No Goncharova, no problem for Russia


Osaka, Japan, October 7, 2018 - Russia overcame the injury absence of leading scorer Nataliya Goncharova to record an impressive 3-0 victory over Turkey in the first Pool F match of the day at Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium on Sunday afternoon. Goncharova was ruled out with a shoulder injury but her teammates responded with a performance full of power and precision as they swept aside the Turks 25-15, 25-17, 25-16 to extend their win-loss record to 5-1. Turkey slipped to 3-3.

Kseniia Parubets and Irina Voronkova led the Russian attack with 14 points apiece and received solid support from Irina Fetisova (13 with six blocks) and Anna Kotikova (10). Russia notched 11 block points.

For Turkey, Hande Baladin replied with 11 points and captain Eda Erdem added eight.

Russia began strongly and held a comfortable lead at both TTOs. The early stages were characterised by heavy blocking from both sides which put clean spikes at a premium.

For Russia, Anna Kotikova was effective on block and in attack, while captain Eda Erdem showed the way for Turkey by firing past Irina Voronkova down the right.

Turkey called a second TO trailing 21-13 but the gap was too big and the impressive Irina Fetisova blasted and blocked Russia towards the first set 25-15.

In the second set, Kseniia Parubets - who forms such a lethal attacking spearhead with Goncharova - stepped up the pace with her left-wing spiking and also added a fine block, along with captain Evgeniya Startseva.

The determination of Irina Koroleva at the net ended a punishing rally and she then blocked the dangerous wing spiker Meliha Ismailoglu to extend Russia's advantage. When Hande Baladin reduced the arrears to 14-9, Russia took a TO.

Kotikova was having a fine match for Russia, who closed out the second set 25-17 for 2-0.

It was a great all-round performance by Russia, with Fetisova smashing them ahead 13-8 in the third set and sending Turkey into a TO. Koroleva kept up the pressure on the return and the Russians were flying at 16-8.

A service ace from southpaw setter Cansu Ozbay signalled a mini-revival from Turkey but Russia had far too much firepower for the Turkish defence and sealed a 3-0 victory 25-16.


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