Russia had to fight hard to beat Bulgaria on Sunday
Kaliningrad, Russia, June 19, 2016 – Russian team won a difficult 3-1 match (25-20, 18-25, 17-25, 22-25) against Bulgaria on the last day of the FIVB World League Pool C1 action in Kaliningrad on Sunday.
Both teams delivered a superb performance from the first ball of the opening set. In the beginning Vladimir Alekno opted to use his reserves. Victor Yosifov grabbed the lead at 5-3 for Bulgaria until Artem Volvich attacked on the empty net to make it 5-all. After the first technical time-out Svetoslav Gotsev got a tap for 11-7 for Bulgaria. Vladimir Alekno made a double substitution: Grankin and Bakun came on the court and reduced the score gap to 11-13. The Bulgarian players kept a slight advantage at 16-14, then strengthened their position to 19-15. Bulgaria maintained their poise till the end of the first set, which they took 25-20.
In the beginning of the second set Russia got a spirited run. Kostyantin Bakun recorded 2 aces for 3-0 and Plamen Konstntinov asked for a time-out. Russia's service errors helped Bulgaria to close the gap at 7-all. Kostyantin Bakun's ace off the net gave Russia a 15-12 lead. Nikolay Penchev finished the set with a kill block at 25-18.
Artem Volvich started the third set with an ace, while Dmitry Musersky's outstanding blocking and unstoppable spikes helped Russia to an 8-3 advantage. A great streak of aces by Dmitry Muserskiy enlarged the gap to 20-15. Konstyantin Bakun earned the set's final point to make it 25-17 for Russia.
In the fourth set both teams were trading points at the beginning but spikes of Tsvetan Sokolov improved the positions of Bulgaria to 5-2. Vladimir Alekno asked for a time-out and Russia pulled back instantly to 5-all. More aces by Kostyantin Bakun gave Russia a 13-9 lead, which they were able to hold on to for most of the set. Bulgaria was not defeated easily, however, as five points in a row gave them a tie at 22-all. This was all they could do on Sunday, as Russia snatched the three following points, with Dmitry Muserskiy's ace finishing the proceedings at 25-22.
Kostyantin Bakun was the winners' best scorer with 20 points, including 7 aces. The best scorer of the match was Bulgaria's Tsvetan Sokolov with 21 points.