Volleyball News


Almaty, Kazakhstan, May 20, 2018 – Kazakhstan gained entry as the AVC contender in to the inaugural FIVB Challenger Cup with Sunday’s 3-1 win (24-26, 25-18, 25-17, 25-14) against Chinese Taipei at the Baluan Sholak Sports Palace.

Coach Vyacheslav Shapran found the match to be an extremely difficult one. “Chinese Taipei is a good, strong team. They showed true character especially in defense as they fought for every ball,” he said.

Yekaterina Zhdanova rose above the situation and emerged as the top scorer with 16 points. Olga Drobyshevskaya delivered another 15 markers, but the Kazakh squad served up a total of 13 aces that threw off Chinese Taipei’s traditionally effective floor defense.

Chinese Taipei Coach Cheng-Shan Yao said “Kazakhstan is a very strong team especially in attack, but they played a good all-around game today.”

The Chinese Taipei side played with much composure to open the match, with captain Li-Yun Chang, Yu Lee  “and Tzu-Ya Chen  taking charge of the flanks. They seem to have found a way to throw off the defensive rhythm and the opponents’ taller defenders to simply break through the block. They took a hefty lead with 11-6.

Kazakhstan tried to run their offense at the middle, with Kristina Anikonova and Alessya Safronova, as the hosts needed to remember this a their known advantage. Sana Anarkulova started to strike from the left, but the Kazakh side could not seem to run their counter-attacks effectively. They gave way to a 16-11 lead for the opponents at the second technical time-out. Safronova and Olga Drobyshevskaya picked up crucial points on transition to help bring the hosts to a 20-20 tie.

Chinese Taipei tried to enforce more pressure on their serve, and ran varied plays to open up the defense of their opponents. Tzu-Ya Chen delivered points on serve and attack to help win the opener at 26-24.

By the second set, Kazakhstan raced to an 8-3 lead, with the help of Drobyshevskaya’s back-to-back aces. Apart from stronger serves, the hosts grew more cohesive in playing defense even on the second line. But they could not somehow sustain the same level, as they suffered from errors on passing and attack.

Chinese Taipei surmounted the lead with 16-15 at the second technical time-out,by using their effective attacks from the wing.

Kazakhstan stood their ground and enabled Zhdanova and Anarkulova on offense to gain back the lead at 20-17. By this time, the Kazakh defenders have grown more aggressive with full commitment on their blocks, and forced errors upon their opponents, to take the second set at 25-18.

In the next set, the hosts took a massive 16-5 lead with a lethal combnation of strong service and solid blocking. Zhdanova and Anarkulova also helped deliver the points from the wing, while Drobyshevskaya outsmarted the competiton with her tip-ins. There was not much for Chinese Taipei to do, save for some points from Hsi Chen, Wan-Ling Tseng, and Tzu-Ya Chen. The Kazakh side had the luxury of a huge lead, to eventually take 25-17 in the third set.

The fourth set bannered fantastic rallies that showcased both resilience and presence of mind of the teams. Chinese Taipei’s Hsiang-Ling Hsiao was set up at the wing, while Kazakh middle Safronova continued her dominance up front.

The hosts later took 16-8 at the second technical time-out and once again, established a commanding presence that the opponents found difficult to shake off. Kazakhstan operated with clockwork precision in the frontline. Anarkulova delivered the final attack at the left side to give a 25-14 victory for the hosts in the final set.

Captain Radmila Beresneva said “I would like to commend Chinese Taipei for such a fantastic game today. I wish them the best of luck in this season.”

Chinese Taipei captain Li-Yun Chang added “I think both teams played well today. As for our team, we surely have room to grow and improve.”


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