Kazan lead Russian league ahead of Club World Championship


Maxim Mikhaylov consistently top scores for Zenit Kazan in the Russian Superleague, ahead of the 2018 FIVB Men's Club World Championship.

Lausanne, Switzerland, November 14, 2018 - Reigning world, European and Russian champions Zenit Kazan have climbed to the top of the domestic Superleague after their latest mid-week win on Wednesday, as they enter the final stretch in their preparation for the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men's Club World Championship where they'll be defending their title.

Maxim Mikhaylov scored 19 points and USA's Matt Anderson 14 in Kazan's latest win - a 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, 25-20) sweep of Ural Ufa on the road. Last weekend Kazan had handed Belogorie Belgorod their first defeat of the season, 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-20) at home in the Tatarstan capital where they celebrated their 1000th match.

However, though Kazan enjoy pole position in the table with five wins in as many matches, they have played one match more than the other contenders and have already dropped a point earlier in the season. Also undefeated in the Russian Superleague, and on full points after four matches, are Fakel Novy Urengoy, Russia's second entry in the Club World Championship.

In their latest test, Fakel beat Yaroslavich Yaroslav 3-0 (25-11, 25-17, 25-21) last weekend, with Egor Kliuka bringing in 17 points and Artur Udris another 15.

The Club World Championship begins on November 26 in the Polish cities of Plock and Rzeszow.

Both Zenit Kazan and Fakel Novy Urengoy are in the same pool, in Plock, alongside hosts Skra Belchatow of Poland and Cucine Lube Civitanova of Italy.

Pool B in Rzeszow features the second Polish entry of Asseco Resovia Rzeszow, Italy's Itas Trentino of Trento, Brazil's Sada Cruzeiro of Contagem and Iran's Khatam Ardakan.

Elswehere last weekend, reigning South American and Brazil champions Sada Cruzeiro dropped yet another point in the domestic Superleague, after they were taken all the way at home by Copel Telecom Maringa who up until then had not registered a single point.

With top scoring by USA's Taylor Sander (18 points) and Evandro Guerra (16) Sada Cruzeiro finally pulled through for a 3-2 (25-19, 21-25, 19-25, 25-18, 15-10) win which places them at the top of the standings - albeit on two matches more than second-placed SESC Rio de Janeiro who remain undefeated.

In addition to the point dropped last weekend, Sada Cruzeiro have already lost one match - a straight-sets affair to Volei Renata in Campinas.

Sada Cruzeiro depart for Poland next Thursday.

Back in Europe, meanwhile, both Italy's entrants in the Club World Championship continued with wins last weekend.

Tsvetan Sokolov with 17 points and Osmany Juantorena with 15 led Lube as they shut out Globo Banca Popolare del Frusinate Sora 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-23) at home in Civitanova.

And Itas Trentino edged BCC Castellana Grotte on the road in Bari 3-2 (23-25, 25-19, 25-22, 19-25, 15-10) with all-around scoring by Luca Vettori (15), Uros Kovacevic (14), Aaron Russell (13) and Davide Candellaro (11).

And in Poland, Asseco Resovia Rzeszow came close to bagging their first victory of the season in the PlusLiga and scoring a major upset, when they took table leaders ZAKSA Kedzierzyn Kozle all the way before eventually succumbing 3-2 (25-13, 28-26, 20-25, 23-25, 20-18) at home - despite Rossard Thibault's 33 points.

Resovia remain at the bottom of the table, winless after seven matches.

Defending champions PGE Skra Belchatow, meanwhile, beat Cuprum Lubin 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-22) on the road, to remain in seventh place on a 4-3 record. Artur Szalpuk was top scorer with 16 points and Jakub Kochanowski was named MVP of the game.

Quick links - Volleyball:
FIVB Volleyball Men's Club World Championship 2018
FIVB Volleyball Women's Club World Championship 2018 - Volleyball
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