Kraljevo, Serbia, May 29, 2018 – Tijana Boskovic led Serbia to a straight-set victory over Russia in their first match of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League tournament in Kraljevo, storming in with a stellar performance, which resulted in a fantastic 25 points, more than half of which she scored in the first set.
Boskovic went on a rampage that made it impossible for Russia to compete against in a relevant fashion. The talented 21-year-old opposite managed 21 spikes, two stuff blocks and two aces, which made her by far the best scorer of the match.
Another 21-year-old, Bojana Milenkovic, who was substituted for Brankica Mihajlovic in the course of the second set, also put her skills on display, contributing in both offence and blocking, especially in the conclusive moments of the match.
Irina Voronkova did her best to be a good match for Boskovic on the Russian side of the net, becoming the second top scorer of the game with 17 points, including four blocks.
With almost 4,500 spectators keeping the volume high at the competition venue in Kraljevo, the Serbian team left little doubt over their superiority in the match, never allowing the Russians to take a sustainable lead in any of the three sets. Coach Zoran Terzic’s squad hammered out the shutout in 80 minutes of play time to register their sixth victory in the Volleyball Nations League, as well as their sixth consecutive win over Russia in world-level competitions.
Kill blocking, power spiking from the front line, pipe shooting from the back row, precision tipping over the opponents’ block, acing from the serving line – was there any way in which Tijana Boskovic was not able to score in that first set of the match? The young Serbian star scored a phenomenal 13 points to keep Serbia in the lead. Trying to keep at her pace on the other side was Irina Voronkova, whose 10 points did not suffice, especially as she served into the net to shape up the 25-23 Serbian win.
The second set was a lot about unforced errors, especially on the Russian side. Boskovic was not nearly as brilliant as she was in the first set and scored a “modest” six points, including the fantastic block that ended the set at 25-19 Serbia’s way.
The abundant mistakes continued into the third set. Nine of the first 13 points (7-6 Serbia’s way) came from opponents’ errors. Boskovic routinely scored six points to help her team stay in the lead, with precious contribution of five points coming from sub-in Bojana Milenkovic. In a dramatic ending of the set, a power spike by Boskovic was called long by the referees, but with the successful challenge from coach Zoran Terzic, a block touch became obvious bringing Serbia to match point at 24-17. Seconds later a block-out ref’s decision on a hit by Milenkovic was challenged by Vadim Pankov, hoping that the ball fell on the line, but the hawk-eye was once again in favour of the home team to fix their win at 25-18.