MUSERSKIY WALLS OFF KOREA IN HARD-FOUGHT RUSSIAN WIN
Krakow, Poland, May 27, 2018 – Dmitriy Muserskiy was late to get into routine in Russia’s FIVB Volleyball Nations League game against Korea, but when he did, the victory was inevitable. He registered five stuff blocks on the way to a 3-0 (28-26, 25-21, 25-15) win.
Muserskiy was the second best scorer on the Russian squad, as he added one ace and six spikes for an overall tally of 12 points, one fewer than Egor Kliuka and one more than Konstantin Bakun.
The Russians did better than their opponents on all counts, but most solidly in blocking – 12 stuffs against only three.
Korea’s Jae-Duck Seo made a tremendous performance, especially in the first two sets, and despite the tall blockers on the other side of the net, managed to score 13 spikes, to which he added a couple of aces for the top scorer honours with 15 points.
The first two sets were very competitive, with Korea fighting bravely and Russia emerging victorious in the conclusive moments. The third was quite one-sided with coach Sergei Shliapnikov’s team totally dominating on the court for a landslide win.
Three points in a row by Ilia Vlasov (two thunder shots and a monster block) gave Russia a 7-4 lead in the first set. A few high-flying spikes by Jae-Duck Seo were garnished with an ace by Korea’s opposite spiker to level the score at 9-9 and set off an even fight for every point all the way through the overtime. With Russia dominating in blocking, but Korea way better in attack, the set went long and finally finished at 28-26 Russia’s way with an opponent error.
It was a Korean party on the court, when the Asian squad managed to score their first two stuff blocks of the match, courtesy of Jae-Hwi Kim and Kyumin Kim, to cancel an early Russian lead in the second set. The same two players made some lightning shots through the middle, and with Seo scoring prolifically from position 2, it was all real for Korea through 12-12. Two successful spikes, followed by two aces in a row, all by Egor Kliuka, gave Russia a comfortable 17-13 lead. The Koreans kept the battle on, but never managed to catch up again. Muserskiy aced to bring his team to set point at 24-20, before Kliuka put the ball on the floor for a 25-21 win.
In the third set, Korea survived through 4-4. The first break point of the set came from a Konstantin Bakun ace, which was the first of a string of seven serves from Russia’s opposite. At 10-4, the European side now had a comfortable lead, which they continued to extend, cruising to a 25-15 win, shaped up by Vlasov with a hammer nail through the middle for the last point.
Next weekend Russia will travel to Sofia to play against Australia, Serbia and hosts Bulgaria, while Korea will make the trip to Goiania to join the company of Japan, USA and home side Brazil.
Russia player Egor Kobzar: “It was a normal game for me. We had to win but we played nervously. We were all thinking that we couldn’t lose and it is only when we played on our level that we were able to win comfortably at 25-15 in the third set.”
Russia player Dmitriy Muserskiy: “It was very difficult to play three days in a row because the whole team is tired. We had problems keeping our focus on the game, but somehow we managed to win. I think we can still play better. We are going in the right direction with our work and I am sure that we will be improving our game each week.”
Korea player Kim Jae Hwi: “This match was really fun. We learned a lot through this, so it was a great game. All of our players did their best. By being here, I think we gained a lot of good experience. We really wanted to play well and put a lot of effort on this. Russia did not use any surprising techniques, but their biggest advantage is their physical strength. Seeing Korean fans on the stands gave us some confidence, that’s why this match was fun for us.”
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