Russia powers past Iran in straight sets
Tokyo, Japan, November 22, 2013 - European champion Russia downed Iran in three sets (25-23, 25-23, 25-19) in their round-robin match at the World Grand Champions Cup on Friday. With the victory Russia improved to 2-1, while Iran dropped to 1-2.
The match marked the first ever meeting between the countries in the World Grand Champions Cup and only the fourth overall.
Maxim Mikhaylov sparked the Russian attack with 19 points. Dmitriy Muserskiy contributed 12 in the win.
Mojtaba Mirzajanpour led Iran with 13 points. Shahram Mahmoudi added 11 in the defeat.
Iran established a 5-3 lead in the first set. Russia equalized 6-6 on a spike by Nikolay Apalikov. A spike by Mikhaylov sent Russian into the first TTO with an 8-7 edge. A spike by Mohammad Mousavi tied it 10-10. Mehdi Mahdavi knotted the score 13-13 with a spike down the middle. Russia led 16-13 at the second TTO on a spike by Mikhaylov. Russia moved ahead 23-20 following a timeout when the score was tied 20-20. Iran pulled back within one at 23-22 on a spike. With Russia having set point at 24-23, Iran took a timeout. Apalikov's spike gave Russia the set at 25-23. Mikhaylov notched nine points in the set. Mirzajanpour had six.
Russia took a 6-4 lead in the second set following a reception error. Adel Gholami made a nice dink for 6-5. Dmitriy Ilinykh's spike gave Russia an 8-6 lead at the first TTO. Russia led 10-8 after Mahmoudi fired a serve long. A service ace by Mirzajanpour moved Iran ahead 11-10. Apalikov tied it 14-14 with a spike. Iran went up 15-14 on a nice option play spike by Gholami. A block by Muserskiy saw Russia lead 16-15 at the second TTO. A missed shot by Mahmoudi put Russia up 20-19. A block by Apalikov made it 22-20 and Iran called a timeout. Ilinykh's spike gave Russia set point at 24-21. Russia took the set 25-23 on a block by Ilinykh.
Mirzajanpour rose for a spike as Iran took a 6-3 lead in the third set. Iran was up 8-5 at the first TTO. A reception error by Iran allowed Russia to equalize at 9-9. Russia continued to edge toward the match, taking a 14-12 advantage and Iran called a timeout. Muserskiy's spike made it 19-15. Mikhaylov sent a serve long and Iran drew within 21-17. A service ace by Muserskiy closed out the contest 25-19.