Poletaev leads Russia to 3-0 victory as Cameroon leave the tournament


Bari, Italy, September 17, 2018 – Cameroon did not stand a real chance: after losing to USA on Saturday night and enjoying a rest day, Russia resumed their triumphal march and prevailed 3-0 (25-16, 30-28, 25-15) in their matchup with the reigning African champions. Victor Poletaev, who scored 13 points, Dmitry Volkov and Maxim Mikhaylov with 10 points each secured Russia’s third victory in Pool C. With three wins and nine points to their name, Russia will play Serbia on Tuesday night to define the final standing in the pool.

Opposite hitter Yvan Kody Bitjaa was the top scorer of Cameroon with 11 points. Cameroon will leave Bari and the tournament with three points to their name from their victory over Tunisia last Wednesday and much experience that they will be surely taking advantage of in future.

In the first match of the sixth day of the tournament in Bari, Russia played Cameroon. The winners of the Volleyball Nations League and reigning European champions needed a victory to close the gap with pool leaders USA and Serbia. The African team, on the other hand, had to earn some points in order to stay in contention for a spot in the second round before waiting for the matchup between Australia and Tunisia later in the evening. Russia lined up their top players, while Cameroon coach Blaise Mayam Re Niof had to make do without captain Nathan Wounembaina, still injured. David Patrick Feughouo had to play as outside hitter, leaving space to opposite Yvan Arthur Kody Bitjaa.

After a close start to the match, Russia ran ahead at the second technical timeout, led by Maxim Mikhaylov’s two straight aces, with the VNL gold medallists sealing a comprehensive 25-16 win. In the second set, captain and setter Sergey Grankin took to the court, as Ilyas Kurkaev, Yury Berezhko and Victor Poletaev replaced Dmitriy Muserskiy, Dmitry Volkov and Maxim Mikhaylov respectively. The course of the game did not change much, with Russia leading 8-7 at the first technical timeout and 16-12 at the second before Kody mounted a comeback. Cameroon did not use their chances in a dramatic money time and Russia claimed the set 30-28. Russian libero Alexander Sokolov enjoyed some playing time in the third set, which Russia won at a canter (25-15).