Russia - Суперлига 2014/15

  • Belogorie managed to get the job done and finished the regular season on top of the standings. Zenit struggled at home versus Prikamie, a small surprise because Alekno used all his starters. The quarterfinal pairings are also clear now.

    Belogorie vs. Kuzbass
    Zenit vs. Fakel
    Dinamo Moscow vs. Guberniya
    Loko Novosibirsk vs. Gazprom-Ugra

    In terms of players, perhaps a more important thing this weekend was the long-awaited return of Alexander Volkov. He played 3 sets against Prikamie.

  • Yep Zenit struggled for some reason.

    Either way, this is when the season gets serious. If everything goes to plan, the top 4 teams should make it to the semi-finals. However, anything is possible. Fakel troubled Zenit at beginning of season. Moscow at times switch-off at wrong moments. Gazprom-Ugra can beat people when they are on form. So we will see how things go.

    Only team not doing European competition right now is Belgorie. I heard Musiersky was injured but I don't think it is serious and I don't know if he played the final game.

    Glad to hear that Volkov is back, he has such bad luck with being injured from the Olympics time. I hope this time he will be fully healthy. Don't rush him back, he needs to take time.

  • Lokomotiv Novosibirsk lost to Gazprom Yugra 0-3.

    Curious if They played with Top Roster or rested Them before match v Asseco Resovia.

  • Lokomotiv Novosibirsk lost to Gazprom Yugra 0-3.

    Curious if They played with Top Roster or rested Them before match v Asseco Resovia.

    They played with their top roster. The only change was that Moroz started instead of Zemchenok (who hasn't played well recently). Loko have been a little off for the last few games and their reception poor. They will need to find it when they play Champions league.

    Gazprom is a team that can beat anyone when they are on top form, so knowing this and knowing Loko has been slipping, the result doesn't surprise me. However, Loko can still turn things around when they play them at home.

  • Here are the numbers from the 3-0 win of Gazprom-Ugra versus Novosibirsk. Indeed, the first roster of Lokomotiv played. By that I mean the real first roster, without Zemchenok :) Two very important games for Voronkov this week. On Wednesday in Rzeszow, then on Sunday at home versus Ugra.

  • Thanks for the stats, I had caught the game from near the second set to the end. Loko isn't playing with any fire, I don't know if its tiredness, or they are still down from losing the first CL match, but they need to snap out of the funk. They also need to work on their reception, but with so much traveling right now, they don't have much time to practice. Their coach needs to find a way to motivate them. He is the RNT coach and if he can't motivate his team, I hope that won't be the case with the NT.

    Looking on the stats, Camejo had good hitting and so did Lukash Divis but Moroz (36%) and Zemchenok who caame in for him in the third (38%) those numbers are poor. Either way I guess we will see how it goes. They normally plaay better at home, although Gazprom has defeated them their this season as well.

    The other 3 matches in the playoffs, went as expected even Belogorie losing a set, because they have been doing that a lot recently.

  • Quarter-Finals:

    Belogorie - Kuzbass 3-1

    Zenit Kazan - Fakel 3-0

    Dinamo - Gubernya 3-0

    Lokomotiv - Gazprom Yugra 0-3

    * to 2 wins
    * matches 15 and if 16.03

  • So Dinamo and Zenit finished their jobs and are through to the semifinals, but it was good to see Fakel playing well today, that non-motivated and dead team of latter part of championship was not the real face of them, probably the internal issues was part of it. I hope to see the youngs keep developing, Vlasov has been awesome today ! ( How serious is D. Volkov injury ? ).

    In other hand Lokomotiv has just a tragic ending, couldn't see any of the matches bot the figures don't look good, and actually not even in the paper IMO they are that strong, so ...

    Belogorie is likely going to take the win today and from this point on i think there won't be any favorite, any team could take it, off course less chances to Gazprom, but i am lokking forward to see them now after tis victory

  • I agree Fakel played well today and if they could've brought that match to the 5th set, since they were leading in the fourth. If teams play zenit without fear, anything can happen.

    Yeah Gazprom ended the season well, so I wasn't surprised they defeated Lokomotive who really ended the season poorly. I am not sure what will happen to them now, but I think some new players will be coming in, and they need some more quality players. Maybe no European tournament next seson, will help them better because I don't think they have too deep of a squad.

    Gazprom vs Belogorie in the semi-finals will be interesting, especially since Belogorie is prone to mistakes and Gazprom is on a high
    Zenit vs Dynamo is the other one. Dynamo can cause Zenit problems, but they are prone to mistakes in key moments. If they can minimize that, it could really turn out to be good matches between them, and both Zenit and Dynamo are still in European tournaments.

    Does anyone know when the semi-finals start?

  • Quarter-Finals:

    Belogorie - Kuzbass 3-1 3-0

    Zenit Kazan - Fakel 3-0 3-1

    Dinamo - Gubernya 3-0 3-0

    Lokomotiv - Gazprom Yugra 0-3 0-3

    * to 2 wins
    * matches 15 and if 16.03

  • I read 2-3 articles in Russian sports media this morning to see what they have to say about Lokomotiv's fiasco. 2 were published on the club's webpage, I don't know if the journalists work for the club, or if their work was just shared from some other sources. First of all, they mention that 3 out of these 8 playoff participants took part in mid-week European Club tournaments. Whereas the mood in Kazan and Moscow seemed good because of Zenit and Dinamo's positive results (both lost 2-3 but advanced to the next rounds of the Champions League and the CEV Cup respectively), Lokomotiv got knocked out of the Champions League despite the 3-2 win in Rzeszow. Gapzrom-Ugra had a few more days of preparation for the game in Novosibirsk which paid off ultimately. Secondly, all sources praise Sergey Antipkin's (Ugra's setter) game in the second leg, as well as the solid contribution by Alexey Rodichev and Konstantin Bakun. Overall, Lokomotiv didn't lose to an easy opponent. Besides, Ugra surely boosted their confidence after the arrival of Raphael Khabibulin (it is not his first period at the club) and for the first time in their history will play in semifinals. Interestingly, there are some comments by local users who want to see more youngsters in the first squad. Lokomotiv has a good volleyball school, some of their perspective juniors we already saw in the Champions League, even if this is not their main problem at the time being.

    On a side note, Zemchenok extended his contract for another season. Needless to say that unless Moroz recovers fully, there will be a second consecutive tough season for Voronkov despite the Russian Cup silver medals they got in December. He is a respected specialist in Russia, the journalists reminded that as well despite criticizing him for the verbal outburst in the match yesterday, and I guess he sees Zemchenok in a totally different way than most of us. But to me, Zemchenok doesn't possess the class for Lokomotiv and the lack of an adequate sub for Moroz was one of the main reasons for the fiasco they suffered. It surely isn't the only reason, though.

  • I hear that Butko might return to the NT, but I would like to see Sergey Antipkin there even if it is for the B team. I do agree, that Ugra's new coach is bringing back their confidence.

    The press is correct that Loko hadn't really had time, because of aall the flights, but that is no excuse. I think even if they had the restm they still would have played badly, because they have been bad for the last couple weeks. It is psychologicaal more than physicaal I think. I am also not sure Loko's coach was able to fully help them with that.Now they play in the 5-8 playoff matches. Also all season, Ugra seemed like they could do well, at times they played really great and other times not. So they are peaking at the right time. I am not sure they can defeat Belogorie, but then again, anything can happen. Dynamo Moscow is who will have a heavy schedule, 4 games in 8 days isn't great, especially with the flying in between

    Voronkov - I hope he caan better motivate the NT, I didn't like many of his choices of players last season esp liberos, MB etc so hopefully he does better this year.

    Zemchenok - I do agree, he did well beginning of season but he fell off as the season continued. He might improve again but they might need a better starter if Moroz still has injury problems. I would love to see more youth in all the super league teams. The youth NT does so well, those players need to play occasionally.

    Since Loko isn't going to Champions league next season, do their funding get cut? so that would mean they have to use youth players as they can't afford the bigger names?

  • Semi-Finals:

    Belogorie - Gazprom Yugra

    Zenit Kazan - Dinamo

    * to 3 wins
    * matches 20, 21.03, 4.04 and if 5, 14.
    * Winners will qualify to 2016 Champions League

  • Since Loko isn't going to Champions league next season, do their funding get cut? so that would mean they have to use youth players as they can't afford the bigger names?

    I don't think so. First of all, the Russian Railways is a reliable and solid sponsor, they have been behind Novosibirsk for years, I doubt this will change this year, so perhaps their funding won't be reduced. Second, unless a team qualifies for the Final Four or wins the Champions League, I don't think one would make much profit. We don't know the official numbers here, but I am pretty much sure participation in the group stage and playoffs at maximum doesn't bring money. Besides, calculate the travel expenses for the whole squad and staff needed to travel, let's say, 5 times to continental Europe (as was the case this year) and compare it to what they might get from CEV. Apart from 2013 when they won the whole thing, I don't believe Lokomotiv or any other non-regular Final Four participant has gained much from European Club competitions.

    So, I don't expect the management of Lokomotiv to shrink their budget. Actually, I think they might look for 1-2 new names and further strengthen their team. It's a club with a long-term volleyball strategy, with full faith in Voronkov, so I expect them to be stronger next season. Moroz and Zemchenok will obviously stay, I can't imagine Camejo to be released, but 1-2 new Russian players or juniors plus a foreign name might do the job.

  • Saw news that Russian railways will cut Loko funding at least for 20%