 6th position.

Maxim Michshenko scored a team-hight 20 points for Kazakhstan, all of them from his deadly attacks. Vitality Vorivodin added with 10 kills and 4 stuff blocks. Thomas Hodges led Australia with 12 points including 10 kills.

“It’s a pity the win did not come in the semi-finals. Despite the win, I’m not happy with it. There are only eight teams competing in this championship and therefore, to finish fifth is not that impressive. In our previous match against Japan, we made too many mistakes. We did not serve well. Japan’s tactics and techniques are good beyond our expectation. I think if we want to be successful as Japan, we have to play well not only in spiking, but also serving and blocking. We still need improvement,” Kazakhstan’s head coach Igor Nikolchenko commented.

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