Loko Novosibirsk earn historic title; golden double for Dinamo Kazan

Moscow, Russia, March 29, 2020 – The men’s team of Lokomotiv Novosibirsk and the women’s squad of Dinamo Kazan were named national champions of Russia for the 2019-2020 season.

Moscow, Russia, March 29, 2020 – The men’s team of Lokomotiv Novosibirsk and the women’s squad of Dinamo Kazan were named national champions of Russia for the 2019-2020 season as the Russian Volleyball Federation decided the Superliga regular season standings would also be the final championship rankings after the playoffs were halted in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

For Lokomotiv it was a historic first national title, after winning silver in 2014 and bronze in 2017. The club from Novosibirsk also triumphed with the European continental trophy in the 2013 CEV Champions League and the silver medals at the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Men's Club World Championship.

Coach Plamen Konstantinov’s side won 16 of their 19 regular season matches, leaving giants Zenit Kazan with the silver and last season’s champions Kuzbass Kemerovo with the bronze. The three teams earned the right to represent Russia in next season’s Champions League.

“This is remarkable! We have been the pace-setters since the beginning of the season,” said Lokomotiv’s middle blocker Ilyas Kurkaev, 2019 VNL gold medallist with the Russian national team. “We have proved to be a combat squad able to maintain a high level for a long time. I am happy to be part of it and help achieve this result.”

“We wanted to play the deciding Final Six matches at home, in front of our fans, but it’s nobody’s fault it could not happen. We’ve worked for eight months to achieve this result and we have deserved to consider ourselves champions,” added his Loko teammate Konstantin Bakun, a 2016 Olympian and 2018 VNL champion.

On the women’s side, the championship title was Dinamo Kazan’s sixth, and first since 2015 when they last triumphed with the Superliga trophy. This season they also celebrated as national cup winners for the fifth time, thus marking the third golden double in the history of the club. 2014 was the best year for the Tatari team so far, as they won both the FIVB Club Word Championship and the CEV Champions League.

The stellar line-up of Dinamo Kazan, packed with world-class Russian and foreign internationals, were on a 21-match winning streak (Superliga, Russia Cup and CEV Cup combined) since November, the second longest in the club’s history, after the 28-game run in 2017-2018. Coach Rishat Gilyazutdinov’s team topped the regular season on a 14-2 win-loss record overtaking Lokomotiv Kaliningrad in the very last leg, thus leaving them with the silver. Uralochka-NTMK Ekaterinburg settled for the bronze, while the champions of the last four seasons, Dinamo Moscow, ended up in fourth place. Dinamo Kazan, Lokomotiv and Uralochka qualified for the 2021 Champions League.

“It is nice and sad at the same time,” admitted Dinamo Kazan’s captain and setter Evgeniya Startseva, a 2010 world champion and 2019 World Cup bronze medallist with the national team of Russia, who has been with the club since 2012. “This is not quite how we wanted to win the championship. We would have preferred to go all the way and emerge from the playoffs victorious. But we won the regular season, we are the champions, and this works for us.”

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