Kamil Rychlicki powered Al Rayyan Club to a thrilling straight sets victory in the Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship in Taiwan yesterday, with the Qatari side staying unbeaten in the 2019 edition of the tournament so far.
Rychlicki scored a match-high 17 points for Al Rayyan as they overpowered Kazakhstan’s TNC Kazchrome VC 3-0 (28-26, 25-14, 25-23) at the University of Taiwan (Tianmu) Gymnasium yesterday.
With the win, Al Rayyan clinched a top eight spot, having beaten Thailand’s Est Cola, 3-1 (26-24, 25-18, 22-25, 25-20) in their opening game of the tournament on Thursday, with one group stage match yet to go, against India’s Chennai Spartans.
Yesterday, Rychlicki’s effort included 12 attacks and 5 aces, while Sergey Kostiv chipped in with 11 points for TNC Kazchrome VC, assisted by Dmitry Vovnenko, who also bagged similar 11 points including 2 blocks and 4 aces.
Both the teams had got their respective campaigns in the nine-day event a winning start, with Kazchrome VC thrashing Chennai Spartans in straight sets.
Kazchrome won the very first point of the match after a spike from their team went out, but head coach Sergei Gribov rejected the referee’s decision with the ball in-ball out challenge and his effort was successful. The Kazakh side widened the lead to 6-1, courtesy of Dmitry Vovnenko’s ace serve and exceptional attacks from Sergey Kostiv.
However, Al Rayyan put their act together, overcoming their nervous start and roaring back with fierce attacks. Strongly-built Rychlicki, who had scored a match-high 24 points in their match against Est Cola the previous day, chipped in with a few big spikes to help the Qataris catch up with Kazchrome at 11-11. After that, the match turned out to be a truly competitive competition as both teams came up in full strength to win the opening set to boost their confidence.
Both sides traded points through attacks and solid blocks. At 26-26, a serve from Maxim Michshenko went wide, giving Al Rayyan a crucial point to take a commanding 27-26 lead and needing one more point to win the set. Birama Faye and Brazilian-born Marcus Costa produced a scintillating block for the Qataris’ hard-fought 28-26 win in the set.
After a tense battle in the opener, the second set turned out to be a one-way traffic with Kazchrome simply blown away by a fierce Al Rayyan’s barrage – with Rychlicki and Costa too powerful from spike range. Leading at 20-13, the Qataris allowed Kazchrome only one more point from a sharp shot from Sergey Kostiv to take the second set 25-14.
The third set was hotly-contested as both teams gave it all out to win the set. Taking a narrow 23-22 lead, Al Rayyan went on their mighty attacks, with Rychlicki in particularly on good form. Qataris Faye and Costa blocked for everything to help the team advance 24-22, but a spike from Kostiv saved the day for Kazchrome.
However, Rychlicki finished it off for Al Rayyan with a lightning-fast spike to completely end the rivals’ challenge. Al Rayyan captured the hard-fought set 25-23 and match.
“It was a tough match. Kazchrome had very strong block and serves, so we needed much more to attack. Also, we tried our best to push ourselves to bring out the reception on top of the net in order that they can play with high balls. We work really well in this situation. Our serve and block are strong points for the win in this match,” said Al Rayyan head coach Carlos Eduardo.
“We now qualify to the top eight. Our next match against Chennai Spartans will be similar as Thailand. They moved so much when they played the ball. However, we will watch videos to make ourselves ready for the match. We will do our best.” (AVC)
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