Belogorie warm up for Club World Championship with bronze in Russian Superleague
Belgorod, who will make their FIVB Volleyball Men's Club World Championship debut next week, overcame Dynamo Moscow 3-1 (25-15, 25-17, 12-25, 26-24) to finish in third place.
Germany's Georg Grozer was the top scorer in the bronze-medal match with 21 points, which included three aces, while Russian star Dmitry Musersky and Maxim Panteleymonenko scored 12 points each.
Belogorie had it relatively easy in the first two sets but fell behind 7-0 in the third as Dynamo started to find some rhythm. The fourth set was a nail-biter, with Belogorie having a set point against them before edging it 26-24.
Belogorie coach Gennady Shipulin commented: “I am very glad that we could be on the podium, albeit in third place. We tried to reduce our errors today and I’m quite pleased with the game and the result.”
Earlier in the week Belogorie had lost to two-time FIVB Volleyball World Club Championship bronze medallists Zenit-Kazan in the semifinals, having beaten the same team in the European Championship semifinals.
Belogorie had also finished second in the league standings of the Russian Championship behind Zenit-Kazan, who capped a fine season by overcoming 2013 European champions Lokomotiv Novosibirsk 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 25-22) to claim the gold medal despite the loss of key players Maxim Mikhaylov and Alexander Volkov. Zenit made the podium for a record eighth consecutive season.
“I think we showed one of the main features that Russian people are known for: The harder it gets, the better we perform,” Zenit coach Vladimir Alekno commented. “I think that the injuries suffered by Volkov and Mikhaylov were the turning point of this tournament. I think our rivals underestimated us because they thought we were weakened by these injuries.”