KAZAKHSTAN CRUISE TO 3-0 WIN ON AUSTRALIA
Almaty, Kazakhstan, May 19, 2018 – Kazakhstan sealed a straight-sets victory (25-12, 25-17, 25-13) against Australia in day two of the AVC Qualification for the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Challenger Cup at the Baluan Sholak Sports Palace on Saturday.
Kazakhstan’s frontline enforced a strong game with 35 attacks and 14 blocks. Katerina Tatko was the top scorer with 10 points, while Olga Drobyshevskaya and Alessya Safronova helped out with nine points each.
Coach Vyacheslav Shapran said “Our team prepared for this match as we were able to watch the match of Australia.”
Australia coach Shannon Winzer congratulated the winners and commended the hosts as a good and well-prepared team.
“I would have hoped they have met a better Australian team today. We struggled in most aspects and when you can’t get the basics right, it’s very difficult to be a team at the level of Kazakhstan,” Winzer said.
Australia captain Beth Carey added “Kazakhstan is a strong and consistent team and unfortunately, we didn’t show our strengths today.”
The hosts showed their strengths early on and charged to an 11-5 lead in the first set, with Tatko connecting from the left flank, and Safronova sliding to the right. The Kazakh side also added pressure from the service line the dealt much difficulty for the opponents’ reception. Sana Anarkulova also found her rhythm from the flanks to take the hosts to 16-8 into the second technical time-out. By this time, the hosts found great variety in their plays, which opened up the defense of their opponents.
Meanwhile, Australia was unable to convert their efforts into points, and suffered instead from errors in passing and attacking. Kazakhstan seized good momentum as they connected with their blocks, to win 25-12 in the first set.
Australia coach Winzer enlisted some players off the bench for the second set, to give the game a fresh perspective. Jennifer Sadler and Jamie-Lee Morrow tried to fire from the wings, but the Australian side was still unable to establish good rhythm. The hosts grabbed an 8-3 lead in the first technical time-out.
Kazakh hitter Drobyshevskaya, who also came off Vyacheslav Shapran’s bench, operated with much success from the right side, to help carve an 16-8 lead.
With Katarina Osadchuk and Sadler organizing well-timed blocks, the Australian side raced to four straight points. The team displayed better poise and cohesion in transition plays but later fell to errors.
Meanwhile, the hosts regained composure, with Yekaterina Zhadanova and Tatko on the scoring front, to help take 25-17 in the second set.
By the third set, the Kazakh side continued to impose their dominance with their frontline. Setter Natalya Akilova ran her plays well, but also managed to pick up some points on attack and block. While not being entirely error-free in their game, the hosts showed that they could run their offense quite cohesively, and still play good defense by the net and on the second line. Safronova persisted with her blocks, to help seal victory with 25-12 in the final set.
Kazakhstan captain Radmila Beresneva remarked “We were able to follow our game plan for today, and good teamwork was the key.”
The hosts will hope to continue their momentum in their match against face Chinese Taipei on Sunday, May 20 at 1400h local. The eventual winner will progress to the FIVB Challenger Cup as the contender from AVC.
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