FIVB - Volleyball World League

Press release

Russia's sweep condemns Cuba to seventh straight loss in World League

Nikolay Pavlov was almost unstoppable as Russia beat Cuba in Havana

 Havana, Cuba, June 28, 2013 – Russia beat Cuba 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-23) on Friday in the first of their two FIVB World League meetings of the weekend. 

Nikolay Pavlov topped the scoring with 21 points, while Yordan Bisset scored 14 for the home team. Nikolay Apalikov and Andrey Aschev scored six and five blocking points, respectively.

Both teams come out strongly, but Russian blocking soon produced results. A hard-fought third point thrilled everyone at Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum, where the crowd chanted “Yes we can,” before being silenced by Russian superiority. The Olympic champions were ahead 8-5 at the first technical timeout. Captain Sergey Makarov made some good distribution, finding holes on the Cuban side. One of lefty Rolando Cepeda’s strikes drilled the Russian wall and the fans unleashed the famous Cuban wave, but the visitors were still three points ahead at the second TTO. Cuban setter Leandro Macías tried to change the tempo but Russia’s defence was simply majestic. Anytime the home team thought they had won a point, the Russians managed to spoil the celebration. The story was different on the other side of the net; the lack of coordination in Cuba’s defence made things easier for the Russians. The visitors took the set 25-20.

Cuba started the second set slowly, unable to score, and their first point came thanks to an error by Alexey Spiridonov. Russia led 5-1, pleasing a group of supporters that never stopped chanting and backing them up. Russia were 8-4 up at the first TTO. Yordan Bisset scored an ace that lifted the Cubans and later on Cepeda got a huge block as Cuba showed glimpses of how good they can be, but Russia were four points up at the second timeout. Bisset scored two aces in a row and Cuba got closer at 20-21, but coach Andrey Voronkov regrouped his players and Russia took the second set 25-23.

The third set started more even. Both teams traded points but Russia were again ahead at the first TTO, 8-6. But Cuba turned things around to go ahead at 10-9 and moved into a 15-11 lead, supported by their loyal fans. But Russia tied the set at 17-17 and regained the lead, clinching the set 25-23 and with it the match.

Russia tops Pool B with six wins out of seven, while Cuba remains the only teams without a victory in this year’s World League. Cuba’s seven straight losses equals their worst run in the World League.

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