Unstoppable Goncharova leads Russia past Korea


Kobe, Japan, October 3, 2018: Russia extended their win-loss record to a perfect 4-0 by inflicting a fourth consecutive Pool C defeat on Korea at the Kobe Green Arena on Wednesday afternoon. Led by the in-form Nataliya Goncharova, who scored 24 points with 22 spikes, the Russians won 25-23, 25-20, 25-15. Kseniia Parubets added 10 points for Russia and Irina Koroleva registered four blocks.

For Korea, who failed to win a set for the first time in four matches, Park Jeongah top-scored with 18 points and captain Kim Yeon Koung added 12.  

The match began at a ferocious pace, with Russia piling on the points through leading scorer Nataliya Goncharova on the right and Kseniia Parubets on the left. The back court defence of Irina Voronkova was outstanding, together with the flying libero Alla Galkina.

Korea did not help themselves with some poor serving, so the spikes of captain Kim Yeon Koung and Park Jeongah became even more important.

In a tight finish to the first set, Goncharova won it 25-23 on Russia's third set point.

Russia could not build on this momentum in the second set and poor serve reception prevented them from reproducing their smooth attacking play.

Korea, on the other hand, were full of energy and confidence. Middle blocker Kim Su Ji showed her quality in putting away chances at the net and left-handed setter Lee Hyo Hee added a floating service ace and crafty spike to trick the Russian defence.

With Goncharova in such splendid form, though, Russia always had an escape route and Korea needed a TO trailing 22-18. A Koroleva block helped Russia close it 25-20.

In the third set, 18-year-old middle blocker Lee Juah made the most of her opportunity and Kim's trusty lieutenant Park Jeongah maintained her consistent output which has been one of the main features of Korea's play throughout the tournament.

Russia simply had too much experience and quality in all aspects of the game, though, and their excellent block and attacking variations involving Fetisova and Voronkova hurried them to the third set 25-15.


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