Goncharova steers Russian victory to gain semifinal berth


Russia's Nataliya Goncharova led her team to victory with 27 points

Bangkok, Thailand, July 8, 2016 – Russia eluded hosts Thailand in straight sets (27-25, 26-24, 25-19) to secure the semifinal berth in the 2016 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix at Indoor Stadium Huamark on Friday.

Nataliya Goncharova topped all scorers with 27 points, including 23 attacks, and four blocks to spearhead the Russian offence, while Ajcharaporn Kongyot scored a team-high of 17 points for Thailand.

The host team lived up to expectations as they came up with great attacks in the opening set. Their seasoned players Pleumjit Thinkaow led Thailand with her lightning-quick spikes, then Ajcharaporn Kongyot also delivered on her powerful spikes. The visiting side led by Goncharova, tore the Thai defence apart with strong spikes from the left flank and their solid blocks controlled the Thai rampage. Russia bolted the tightly-contested first set with a two-point margin 27-25.

Thailand started with a 3-0 lead in the second set as Pleumjit continued to deliver on her middle hits. Thailand held their lead until 18-16, but the Russian block prevailed which shifted the momentum to their side. Goncharova nailed the set-winner 26-24.

Russia took the lead in the third set, but Ajcharaporn and Pleumjit persistently challenged the visiting side’s defence, but Russia still succeeded as they showed better form that finished set and match 25-19.


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