Posts by ignorans

    Russian Cup this weekend in Moscow:

    The four best teams of the season made it to the final four (technically Leningradka fifth behind Kaliningrad but Kaliningrad was not that strong in recent weeks...).

    The semis are Krasnodar vs Kazan and Leningradka vs Moscow. A few thoughts on the teams (if no players are absent):

    Kazan: Won the Cup last season and favorite this year. Won 3:0 against Krasnodar and Leningradka, lost 2:3 against Moscow (without Startseva and Fedorovtseva). Their poor performance in CL showed that they are not at their best yet but still the team to beat.

    Moscow: Leader of the league. Lost the final last year. Had to play five sets against the other three teams in the league (lost agains Krasnodar after being 2:0 ahead, won against Leningradka thanks to Klimets/Babeshina). They are better than in the last few years and have a good chance to win the Cup.

    Krasnodar: Strongest team in years with the best substitutes in the league (for every position except the OPP they have a sub who is almost as good as the starter). Kazan is probably too strong for them unless they serve really well.

    Leningradka: Very experienced players (hardly any player is younger than 28). Setter Neponmyashchikh is doing much better than in previous seasons. I don't think that they can manage another suprise like in the qualification (clear win in Kaliningrad) unless Moscow is having a really bad day.

    A bit late but we had one of the biggest surprises in recent years last round. Lipetsk won 3:0 (25:12, 25:22, 25:20) agains Lokomotiv! Loko was missing Dijkema, Kurilo and Galkina (played a few points, Gorbacheva is not worse though) but they should still have done better. Lipetsk has almost the same team they had in the lower league last season. Libero is 19, OH's 22 and Gorbunova (OPP) 17! Loko players have more Superleague experience and several have even played in the NT. Setter Ryseva is the one with the least experience but she is doing a pretty decent job. Sazanova is one of the highlights this season (didn't know her before). She made 24 points with 59 % in attack and great reception. If she gets more consistent in reception she might even be an option for the NT.

    Lipetsk will play Uralochka (back from quarantine and first match without Parubets) this weekend and should have a chance.

    Kazan and Moscow are having a competion for quickest win or at least it looks like that... Moscow had four quick matches in a row (2x Zarechie, Minchanka,

    Enisey), Kazan was even faster with 62 minutes against Chelyabinsk and 60 minutes agains Lipetsk.

    Kaliningrad is playing in Lipetsk. They missed several players because of COVID-19 (Dijkema, Galkina and Zaytseva last match). Vorobyeva seems to be a good OPP until Lippman joins the team.

    Moscow, Leningradka, Kazan and Krasnodar will play the final four cup tournament. Uralochka and Odintsovo were missing several players (first setter, only juniors as subs etc.). Leningradka surprised Kaliningrad (reception was pretty bad). Leningradka had the oldest team (most players are 29 and older) in the group. Lipetsk had five players 22 or younger and Kaliningrad has most players between 22 and 28.

    Minchanka is in their second quarantine. Today and on Saturday are the next league matches. The promoted teams Sparta and Lipetsk play each other. Both teams have two wins so far. Proton - Krasnodar is the most interesting match.

    This is not the NT thread!

    Some remarks to Krasnodar-Moscow: First defeat for Moscow this season. First match in ages without challenge system (I think they introduced it more than two years ago in Russia), I like that there are less interuptions without it. Krasnodar was missing two OH (Pipurynova, Sukhoverkhova) so that Zvereva was a starter for the second time. I think she played well. Bulatovic hardly ever makes changes in the line up. This time Babeshina and Krotkova spent a few minutes on court...

    Cup matches this weekend. Four "groups" with the winner going to the final four in Moscow. First named team is host:

    Group 1: Kazan, Zarechie, Dinamo Metar (Kazan-Chelyabinsk will also count as a league game since they would meet in the next round)

    Group 2: Kaliningrad, Leningrad, Lipetsk (Lipetsk was missing both OPP last game)

    Group 3: Uralochka, Krasnodar (Tulitsa would have been the third team but they are until next wednesday)

    Group 4: Moscow, Proton, Uralochka 2

    Host teams are favourtes. Krasnodar might have a small chance if Pipurynova and Sukhoverkhova can play. Uralochka won ten days ago 3:1 but it was 29:27 in the fourth set.

    Startseva is training with the team but won't play

    (Most of) round seven this weekend...

    Loko is back and will play Krasnodar. They only have one win so far (out of three games), Krasnodar had their first defeat (out of six games) against Kazan

    last week.

    The other interesting match is Uralochka - Proton . Uralochka has only two wins so far and was dominated by Moscow last week. I think they are still missing some injured players like setter Sorokina. Proton lost 2:3 to Kazan but won the other four games.

    Sixth round today. Now three teams out because of COVID-19 (Loko, Odintsova, Dinamo Metar)...

    Leningradka and Krasnodar still unbeaten but they did not play a top club so far. Uralochka - Moscow should is the top match. Krasnodar might have a chance to win points in Kazan as long as Popova is the setter...

    As exptected Kazan was struggling without Startseva. Would've like to see more of Kotikova. I know that she is not as good in attack as the other players but she was the best receiver.

    Kosheleva was watching the game in Tula. She was probably whishing that there were more teams like Proton (2 player receiption)...

    Dinamo Metar won against Zarechie. That was only the second win in 14 matches against them.

    Next round starts today. Apparently Minchaka is allowed to play again...

    Proton - Kazan is the top match. Proton is unbeaten but played the new teams and Dinamo Metar so far. Their libero has to do better than last weekend (was replaced after a poor performance. Her 16 y.o. replacement Doronicheva did well.).

    Fourth round is tomorrow minus teams in quarantine (Minsk and Loko so far...).

    There were several starting players missing last week: Romanova, Voronkova (apparently injured) and four Krasnodar players (Sperskaite, Sukhoverkhova, Zubareva and Lazareva). Krasnodar had only three substitutes (MB, OPP and a libero turned OH). 20 y.o. Zvereva made her debut since Sperkaite and her replacement (Sukhoverkhova) were absent (at least as far as I know). She did really well (best receiver of the team and solid in reception. Then again the opponent (Dinamo Metar) was pretty terrible. Andrea Rangel made her debut and probably wondered why she chose Chelyabinsk...

    Looking at the stats of Lipetsk I noticed the huge load of work for Sazonova. She gets to receive most services (almost 75 % last week) and also gets the most balls in attack (more than 40 % of all attacks in last match).

    Top match is Kazan - Moscow. Both teams unbeaten so far.

    Third round today (Tulitsa - Uralochka tomorrow, Minsk still in quarantine)

    Krasnodar hasn't lost a set (weak opponents so far...) and should stay in first place after the match in Chelyabinsk.

    Loko plays in Kazan. The top two teams of the last two seasons are not in top form so far. Kazan is missing some players (Podkopaeva, Rakhmatullina and Fedorovtseva were not in Ekaterinburg) and they had to play with Kotikova as libero (decent performance). Loko lost at home (1-3) against Sparta last Wednesday. Galkina with some troubles in reception, Voronkova (odd to see her with long hair) with only 27 % in attack and an overall mediocre performance of most players (Evdokimova on the other hand with a great performance in service, block and attack) lead to the defeat. I wonder wether Biryukova or Kadochkina will start for Kazan. Kadochkina came in early in Ekaterinburg after Biryukova had a fall (seemed to be fine later on) and showed a great performance in attack (55 %).

    Great start from Lipetsk who won in Ekaterinburg after being two sets down. They showed great defense and fight. Not a good performance from Uralochka. Starting setter Kondrashova was replaced after just 7 points (at 3:4, also early in the third and forth set). Second setter did not do better...

    Voronkova was not playing but with the team (minor injury?). Kotikova had to play libero (I have no information why Podkapaeva was absent).

    Second round is today. Moscow and Minsk will play their games in December (CL matche for Moscow, quarantine for Minsk).

    Lipetsk is playing in Saratov. Will they be able to achieve another surprise?

    Uralochka - Kazan is the top match of the round with Kazan the clear favourite. But the only Kazan loss (0:3) last season was in Ekaterinburg (ignoring the loss in Sakhalin because it was not the first team).

    The season starts today. The first round looks rather boring. The top teams play against weak opponents (Eniey and newcomers). Proton (Dinamo Metar) and Odintsovo (Leningradka) get the chance to take revenge for the loss in the cup.

    The loss of Sakhalin and the addition of three new teams should make the league weaker. The four top teams should have a lot of easy games. I hope they use it to give the substitute players some playtime. Some thoughts on the teams:

    Kazan: They dominated last season and are stronger this season. Bricio replaced De La Cruz and Konovalova joind the team. Kotikova and Kadochkina seem to healthy again. They should get one of the two fix spots in the final six (unless Startseva gets injured).

    Lokomotiv: They did not replace Cleger but added Vorobyeva (Shevchuk left). Evdokomova and Melnikova replaced Orlova and Brovkina. Dijkema is the new setter. Without their best scorer from last season (Ezhak will probably play OPP) they seem to be a bit weaker. The have the option to add a foreigner before the playoffs.

    Uralochka: Romanova, Evdokimova, Enina and Klimets left. MB position looks a bit weaker (Safonova is third MB...). Still a top four team.

    Moscow: They added Romanova, Klimets, Kuznetsova, Natalia, Orlova, Enina and Bibina and lost no essential player. This should make them stronger than last season which they already showed in the Cup (3-1 win against Loko). I don't think Orlova was necessary. The addition of two OPP seems odd. Maybe Goncharova will play mainly in big matches. With only one foreigner they have the option to add a player later in the season. Probably an OH since they only have three (I don't consider Kuznetsova an OH because of her reception skills). Top favorite for the second fix spot in the finals.

    Proton: Russu replaced Martiniuc. Setters are still a potential problem. They had a great season. Playoffs shouldn't be a problem.

    Krasnodar: Only one big change (Vetrova) and a small one (Sukhoverkhova for Korenchuk). Hopefully Vetrova will help them to get the stability they lacked the last few seasons. The have the potential to make the final six.

    Leningradka: Team looks similar to the one last year (Sokolchyk, Stolyarova and Rusakova for Kuznetsova, Samadova, Frolova, Markova). Should be somewhere in the middle of the table and have a good chance on making the playoffs.

    Odintsovo: All starting players left. Mainly young players plus Korenchuk and Dumcheva. I am happy that Matveeva is starting but expect the team to have some problems (0-3 against Leningradka in Cup). Might get one of the last playoff places.

    Minchanka: They were disappointing the last few seasons and I don't expect them to do much better this season. They had close matches against the newcomers in the Cup.

    Dinamo Metar: Strongest team in years. Unfortunately Pirogovskaya got injured in a Cup match. They should reach the playoffs this season.

    Enisey, Lipetsk, Tulitsa, Sparta: I do not really know that much about them. Sparta's setters were injured last week which makes the season start very difficult for them. Tulitsa added Olga Frolova and Malygina which might make them the strongest new team. I expect most of these teams to be at the bottom of the table.

    Uralochka 2 made it to the next round in the Russian Cup thanks to a 3-0 against Uralochka 1 (they didn't even try...). Sakhalin who beat Uralochka 2 (3-1) would have gotten the place in the next round otherwise...

    D. Moscow, Lokomotiv, Leningradka, Odintsovo, Uralochka, Uralochka 2, Dinamo Metar, Kazan, Krasnodar, Proton, Tulitsa and Lipetsk qualified for the semis. I don't know why four teams from zone 1 qualified and only two teams from zone 4 (out of five). Maybe it has something to do with the finals (in Moscow?).

    Dinamo Moscow and Kazan seem to be in good shape. Enisey, Odintsovo and Sparta (troubled by injuries) not so much.

    Russian Cup starts this week (08. - 13. September)

    There are four groups of which the best three make it to the semis (unless they changed it to best two).

    1: Lokomotiv, Moskow, Leningradka, Odintsovo, Luch

    2: Uralochka, Dinamo Metar, Enisey, Uralochka 2, Sakhanlin, Tyumen

    3: Kazan, Proton, Krasnodar, Ufa, Severyanka, Volgodonsk

    4: Minsk, Sparta, Lipetsk, Tulitsa, Kursk