Rio 2016 Paralympics – Match Report – Day 6


MATCH REPORT – Day 6 – Wednesday, September 14th

USA vs Rwanda (Women) – Pool B

USA currently sits in second place in pool B, and was looking for a solid win against Rwanda to bump up their points ratio.  Certainly Rwanda knew they had it in tough against the world #2 ranked team, and the match proved to be just that.

USA stormed out of the gate, and led 8-2 at the first technical time out, thanks to some very strong serving from Kaleo Kanahele.  Despite some good ball control at times, Kanahele’s serving put RWA off their game for a streak of 10 points.

RWA finally ended Kanahele’s run at 3-13 with a strong attack from Liliane Mukobwankawe for a kill.  USA fought back with some skilled attacks, but RWA then went on a three-point run which included a monster block.  A great rally ending at 19-6 resulted in RWA Coach Peter Karreman calling a time out, and despite a great block for Rwanda’s 10th point, the set ended at 25-10.

Set two saw much of the same from both teams – USA dominating, and some good playing actions from RWA, but not enough from the African champions to get beyond eight points for the set. USA win 25-8.

Set three was all USA – in fact all Lexi Shifflett.  Shifflett served consistently and strongly for 19 straight points – it seemed that RWA was simply stuck in a rotation that wasn’t working against the USA rotation.  USA took the set 25-3, and the match 3-0.

Over 2100 fans were cheering loudly for RWA during the entire match, but supported both teams on each and every play.  The Brazilian fans have shown their volleyball knowledge and appreciation of good points and rallies throughout the competition.

Final scores USA – RWA 3-0 (25-10, 25-8, 25-3)

China vs I R Iran (Women) – Pool B

CHN looked to solidify their spot top pool B, and did so convincingly in their match against IRI.  The crowd, though, had already adopted the IRI women in this match, even before the first ball was played!  Of course the fans cheered for all great plays by both teams, but it was clear whose side they were on.

CHN started out in style, with Lijun Zhang serving some balls that IRI had difficulty controlling.  Despite some spirited and quality defence and some incredible rallies, IRI could not prevent CHN from building an 8-2 lead at the first technical time out.

IRI tried to chip away at CHN’s lead, with some great serving from Eshrat Kordestani and some monster blocks, but CHN’s attack was too strong and maintained their lead.  IRI called a timeout at 11-19, and was then able to score some points on spikes from Zeinab Maleki Dizicheh and Masoumeh Zarei Barouti, but CHN won the set 25-16.

In the second set IRI was the team to storm out of the gate! Some amazing rallies – back and forth, attack, dig, led CHN to call a time out trailing 5-10.  However CHN is never a team to fold, and they started to chip away, eventually tying the set at 17-17 on a service ace from Yuhong Sheng.  The two teams went point for point until CHN pulled away on strong serving from Yanan Wang and a super spike, again from Sheng to put them up 23-19.  Final score in the set was 25-19.

CHN was all business in the third set.  IRI was on their heels for the first four points by some very strong serving from Jixiu Jiang, eventually increasing their lead to 8-1 at the first technical time out.  CHN continued strong, extending their lead to 10-1, and IRI called time out.  It seemed to turn their game around a bit, and they managed to get the score to 8-14.

CHN once again showed their strength and consistency – a combination of a super spike and two aces from #11 brought them to 20-8, and they rolled on from there to win the set 25-11, and the match 3-0.

It was a very entertaining match! Both teams demonstrated amazing skill and speed – it was a real showcase of very controlled volleyball in front of a crowd of more than 2500!

Final scores CHN – IRI 3-0 (25-16, 25-19, 25-11)

BIH v CHN (men) – Pool B

BIH, second in their pool, charged out to an early lead over CHN who were fourth in the pool.

Some great attacks and defence by BIH had them leading 8-4 at the first technical time out and then to 11-4, at which point CHN took a time out.  After some incredible rallies that saw both teams attacking, defending, blocking, BIH managed to extend their lead to 19-11.  An amazing rally full of spikes, recoveries, defence, saw Zhongmin Zhang from CHN attack down the line for the point.  Safet Alibasic, the hard-hitting BIH star player, scored all three BIH final points to seal the set with a block and two hard spikes that were too hot to handle for CHN. BIH 25, CHN 14.

Set two was a much more closely contested set, with both team exchanging spikes and great defence.  At the second technical time out CHN led 16-15 after clawing back from a few points down. CHN then established a small lead, but BIH was not done yet, eventually taking the set with a kill off the top of the CHN block, winning 25-22.

Set three began as did set two, with CHN breaking out to a small lead – they led 8-6 at the first technical time out on a kill block.  Again BIH came back, to tie the match 10-10.  Ismet Godinjak had a huge block to score BIH’s 12th point and then a huge kill to score the 14th, as BIH began to pull away, to 16-11.

BIH continued their push, eventually leading 22-13 on a huge block by Dzevad Hamzic, but CHN was not saying goodbye yet!  After BIH scored their 24th point, CHN fought back, point by point, to 24-19.  Alas it was not to be for team CHN as BIH sealed the match with a huge cross-court kill from Nizam Cancar to win 25-19.

The match was filled with wow moments, amazing volleyball skills, rallies, blocks, spikes, and without many errors.  Certainly the scores did not seem to be an indicator of how closely these teams are matched!

Final scores BIH – CHN 3-0 (25-14, 25-22, 25-19)

Ukraine vs Iran (Men) – Pool B

IRI took on UKR in this final Pool B match. IRI were already top of the pool and were guaranteed a place in the semi-finals. For UKR, this was a chance to prove themselves against the top team in the world.

IRI controlled the beginning of the set and led 8-5 after a number of good blocks. Oleksiy Kharlamov (UKR) super spiked and UKR caught up to level 13 all, but trailed slightly 15-16 at the 2nd TO. Clever tips, roll-shots and precise serves from IRI surprised UKR and gave IRI the first set 25-22.

UKR and IRI traded points but IRI led the 1st TO 8-7. A good rally and Sergii Shevchenko (UKR) spiked to level 10 all. UKR played well to lead 16-15. IRI made a hitting error and a timeout was called with IRI 16-19 down. IRI managed to level 22 and then come back from two set points down to win 28-26.

UKR showed they were still fighting in the 3rd set as they led 8-6. An ace from Sadegh Bigdeli (IRI) and a UKR fault didn’t stop UKR leading 16-15. Morteza (IRI) came on court and the crowd went wild. He started scoring and IRI raced ahead. Then Morteza (IRI) served a killer ace on match point for IRI to take the set 25-21.

UKR fought a hard match against the top team in the world. Ramezan Salehihajikolaei (IRI) had fun encouraging the 3,800+ crowd who responded throughout with their support for IRI.

Denys Bytchenko top scored for UKR with 15 points (13 spikes, 2 blocks). David Alipourian was top scorer for IRI with 9 points (7 spikes, 2 blocks). Rusian Horyakin was top blocker for the match with 4 blocks.

Final Score UKR – IRI 3-0 (25-22, 28-26, 25-20)

Day 7 matches – Thursday, September 15th

13.30 CAN v RWA Women 7-8
15.30 NED v IRI Women 5-6
18.30 UKR v CHN Women SF
20.30  BRA v USA Women SF

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