KAZAKHSTAN CLAIM CHALLENGER CUP PLAY-OFF RIGHTS
Almaty, Kazakhstan, May 20, 2018 – Kazakhstan captured a straight-sets win (25-19, 27-25, 25-20) against Chinese Taipei at the Baluan Sholak Sports Palace. The victory translates to a right to play-off against the CSV representative, for eventual qualification at the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Challenger Cup.
Vitaliy Vorivodin led all scorers on the board with 14 points from 12 attacks and two aces. Nodirkhan Kadirkhanov added up another 12 markers to make for the hosts’ strong game at the middle.
Kazakhstan captain Alexandr Stolnikov celebrated Sunday’s victory with much delight. “It’s great to have a chance to be in the play-off, but honestly, we made a lot of mistakes today,’ he said.
Kazakhstan coach Igor Nikolchenko added ‘We need to work on these mistakes so we can reach the next round.”
Kazakhstan took to an 8-6 lead in the first technical time-out with NKadirkhanov striking at the middle, while Maxim Michshenko took the right flank. Chinese Taipei enabled Chien-Feng Huang’s lethal mix of attacks and blocks, to stay within pace at 15-15. The hosts needed to install tighter presence and Anton Kuznetsov took charge to help gain three consecutive points. Vorivodin went on a rampage and scored from the wings to help the Kazakh side win the opening set at 25-19.
In the second set, Chien-Feng Huang continued to deliver effectively, and enlisted support from Hung-Min Liu at the middle, to help Chinese Taipei gain 8-4 at the first technical time-out. Opposite Tsung-Hsuan Wu likewise stood fearless at the right side, even against the tall blockers of the opponents.
The Kazakh hitters came up with strong spikes, worked their system with much patience and inched their way slowly to equalize at 23-23. After a Vorivodin ace and a Kadirkhanov block, the hosts took the second set at 27-25.
By the third set, the hosts ran more combinations and utilized another hitter, Vassiliy Donets. Kadirkhanov continued to work the middle while Vorivodin played quite consistently from upfront. Chinese Taipei’s Hong-Jie Liu and Hung-Min Liu chalked up some points, but errors in attack and serve muddled the chances to stage a comeback. The hosts completed the third set at 25-20 as Michshenko struck from the right side.
Chinese Taipei captain Chien-Chen Chen who sat out the game commented “The Kazakh team did a good job in serve and block so we unfortunately lost the game. But somehow, we enjoyed the match, knowing that we played against a really good team.”