Azerbaijan collect second victory in Pool C


Inevitably, Polina Rahimova led Azerbaijan with 27 points, including 25 spikes, and Jana Kulan scored 15, with 10 spikes and four blocks. For T&T, middle blocker Sinead Jack bagged a team-high 18, including three blocks and three aces. Southpaw Krystle Esdelle and Channon Thompson both scored 14. 

T&T, looking for their first win in their first appearance at the World Championship, started confidently. Southpaw spiker Krystle Esdelle is never more dangerous than when attacking from the right, spiking across court. Together with middle blocker Sinead Jack, who was in fine form at the net, T&T had plenty of fire power to trouble Azerbaijan. The excellent serve reception of Darlene Ramdin was another feature of the T&T play.

Azerbaijan responded with the customary heavy blows from Polina Rahimova, who came into this match with 66 points already to her name, and wing spiker Odina Aliyeva, who is an inspiring leader with her all-round play and has had a great tournament to date.

There was a desperate finish to the first set as T&T missed four set points, including two in a row from 24-22,  before Azerbaijan wrapped it up 29-27 on their second set point with a Kulan block.

T&T's play dropped off in the second set as Azerbaijan powered forward through Rahimova, Kulan and a fine block from Olena Hasanova, reaching the second TTO with a six-point lead at 16-10 behind the accurate serving of Aynur Imanova. Setter Krystsina Yagubova joined in the spike fest with a clever tip-over as T&T prepared to cover Azerbaijan's array of spikers.

On the other side of the net, Jack continued to be a threat, pouncing for winner after winner, and Channon Thompson showed her athleticism with a mighty leap and speak on the left and a thundering jump serve ace.

Rahimova ended the second set 25-16 but not before T&T southpaw Esdelle had to leave the court with an ankle injury, which turned out to be not serious as she returned in the third set.

Azerbaijan were in control at 16-8 thanks to the versatility of Kulan, who was picking up points with cool precision into space as much as sheer power.

Although Esdelle blazed away out wide and Ramdin blocked effectively, T&T could not match the relentless pace - or the experience and team work - of Azerbaijan, who closed out the match 25-17.


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