Season's best announced in Russia

Moscow, Russia, May 20, 2020 – The national federation of Russia announced the winners of the fan vote for the best players and coaches of this season's women’s and men’s Superliga.

Moscow, Russia, May 20, 2020 – The national federation of Russia announced the winners of the fan vote for the best players and coaches of this season's women’s and men’s Superliga.

The final stage of the poll put the spotlight on the outside spiker and the coach of women’s Superliga bronze medallists Uralochka-NTMK Ekaterinburg, Kseniia Parubets and Nikolay Karpol, Zenit Kazan’s star striker Maxim Mikhaylov and the Bulgarian mentor of newly-crowned men’s champions Lokomotiv Novosibirsk, Plamen Konstantinov, as the season’s best. In the first phase of this online voting campaign, the fans of each participating team made their pick for the club’s best player to advance to the deciding second stage of the poll.

During the season, 25-year-old Kseniia Parubets impressed with her scoring skills. She became the most prolific point-maker and the top attacker of the Superliga season. The outside of the Russian national team tallied as many as 340 points, of which 298 successful spikes, for Uralochka. In addition, the high-flying 1.83m-tall athlete emerged as the best scorer (147 points), the best spiker and the second best receiver of the pool stage in the CEV Champions League. Parubets also contributed to the Russian national team’s bronze at the 2019 FIVB Volleyball World Cup, where she was the fourth best attacker of the tournament. In 2015, the Russian international helped win silver at the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix and gold at the CEV European Championship.

Zenit Kazan had to settle for the men’s silver and their worst Champions League result in history, but 32-year-old Maxim Mikhaylov was still popular with voters. During the season, the 2.02m-tall athlete stepped back to hand his usual opposite position in Zenit’s lineup to newcomer Tsvetan Sokolov, and took the role of an outside having to cope with reception as well. Still, he became the second best scorer (116 points) and the third best attacker of the Champions League pool stage. In his career, Mikhaylov has put together an impressive showcase of honours, including gold at the 2012 Olympic Games, the 2011 World Cup, the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Club World Championship, the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Nations League, two FIVB Volleyball World Leagues and two European Championships, as well as numerous individual awards for MVP, best scorer or best (opposite) spiker. 

Nikolay Karpol, who turned 82 earlier this month, is a living legend in the world of women’s volleyball. He has been at the helm of Uralochka for 51 years, arguably the world record in professional team sports. This year’s Superliga bronze is just a small addition to the prize collection of the most decorated coach in the history of volleyball. Since 1969, Karpol has led the team from Ekaterinburg to eight continental and 25 national titles, as well as bronze at the 1992 Club World Championship. His achievements with Sbornaya (USSR, CIS or Russia) include the Olympic gold in 1980 and 1988, three Olympic silver medals, one gold and three bronze FIVB World Championship medals, World Cup gold and bronze, nine World Grand Prix medals and seven European Championship titles, to name a few. Karpol was named FIVB Coach of the Year in 1989 and 1991 and the best coach of the 1990 World Championship. 

In his fourth season as the head coach of Lokomotiv, 46-year-old Plamen Konstantinov led the club from Novosibirsk to a historic first national title. After a glorious playing career, in which he won bronze at the 2006 World Championship and the 2007 World Cup as the captain of the Bulgarian national team, the 2.02m-tall former receiver took up coaching and won the 2010 Turkish Super Cup with Ziraat Bankasi Ankara in his very first official match on the job. In 2014, he reached the CEV Cup final at the helm of Russia’s Guberniya Nizhny Novgorod. In addition to club sides from Turkey and Russia, Konstantinov coached the national team of his country for four years, reaching the European Championship semifinals in 2015.

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