Led by their German opposite Louisa Lippmann, Lokomotiv Kaliningrad delivered the big upset in the pool stage of the Russian Superliga’s Final Six tournament. They defeated regular season leaders and event hosts Dinamo-Ak Bars Kazan in a hard-fought five-setter to top their pool and send their opponents to an unpredictable semifinal clash with Dinamo Moscow.
Lippmann, who joined Lokomotiv in January, produced the match high of 23 points in her team’s 3-2 (14-25, 25-16, 25-20, 20-25, 15-13) victory over Dinamo Kazan. Her tally included three aces and two blocks. Russian international Irina Voronkova also had three aces to finish with 18 points.
On the other side of the net, 17-year-old outside Arina Fedorovtseva, who is quite likely to make her debut for the senior national team of Russia during the upcoming FIVB Volleyball Nations League, hammered six aces towards a total of 18 points to become one of Dinamo’s top scorers of the match, alongside Croatian star Samanta Fabris.
In Lokomotiv’s other match in Pool A, they cruised to a 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, 25-20) shutout of Proton Saratov. Lippmann, who is expected to star on the German team at VNL 2021, topped the scorers’ chart of the match on 19 points, including four stuffs.
Friday's semifinals will see Lokomotiv Kaliningrad take on Uralochka-NTMK Ekaterinburg. In the other semifinal, between Dinamo Kazan and Dinamo Moscow, one of the two regular season leaders will have to bow out of the race for the title.
Dinamo Moscow produced two emphatic straight-set wins – 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-20) over Uralochka and 3-0 (25-21, 25-13, 25-19) over Belarus’s Minchanka Minsk – to top the standings in Pool A. Russian star Nataliya Goncharova was the Muscovites’ top scorer in both matches on 19 (including four blocks) and 14 points, respectively.
The big final will be played in Kazan on Saturday.
Main photo: Lippmann in a duel with Mexican star Samantha Bricio during the game between Lokomotiv and Dinamo Kazan (source: volley.ru)
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