Volleyball News


Almaty, Kazakhstan, May 19, 2018 –  Hosts Kazakhstan stood through a strong serving game to win 3-1 (18-25, 25-16, 25-17, 25-18) against Pakistan for the AVC Qualification for the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Challenger Cup at the Baluan Sholak Sports Palace on Saturday.

Vitaliy Vorivodin led all scorers on the board with 19 points, but the entire Kazakh squad worked hard collectively on serves (10 aces) and blocks (10).

Kazakhstan coach Igor Nikolchenko said: “When we made our adjustments in service by the second set, we were able to control the game from then on.”

Kazakhstan captain Alexandr Stolnikov also commented on the competition and the home crowd.“Pakistan is a really good team so we tried to play with our best effort, with the help of all the spectators,“ he said.

Pakistan coach Hamid Mohavedi underlined the need for more exposure for his team. “Our players need to find more experience to be able to handle difficult moments on the court,” he said.

Pakistan captain Rasool Mohib added “We want to consider this match as a good experience as we move forward with our volleyball program.”

Pakistan, in fact, opened with a 7-2 run, showing their prowess in the frontline, and running good counter-attacks. The hosts, on the other hand, relied on their main hitters Vorivodin and Vitaliy Erdshtein, but could not manage a good rhythm to seize the advantage.

The Pakistan side, meanwhile, took to their main weapon Jehan Murad, who was nearly flawless from the flank. They led 16-12 by the second technical time-out. The Kazakh side were able to side-out with quick points at the middle, but they seemed to lack consistency in counter-attacks. Pakistan took the first set at 25-18 with Khan Aimal connecting down the line.

In the second set, Kazakhstan took an early 5-3 lead by adding pressure to their serve. This adjustment saw off a Pakistan team that was unusually hesitant in their plays.

Captain Stolnikov served off back-to-back aces, while opposite Maxim Michshenko ignited from the right side to bring the hosts to 16-11 at the second technical time-out. The Kazakh servers continued to enforce difficulty onto their opponents’ passing lanes, to help take 25-16 in the second set.

By the third set, teams exchanged points, well until Kazakhstan reverted to their strong service. Vorivodin continued to attack from the wing, while Anton Kuznetsov struck at the middle. The hosts settled into a 14-8 lead. Pakistan fought back to gain three quick points, but Michshenko took to the right flank to hand the hosts a 16-11 lead at the second technical time-out.  Setter Sergey Kuznetsov utilized all his hitters which found their opponents’ defense wide open. Their block was, likewise, well-organized to help secure the third set at 25-17.

The fourth set saw renewed energies from the Pakistan side, with Aimal igniting from the right side. The hosts retaliated with the read block efforts and middle attacks of Anton Kuznetsov and Nodirkhan Kadirkhanov, to help towards a 16-13 lead at the second technical time-out. Service pressure for the Kazakh side worked well until the end of the final set, with 25-18.

Kazakhstan will aim for a second and crucial victory against Chinese Taipei (Sunday, 1700h local), that could help send them to a playoff against the CSV winner, for a slot at the FIVB Challenger Cup.


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