MAMMADOVA’S 24 POINTS POWER ALTAY TO FIRST VICTORY
Shaoxing, China, December 8, 2018 – Natalya Mammadova led Altay Volleyball Club to earn their first victory in the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship, following a 3-2 (25-14, 18-25, 25-23, 23-25, 15-9) win over Zhejiang Women’s Volleyball Club on Saturday.
Mammadova finished the match with 22 spikes, a block and an ace to lead all scorers. Sana Anarkulova contributed 22 points, including 18 kills, one block and three aces. Zhejiang’s Liu Yanhan and Ren Kaiyi had 21 and 18 points, respectively.
Altay’s offence had a good run with Mammadova’s spikes and Anarkulova’s aces, likewise their defence was tough Zhejiang’s main weapon Liu in the opening set. The Kazakh club built a big lead, which they protected until they closed the set at 25-14.
In the second set, Zhejiang recovered from the setback in the opening period, as their main hitters Liu and Ren Kaiyi converted on their attempts to build a huge lead after the second technical timeout. Ren scored on a cross-court spike that sealed the second set for Zhejiang 25-18.
Zhejiang opened the third set with a lead, courtesy of Ren, who continued to score. Mammadova’s strong swings from the right flank helped Altay grab a slim lead. Zhejiang bring Zhejiang to within one point 21-20. Altay reached set point, but Liu scored three straight points for Zhejiang to cut down the lead 24-23. After a long rally, Anarkulova’s spike was blocked out to give Altay a 2-1 set advantage at 25-23.
Both sides relied on their key hitters – Altay with Mammadova and Anarkulova, and Zhejiang with Ren and Liu. After the deadlock at 18-all, Liu guided her team to elude Altay 25-23 in the fourth set. In the final set, score was deadlocked at 7-all, but Mammadova and Matea Ikic made clutch hits for a 14-8 advantage, until Liu’s service blunder conceded set and match to Altay 15-9.
Altay Volleyball Club coach Iurii Panchenko: “I’m very happy to earn our first win. We played against a very good Chinese team. We could not control our mistakes in the other sets, but we had a better control in the tiebreaker. This victory is very good for our future.”
Zhejiang Women’s Volleyball Club coach Wang Hebin: “We tried our very best in this match. We fought hard to get every point. However, we had a bad first set. We still do not have that cohesiveness in the team. The connection between the setter and the middle blocker was not good. Also, after playing a tough match last night, we are not in top condition.”
Zhejiang Women’s Volleyball Club player Liu Yanhan: “Our physical condition is not very good coming into this match. We need to be able to adapt to these tough situations and know how to communicate well with each other. We had difficulty playing against Altay because we were not able to scout them well.”
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