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India Holds Off Russia for Second Straight Upset

India Head Coach M.H. Kumara celebrates with libero Surender Kumar

PUNE, India (Aug. 4, 2009) – India scored eight straight points to bounce back from a 7-4 deficit to Russia in the fifth set to capture a 25-22, 26-28, 33-31, 22-25, 15-11 victory and start off the FIVB Men’s Junior World Championship (U-21) second round Pool F on a positive note at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune, India.

Singh Gurinder led India’s offense with 29 points, while Jacob Manidurai Naveen Raja scored six of his 26 points in the deciding fifth set. Mandeep Singh added 14 points in the victory.

Russia’s Levan Kalandadze scored a tournament-high 41 points in the match including 36 kills, three blocks and two aces. Artem Volvich and Alexander Markin added 11 points in the loss.

Although Russia had a 15-11 advantage in blocks and 72-71 margin in kills, it was India winning the serving battle with a 6-4 margin. India, which upset USA on the final day of first round pool play, had a seven-point difference in opponent errors in its favor at 33-26.

Russia challenges Belgium on Wednesday at 14:00 on the second of three days of top eight classification pool play. India returns to the court against Argentina at 18:00 on Wednesday in its second contest.

A Gurinder kill and Russia error gave India the first two points of the opening set. However, Kalandadze put down a kill to tie the set immediately at 2-all. India went up on a 4-0 scoring spurt that included a Balwinder kill and three Russia errors to go into the technical timeout leading 8-4. Russia cut into the deficit after an India error to put the score at 8-6. Manidurai Naveen Raja scored consecutive aces to give the hosts an 11-6 lead. Indi went into the second technical timeout up 16-10. Kalandadze served an ace slicing into the hole at 17-13. India stretched its lead to seven points at 21-14. Volvich put up a block as Russia moved to 21-16. Volvich was part of a triple block to cut the gap to 23-19. Russia inched to within two at 24-22 as India hit into the net and Shcherbinin put down the kill. However, it was not enough as India held on for the 25-22 victory. During the opening set, India benefited from 12 Russia errors and Manidurai Naveen Raja had five points.

Kalandadze scored a kill allowing Russia to start the second set leading 2-0. India came back to tie the set at 2-all. India took its first lead of the second set at 6-5 drawing a huge outburst from the fans. Two consecutive Russian attack errors increased India’s margin to 8-5 at the first technical timeout. Gurinder stuff blocked consecutive Russia attack at 12-7 as part of a 3-0 run. Volvich put up a block with two teammates to give Russia a 12-9 deficit. India went into the second technical timeout leading 16-12. Russia scored the first three points out of the break capped by a triple block formation cutting the deficit to 16-15. Russia added three of the next four points to take a 18-17 lead. Kalandadze won a joust at the net to increase Russia’s lead to 20-18. Chervyakov and Moskvin formed a block to extend the gap to three points at 21-18 forcing a India timeout. India won its own joust at the net and Russia hit wide to tie the set at 21-all. Navjit Singh stuff blocked a Russia attack returning India to the lead at 22-21 with its fourth straight point. An India touch shot over the Russia block landed out of bounds giving the visitors a 23-22 lead, but was tied up at 23-all on a Russia service error. R Vaishnav put up an Indian block to give his team a 24-23 set point. Russia returned with an ace from Volvich to put it in front 25-24. Consecutive errors by India gave Russia the victory at 28-26. Kalandadze notched eight points in the second set for Russia as it gained nine points off India errors. Gurinder scored 10 points in the period for India.

Baldinder put an ace just inside the back line and Russia followed with an error providing India a quick 3-0 lead to the third set. India went into the first technical timeout with an 8-4 advantage. The gap was reduced in half as India hit long at 9-7. Singh Navjit hammered a kill to increase the India lead to 11-8. Manidurai Naveen Raja took a killoff the block strengthening the margin to 14-10. An Indian attack went long and Russia put up a block to slice the deficit back to one at 14-13. Volvich powered down a block to tie the set at 15-all. India scored points on each side of the second technical timeout to regain its two-point edge at 17-15. Mandeep and Singh formed a block pushing the Indian margin to 18-15 forcing a Russia timeout. Out of the break, Russia hit long for India’s fourth straight point at 19-15. Kalandadze hit a kill off the block to narrow the score to 19-17. Another Russia block pulled it to 21-20. Russia tied the set at 22-all with a Moskvin kill. Shcherbinin put down a block to give Russia its first set point at 28-27 after the teams traded several points. Vaishnav gave India the lead back at 31-30 with a kill. Singh scored the final point of the set with a block at 33-31. Gurinder notched eight points for India, while Russia was led by the 13 points of Kalandadze in the third set.

India took a 6-4 lead for its first two-point cushion of the fourth set, but Volvich put down a kill off the block to tie the set at 7-all. After trading points to 15-all, Russia scored on its own serve with an from Volvich to go into the second technical timeout leading 16-15. Russia inched its lead to 18-16 with consecutive points forcing an India timeout. Valentin Bezrokov dumped a block in front of India to give Russia a 20-17 advantage. India inched closer at 24-22 as a Russia attack on set point went long, but Kalandadze got a touch call off the block to yield a 25-22 victory. Kalandadze added seven points to his night’s performance in the fourth set, while Gurinder totaled six points for India.

India scored the first two points of the tiebreaking fifth set after a Russia attack went into the net. Russia bounced back with three unanswered points including two India errors at 3-2. Russia expanded the lead up to three at 7-4, but rattled off four straight points, highlighted by a stuff block by Ranjeet Singh. Gurinder added an ace to expand India’s lead to 9-7. Manidurai Naveen Raja added to the run of six points with a kill off the Russia block causing the visitors to call timeout down 10-7. An Indian block and Manidurai Naveen Raja kill extended the roll of eight points to 12-7. India held off Russia down the stretch to win 15-11.


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