Regarded as the championship showdown in World Grand Prix Pool I: Russia vs Serbia
Ahead of the first match against Serbia in the 3rd round of the World Grand Prix at Shimazu Arena (Kyoto), the national team of Russia went straight to the arena for training at 11am yesterday. This is the first time the two teams playing head to head in this tournament and is also reagarded as the finals of this pool. Other teams in the same pool include Japan and Thailand.
Currently, Russia sit at the second spot in the Group 1 ranking, being of the two teams with China winning all 6 matches so far. For Serbia, ranking at no. 9, the chance of advancing to the Final round is hardly promising. Despite the unfavorable data, we cannot anticipate an easy match for Russia. After all, Russia and Serbia are the top 2 powerhouses in Europe and play at close level.
In yesterday’s press conference, Yuri Marichev, head coach of Russia, revealed that the team regarded this tournament as the most critical international tournament before the Olympic Games and therefore would try to use more players with less experience led by experienced players such as Captain Pankova, Kosheleva and Goncharova. As a matter of fact, our girls are doing really well so far. Per the match statistics, Goncharova is currently the top scorer in the tournament with 120 points; Zaryazhko is the top middle blocker and Malova is the top digger.
Another noteworthy point is whether Yana Shcherban will make her appearance tomorrow since her absence in Italy due to injury. About her current condition, Volleyrussia’s correspondents spoke to the wing spiker the other day. Yana revealed that the injury had nothing dealt with her arms and legs, but her eye. Accordingly, she got hit right at her face by Malykh’s spike during training and she is now fine and ready for playing this week.
Please stay tuned at Volleyrussia. We will bring you more live updates as well as side stories in Kyoto.