Lausanne, Switzerland, December 4, 2017 – Zenit Kazan will head to the FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship with confidence sky-high after they won the Russian Cup on Sunday.
Kazan are chasing a first Club World Championship title, having lost in the final in 2015 and 2016.
Vladimir Alekno celebrated his birthday in style by guiding his team to a 3-2 (19-25, 26-24, 26-24, 22-25, 15-11) victory over Kuzbass Kiemierowo. It is the second trophy that Zenit Kazan have won in 2017 after they claimed the Russian Super Cup earlier in the year.
“Today the team were pushed to the limit,” Alekno said. “I’m not so concerned by the result as the physical shape of the team before the Club World Championship. The starting six didn’t pull their load and played as individuals.
“It worries me that we are not in the best physical condition, but a strong-willed win is great. Second place for us would be a failure.”
It is the seventh time that Zenit Kazan have won the Russian Cup, and they did so in front of 4,700 spectators at the Cosmos Sports Palace in Belgorod.
Wilfredo Leon led scoring with 22 points, Matthew Anderson weighed in with 18 and Maxim Mikhaylov scored 17.
Poland will host the Club World Championships from December 12-17. Zenit Kazan will start off in Pool B which takes place over three days in the 12,000-capacity Lodz Arena.
The European champions will take on Argentine champions, Club Ciudad de Bolivar and two wildcard teams, SKRA Belchatow from Poland and Shanghai Volleyball Club. The top two will then progress to the semifinals and medal matches that will take place in Krakow on December 16 and 17.