Surgut, Russia, July 10, 2009 – It took the Russian team just one hour, 21 minutes to defeat Japan in straight sets in the opening match of 2009 FIVB World League weekend on friday at the Sparta Arena in Surgut. In front of 5,500 spectators, Russia raced to a 25-19, 25-12, 25-22 victory to improve their win-loss record to 6-3. Japan dropped to the 2-7 mark.
The two teams will meet again on Saturday at Sparta Arena the for their second match of the weekend.
Russian head coach Daniele Bagnoli didn’t start Semen Poltavsky and Sergey Tetyukhin in the match as he continues to examine the best Russians players giving the chance to Maxim Mikhailov at opposite and Evgeny Sivozhelev at outside hitter. In fact, they didn’t disappointed their coach. Mikhailov topped all scores with 18 points and Sivozhelez added 11 points for Russia.
Japan missed the World League leading scorer Kunihiro Shimizu due to an injury. Kunihiro Shimizu played as opposite hitter instead of him and led Japan with 15 points.
The Russians enjoyed a mighty start (5-1) blocking almost all the attempts of the Japanese spikers and forcing Japan head coach Tatsuya Ueta to call a TO. On the restart The Asian team put up a resistance but despite they hard work in difence and Maeda Kazuki’s great job (7 kills, 2 aces in the set) they couldn’t come back. The hosts maintained a good control of the game to sail away right at the end of the set for the final 25-19.
The Russians were gaining more and more confidence in the second set as the Japanese block were unable to stop their attacks. Quite the contrary the Japanese spikers seemed powerless. Their lack of height put them in a serious trouble against the Russian “towers” at the net. The Europeans out-blocked the Asian team 7-1 in the set. Japan seemed too weak to provide any real opposition and Russia stamped an easy 25-12.
In the third set the Japanese men sensed their opponents were getting overconfident and took advantage of it. Japan increased the pace, their hits getting harder for the Russians to block. However it wasn’t enough to win a set. Russia ended up the last set and the match rather comfortably – 25-22.