Russia outblock Dominican Republic to notch first win
Nagoya, Japan, November 13, 2013 - European champion Russia notched up its first victory with a four-set win (25-14, 22-25, 25-22, 25-15) over the Dominican Republic in their World Grand Champions Cup round-robin match on Wednesday.
Both sides have now win-loss records of 1-1 in the six-team competition as the Russians extended their dominance over Dominican Republic to 10-0 in head-to-head matches.
Victoriia Chaplina recorded a match-high 19 points for Russia. Liubov Shashkova contributed 16 in the win while Iulia Morozova added 11 tallies.
Prisilla Rivera and Bethania De La Cruz led the Dominicans with 12 points apiece. Gina Mambru added 11 points.
Russia's huge frontline presented problems for the Dominican Republic from the outset of the match. The European team recorded a tournament-high 21 blocks with Morozova and Natalia Dianskaya leading the way with six and five, respectively.
There were very few extended rallies in the contest as both sides relied upon a power game to score.
The Dominican Republic played much better in the second set by displaying good teamwork.
The third set belonged to the Dominicans until they fell apart late and allowed Russia to go on a 10-2 run to take it.
Russia took charge in the fourth set as the Dominican Republic made several unforced errors.
A spike by Natalia Malykh put Russia up 4-1 in the first set. A fine block by Iuliia Morozova made it 6-2. Niverka Marte's spike for the Dominican Republic took the score to 7-3 Russia led 8-4 at the first TTO following. Anastasia Shylakhovaya uncorked a crosscourt spike to put Russia in front 11-6. A powerful spike by Shashkova boosted the advantage to 15-7. Chaplina's spike sent Russia into the second TTO up 16-9.
Marte's spike made it 17-10 as the Dominicans tried to keep contact. Daria Isaeva's spike increased the lead to 20-10. The Dominicans had trouble with receiving and Russia continued to move toward the set. A service error by Rivera put Russia within two points at 23-13. Russia claimed the set on a service error by Candida Arias.
The Dominican Republic took a 5-4 lead in the second set on a nice dink by Rivera. Gina Mambru soared for a spike off a nice feed by Brenda Castillo and the Dominicans led 8-5 at the first TTO. Russia missed a spike and the count went to 10-7. Rivera then launched a service ace as the Caribbeans tried to build momentum. Marte's deft dink took the tally to 12-9. A nice option play by Russia resullted in a spike by Morozova and tied it 12-12. Isaeva's spike put Russia in front 14-13. A service error by De La Cruz saw Russia lead 16-15 at the second TTO.
A service ace by Vargas put the Dominicans back in the lead at 17-16. Shlyakhovaya sent a spike into the net and the Dominicans were on top 20-18. Trailing 23-19, Russia called a timeout. A service error by Isaeva gave the Dominican Republic set point at 24-20. Isaeva sent a spike long and the Dominicans took the set 25-22.
Rivera spotted a soft return into an empty space in the center of the Russia defense as the Dominican Republic took a 5-4 lead in the third set. The Dominicans led 8-6 after the first TTO following a passing mistake by Russia. Mambru's crosscourt spike made it 10-8 for the Dominicans. A dink by Isaeva took it to 13-11. Vargas fired a service ace and the Dominican Republic took a 16-11 margin into the second TTO.
Brayelin Martinez kept up the Dominican charge with a spike that made it 19-13. When Malykh sent a spike long the lead was 20-15. Russia then went on a 5-1 to run to pull within a point at 21-20. A rare long rally ended with a Russian block and the score was knotted 22-22. Shashakov just got a spike over the net and Russia pulled ahead 23-22. A huge spike by Chaplina gave Russia set point at 24-22. Vargas sent a serve wide and Russia captured the set 25-22.
Shashkova's spike staked Russia to a 5-4 lead in the fourth set. Malykh drove another spike and Russia led 8-6 at the first TTO. After falling behind 12-7, the Dominican Republic called a timeout to try and stop the slide. It was 14-10 after a service error by Marte. Russia was up 16-10 at the second TTO.
Good defense led to a 19-11 Russia lead and the Dominicans took a timeout. Another Shashkova spike made it 22-15 as the Russians looked to complete the victory. They clinched it when the Dominicans could not handle a final spike.