Jiangsu Zhongtian Steel steal thunder from Altay in tie-breaker
Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan, July 18, 2018 – China’s Jiangsu Zhongtian Steel bagged the bronze medal at the SMM 2018 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship after Wednesday’s tie-breaker win against Kazakhstan’s Altay (25-20, 25-23, 21-25, 17-25, 15-12) at the Boris Alexandrov Sports Palace.
Xinyi Zhou posted a 24-point performance, connecting with 17 attacks, six blocks and a service ace.
Jiangsu Zhongtian Steel imposed a quick offense with Zhou and Wenjin Yang on attack. They proved effective as they capitalized on their opponents’ reception miscues. The Chinese side gained a huge advantage with 16-10 at the second technical time-out. The hosts continued to face problems in reception and later, faced even more difficulty with the opponents’ blockers. The Chinese club took the first set at 25-20.
For the next set, Altay adjusted their play, as they utilized Olga Drobyshevskaya and Sana Anarkulova on offense. They performed with a marked improvement on reception, and they were able to make good decisions in transition. Jiangsu Zhongtian Steel instilled pressure on serve and found their opponents scrambling on reception once more. The Chinese side took 16-15 at the second TTO. The home team kept the contest close, but errors in reception and attack gave way to a 25-23 win for the Chinese club at the end of the second set.
By the third set, the hosts tried enlisted setter Botagoz Sarsenbayeva to orchestrate their offense. They connected with Yunieska Robles swinging from the right side. They also tried to implement a better, tighter block formation. Altay managed to reach to the second TTO at 16-12 with better composure in the court. Drobyshevskaya and Anarkulova continued to work in both offense and defense to help bring the hosts to 25-21 in the third.
In the fourth set, Altay seized good momentum in their net defense and took 8-4 in the first TTO. China’s Han Wu and Ruoya Xu helped retaliate in attack, but the Kazakh side seemed to have found good rhythm, combining sharp swings with off-speed winners. They also performed better from the service line, making for a better all-around game. Altay established a good lead, but suffered a blow with Drobyshevskaya sustaining an injury. The hosts maintained their composure to force the decider with 25-17 in the fourth set.
In the tie-breaker, Jiangsu Zhongtian Steel took the 8-4 advantage at the change-over, with the help of Wu and Zhou up front. Altay took three straight points, including Heloiza Pereira’s swing from the right side. The hosts needed to keep a tight game in defense especially with China using their service as a weapon. Jiangsu Zhongtian Steel once again took cue from their opponents’ flawed reception to win 15-12 in the fifth set.
Jiangsu Zhongtian Steel coach Bin Cai said “Admittedly, we have a lot of young players, and so, there were many ups and downs during the match. Finally, they were able to handle the pressure well, to win the match.”
Captain Ruoya Xu said “Today we had a lot of chances to finish the match early on but we missed on those chances. This is one thing that we have to improve on.”
Altay coach Iurii Panchenko said “Congratulations to our opponents, the Chinese team. Our team made so many errors today. In the fifth set, one error can do so much impact.”
Altay captain Sana Anarkulova said “We really tried to our best in this match but unfortunately, we lost one important player (Drobyshevskaya).”
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