The first victory in the Champions League!
Date: 8 December 2021, 13:57
Source: Press service Dinamo-Ak Bars
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The first victory in the Champions League!
In the home match of the 2nd tour of the Champions League group stage, Dinamo AkBars defeated the French Beziers in four sets.
For almost three years, Kazan has not hosted matches of the women's Champions League. On February 5, 2019, Dinamo AkBars defeated Uralochka-NTMK in the group stage but did not manage to get to play-off. In the 2019/2020 season, the Kazaners played in CEV Cup, and within that tournament, they faced only such strong teams as Vero Volley MONZA and Unet E-Work BUSTOARSIZIO. And in the 2020/2021 season, due to the pandemic, the Champions League was arranged in the "bubble" mode – in Italy and Poland.
That is why today's match against BEZIERS Volley was a high-day for the Kazan fans. It was still amplified by the return of the Dinamo AkBars Head Coach Rishat Gilyazutdinov after a minor disease. It should be noted also, that it was Ekaterina Lazareva who played as a setter during the whole match. The Dinamo's attacking line is unchanged: Samanta Fabris, Samantha Briсio Ramos, and Tatiana Kadochkina. At first, Irina Koroleva and Taisia Konovalova played as blockers, but Angelina Lazarenko substituted the Kazan team's captain during the match. The substitution was so successful that she was finally chosen as the match MVP.
The starting lineup of the French team surprised by the fact that there were no French players except a libero Alexandra Rochelle. The other six are a representative team of both Americas. However, due to the preceding series of wins, the guests were in a fighting mood. Sophisticated serves and a quick play in attacks ensured a good advantage for BEZIERS – 8:15. However, the Russians managed to arrange a chase after Lazareva's serve – 16:18. And after Briсio's ace, they even got very close – 22:23. But Kadochkina's mistake in the ending allowed the guests to win the first set.
The next set started absolutely devastating for the hosts – 1:8. Luckily, it just teased the Russians and doubled the rage of the Kazaners' attacks – 15:17 after a series of strikes by Fabris and Kadochkina. Finally, the Kazan block started working, too – 20:19. In the ending, Tatiana Kadochkina was twice accurate in her attacks.
After that, the psychological advantage passed over to the hosts. Although the French continued to desperately defend and protract the rallies, their attack was just smashed against the Kazan block – 11:6 after the block for Bianca Cugno. The Russians retained that 4-5 score advantage during the whole set.
At the beginning of the fourth set, the guests tried to arrange a counterattack. On the serve of their captain Brie King they even managed to lead for a while – 9:10. But the Russians toughly stopped the BEZIERS's main striker, opposite hitter Cugno, with a block – 15:12. At that, the Kazan strikers had no problems of that kind and steadily struck up to the floor. In the ending, Cugno once again attempted to get through, but just got under the block three times. As a result, Dinamo AkBars celebrated its first victory in the Champions League this season.

Alexey Korolev, assistant coach of Dinamo-Ak Bars KAZAN:
“One of our features is that we have difficulties entering matches. That was apparent in the previous games in the Russian Championship. We will figure out why it is so. Probably, we believe it would be easy to win. But rivals always bare their teeth at the beginning of a game. However, the replacement of blockers helped us to improve the game. Angelina took the field and marvelously played both in blocks, attacks, and serves.
Nevertheless, it is too early to look at the tournament tables, as it is still the second tour. Besides, we were playing at home. The pandemic situation remains challenging, and trips between countries are hard. We hope we will manage to get to all matches and perform decently there.”
Angelina Lazarenko, player of Dinamo-Ak Bars KAZAN:
“At first, we were rather stirred. That is why the start of the game appeared to be very hard. But we managed to concentrate and grinded out the victory. With the blocks and strengthened attacks we managed to turn the match around.”
Angela Leyva, player of BEZIERS Volley:
“The first set was a great set. We served really-really well. After that we were digging a lot, of course. We were playing transitions at a great level.
In the second set we missed a little bit. We were so close. But we made just some little mistakes. We could take the set. But I am very confident in our team.
We know that Dinamo is a great team with world class players. We knew it about our opponents, but we played best.”
Champions League. 4th round. Group D. 2nd tour.
Dinamo Ak-Bars KAZAN – BEZIERS Volley - 3:1 (22:25, 25:23, 25:18, 25:17)
4 December. Russia. Kazan. Volleyball Center “Sankt-Peterburg”
Referee: Cezare S. (Italy). Match time: 1.34 (22+27+23+22).
Dinamo: Koroleva – С (3), Fabris (22), Bricio (18), Kadochkina (17), Lazareva (2), Konovalova (8) – starting line-up, Podkopaeva (libero), Lazarenko (8), Sperskaite.
Beziers: Soto (6), Basso (4), Leiva (17), Cugno (16), Farriol (4). King – C (5) – starting line-up, Rochelle (libero), Mauriat, Howу (2).
Points – 97:83, serve – 4:4, spike – 62(42%):42(29%), block – 12:8, reception – 39%:43%, errors – 29:22.
(Statistics by “Dinamo Ak Bars” coach-statistics M.Kuzovenin)

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