Łódź, Poland, June 24, 2016 – Team France needed only three sets to defeat the mighty Russians 3-0 (25-22, 36-34, 25-20) in the first match of World League’s weekend in Poland,
The best performance of Friday’s game displayed Antonin Rouzier, who scored 21 points for his team – almost twice as much as Earvin Ngapeth who scored 12 points. On the Russian side Dmitriy Muserskiy presented the best efficiency with 13 points to his name.
The clash between the Olympic Champion and World League title holder opened with an serve error by Victor Poletaev. Both teams fought point by point and kept the score tight until 20-18 to France. Egor Kliuka tried to frighten the opponents with his atomic spikes, but the French did not leave their winning path and ended with 25-22.
Set two started similarly, but at the first technical time-out France gained a cushion of three points and kept it. Kevin Tillie was the one making the difference, showing his best attacks from the left wing. Russians managed to push themselves further, but even their massive kills could not help reducing the six-point gap at 12-18. Coach Vladimir Alekno’s players got angry, stepped up the efforts and leveled the score at 21-21. The battle continued, but the prolonged ending was more lucky for the French who claimed the 36-34 victory after an impressive spike by Ngapeth.
In the beginning of third set Russia flipped the charts around and led 7-4. Les Bleus quickly closed the gap after the technical time-out, but Kevin Le Roux served straight in to the net and the score changed to 10-8 in favour of Russia again. France did not give up and few minutes later they claimed back the control from the earlier phase of the game and built up three-point lead 16-13. Artem Volvich’s block stopped France for a moment, but from 18-17 for Laurent Tillie’s men, nothing could keep them from going on a winning streak. Thanks to great entrance of Nicolas Marechal and Ngapeth’s show on spike, the match ended with joyful dance of French players after the last point gained at 25-20.