Posts by ignorans

    The start of the new season is tomorrow. The old playoff format is back (thank god...).

    Same 14 teams we had last season. Short preview for each team:

    Lokomotiv: They were not the best team last season but the best team when it counted (final 6). They look stronger this season and should at least make the final. Most of the team is the same from last season. Filishtinskaya, Smarzek and Busa are the big new names.

    Moscow: Similar team to last season. With Vasileva and Begic back to two foreigners. IMHO they have the best options on OH position. Seems a waste of talent that Krotkova, Simonenko and Pipurynova probably wont be starter... Top 3 place is a must.

    Kazan: The best team for most of last season and cup winner looks to be weaker. Startseva and Fedorovtseva left. Lazareva, Sperskaite and Lazarenko joined the team. Will be interesting to see whether Popova has a shot as a starting setter or not. Sperskaite had a mediocre season at Krasnodar hopefully the new club helps her to improve. Kadochkina should be healthy again and looked promising at the EC. Kostina and Zamanskaya from the youth team joined the first team. I think they both have the potential to be good allround OH. Still a top three team but might be not as strong at the beginning of the season.

    Uralochka: Parubets is back. Almost the same team as last season (Anisova left, libero Karpol is back and replaces Pilipenko). Top 6.

    Minchanka: 5th place last season. Almost the same team. Top 8 team.

    Proton: Main changes on OH/OPP (Russu, Bavykina and Simonenka left, Lozo, Korzhova and O. Frolova joined). Most of the team is under 25. Looks like Maksimova is the starting OPP (Chernova might be an option too). Will be interesting to see how Marichev is going to play. 6th place of last season will be difficult to achieve.

    Krasnodar: Several starting players left (Sperskaite, Khaletskaya, Lazarenko, Lazareva, Pipunyrova). Shevchuck and Kotikova joined. They have two young player on OPP but they did not impress in the first cup round. I hope they will improve during the season. For now Sukhoverkhova might be the best choice for OPP. Top 8 should still be possible.

    Leningradka: Dijekame is the biggest new name. Three new MB and changes on libero position. But OH (comeback of Kutyukova) and OPP is more or less the same. Top 8.

    Lipetsk: The surprise team of last season (7th after regular season) with new setters and changes on OH position. I hope Gorbunova is improving her reception skills and play OH. It is the comeback season for Malykh (joined during last season and barely played). Top 8 would be a surprise.

    Enisey: More or less the same team as last season. They are lacking options in attack. 10th place after regular season last year. I do not expect them to do better this season.

    Tulitsa: No major changes (Martiniuc and Bavykina joined). Not the best reception but pretty good offense. They had 8 wins last season. I think they can do slightly better this time.

    Sparta: Captain Shatunova left. I don't know the new players but I think reception will be a problem. The will try to leave several teams behind them.

    Zarechie: The youth team of the league got even younger. Most player are under 22 years old. They played surprisingly well agains Lokomotiv in the cup match. They will try not the end up on the last place.

    Dinamo-Metar: The most important change is probably new coach Koshkin. I think he did a good job in Sakhalin. He can't do worse than his predecessors since the club had some terrible seasons. I don't know the setters but the rest of the team looks pretty capable. Their OPP (Akimova and Samoylova) are stronger than the OPP of the direct opponents (Zarechie, Sparta, Enisey). If all works well they could make top 10.

    Leningradka-Krasnodar is probably the most interesting match of the first round (Leningradka is favourite). Proton-Lipetsk and Uralochka-Tulitsa might be interesting too.

    I only watched the Russian matches so it is really hard for me to understand why there are only two Russian players in the Dream Team. They dominated the competition (they only lost sets to one team and that was because most of the team showed a poor performance in attack)...

    I can't believe people are hyping Akimova to be the next big thing (and not to take credit from her, she looks promising) but she only performed good at a U18 tournament. I think we need to see her more in NT (if ever she gets the call by Busato).

    I think Akimova did an ok job in Sparta. It was not easy joining the club during the season and playing sub. The thing is that there are not many promising youngish OPP in Russia. Lazareva, Russu, Stalnaya, Byarda, Pisarevskaya are not convincing so far... Dinamo-Ak Bars used the lefthanded 15-year old Pavlova last weekend. I think she looked promising (at least compared to the opposites from Krasnodar...) but it was only preseason.

    I wish she would play in a bigger or more competitive club. Just unfortunate that no club is interested on her despite her good showing at the U19.

    Agree. Krasnodar has two young OPP and both seem to be weaker than Akimova. No idea who is going to be OPP in Saratov.

    Unfortunately I don't think we will see much of Pipunyrova this season. Foreigners (Vasileva, Begic) should be the starting OH and even if one of them is not playing she has to compete with Simonenko and Krotkova (both better in reception). I just don't understand why a young player would ever consider moving to Dinamo Moscow...

    I understand that players who were not invited by Busato earlier this year resused to play. And the teams obviously want their players preparing for the club season instead of having them back tired and maybe even injured just before the season. If Russia had a team with a chance to win the situation might have been different...

    It seems to me that Busato is better at destroying players confindence than building it. Kapustina had a good club season (her reception was never above average though) and now looks to be afraid to come on court. Even in attack she seems to afraid to make a mistake (only Goncharova made more points then her last club season)!

    I don't mind taking young players (oddly no young liberos...) but I wish they had taken at least one player who can receive... Kapustina, Smirnova, Lazareva, Fedorovtseva and Kadochkina are all about equally bad in reception and the liberos are not the best receiver either. I guess Kapustina will be a starter since she is the only player who is used to receive a lot of balls (she received last season more balls then the all other NT players together...). I think they need a really good start in the first game to build conficence otherwise the tournament could get ugly... And I am pretty sure that Lazareva won't be the only player on OPP. Smirnova looked better at the VNL.

    Why is Kurnosova not a libero option? She is the receiving libero in Uralochka (Pilipenko mainly when team on serve). I think she is better in reception than Bibina.

    I really hope that was it for Buzato. The weird decisions during the match are not even the problem but the nominated substitutes are a disaster. If Russia had more than two real OH and an experienced second setter (admittedly the options were not great), they could not have done as badly against Turkey and China as they did.

    Who is gonna be the Russian coach at the EC?

    Voronkova's reception improved considerably in the last few years. She received almost 44 % of the serves and made hardly any mistakes (she and Malova covered most of the court).

    This list is basically as expected except Matveeva, but like others pointed out that was probably due to Romanova's injury. Bringing two libros was also as expected since Russia does need a better reception and one of them (probably Pilipenko) will be a defensive OH to ease the pressure in back court. MBs are pretty good now. Only concern I have for Matveera is that she did pretty good to send balls high to #2 and #4 but I have not seen her doing any fast sets to MBs or OHs that could spell a trouble, but still we will find out how heavily she will be used as a setter. It's all set now let's cheer for Russian team and wish them good luck!!!

    I think Matveeva did a decent job in the NT so far. Vetrova or Popova might have been the better option for the OG but I think the reception will be the bigger problem than the setters. Matveeva likes to use the MB in her club. I think she might have used them less in the NT so far because she did not train enough with them.

    I hope Fedorovtseva will do a lot of reception training until the OG...

    The number of good OH is limited in Russia. But there are several decent OH who play in this position which is something Pilipenko and Smirnova did not do last season. Possible players with pretty good reception skills: M. Frolova, Chaplina, Zvereva, Shvchuk (attack is weaker than the others), Shcherban, Kotikova.

    My prefered line up, considering who is/was with the team

    OPP: Goncharova

    OH: Fedorovsteva, Kosheleva, Voronkova, Smirnova

    S: Startseva, Matveeva

    Libero: Malova, Pilipenko

    MB: Koroleva, Lazarenko, Enina