Ukraine’s Iereshchenko stuns Fakel from serving line


Ian Iereshchenko celebrates with his Yenisei teammates during the victorious match with Fakel

Krasnoyarsk, Russia, March 16, 2020 – Ian Iereshchenko was the hero of the first leg in the Russian Superliga playoffs, hammering out eight aces, including two at the very end of Yenisei Krasnoyarsk’s upset of Fakel Novy Urengoy.

At 13-13 in the tie-breaker, the 29-year-old Ukrainian international delivered two back-to-back aces to end the match at 3-2 (25-19, 31-29, 22-25, 23-25, 15-13) in favour of Yenisei over the 2018 FIVB Club World Championship bronze medallists. It was the only first-leg playoff game won by the lower-ranked team in the regular season. Iereshchenko also nailed the winner from the serving line in the second set and tallied a fantastic total of eight aces towards a match high of 30 points, his best ever over the eight seasons he has played in the Superliga.

“I can’t say what went on in my head during these deciding final serves,” said the 1.97m-tall outside spiker after the game. “In such crucial moments you just don’t think about it. Before that, my teammate Todor Skrimov asked me to make two aces and I said, ‘well, OK!’ So I went and I made them. We wanted to please our fans in the last home match of the season.”

In the other first-leg playoffs, the favourites won three-point away victories before hosting the return matches on March 21 or 22 on the road to the Final Six, where regular season winners Lokomotiv Novosibirsk and runners-up Zenit Kazan await them:

Yenisei Krasnoyarsk v Fakel Novy Urengoy 3-2 (25-19, 31-29, 22-25, 23-25, 15-13)
Belogorie Belgorod v Zenit Saint Petersburg 0-3 (24-26, 20-25, 17-25)
Gazprom-Ugra Surgut v Dinamo Moscow 1-3 (27-29, 16-25, 25-19, 20-25)
Dinamo-LO Leningrad Oblast v Kuzbass Kemerovo 1-3 (20-25, 26-28, 25-21, 21-25)

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