Repeating as leading actor of a set in volleyball that extends to 56 points sounds utopian. The longest set registered up to this moment (54-52) dates from 2002 in the Italian Serie A-1. Cuban outside hitter Maikel Sánchez Bozhuleva , who plays for Korean Air Jumbos, took advantage by far of this chance, and set a new absolute record for a set by scoring 31 points to the club Rush & Cash, in a match of the Korean professional volleyball league.
The final score of the match was 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 56-54) and the “Russian”, as he is known, ended up scoring 41 points , at just one unit to match another world record: 42 points by the also Cuban Leonardo Leyva (Samsung Blue Fangs) for a three sets game. Leyva also possessed the highest amount of points for a set (21), a figure he had reached just a week before Maikel exceeded it by a wide margin.
We chatted via Facebook with the “Russian” who offered us his impressions on this feat.
Third set: 56-54, exact reflection of a set played with great intensity, and wherein the weight of your team’s offense fell on you.
It was intense, yes. I knew the responsibility would fall on me at the end. I am the outside hitter and the only foreign player of the club. Besides our tactical strategy had been focused on the central attackers, so in the initial two sets I had not attacked much, so I was ready to take on the task.
I began to realize of the set’s score when it was somewhat advanced. I had not noticed the scoreboard at any time, but suddenly I saw it and I thought it is going to get complicated ! From that moment I tried not to make mistakes and did everything I could to win the set.
Did you notice at any point of the set that you were getting an unusual score?
I was so focused on the game that it was impossible to notice that. You can not play volleyball thinking about those details and even less on individual stats. So, it is vital being focused all the time in the game.
The record happens because the setter started giving me a lot of balls from point twenty, and I managed to score most of them. In addition, our opponents were not making mistakes; we were not able to stop them. So the set got extended until we achieved a block against their outside hitter.
When did you know about the record?
I knew it shortly after finishing the game. A person from my squad came close to me and told me that in the third set I had scored many points. At the beginning he told me it has been 35, then it was confirmed that the exact number was 31. Honestly, I tell you that I was not so surprised by my points, but for the overall score of the set.
Were you physically exhausted when concluding the match?
I was a bit tired yes, but that’s normal after a long match and when a set is extended in that way. At the conclusion of the game I made some stretching and I recovered myself quite smoothly, I’m Cuban, we are made of iron!
Cuban volleyball fans are aware when you face Leonardo. Do you enjoy especially those matches?
Not only us enjoy playing against Samsung, but all teams here; they are the current champions and the rest of the squads always play harder against them, even if they lose.
In our particular case we enjoyed it a lot. So far we have played a single game at the beginning of the season and his team won 3-2. It was a very intense match where luck was not with my team. As Cubans we played very euphoric and with many desire for victory to show the kind of players we are. In addition we are part of the top two squads in the Korean league and participating in these matches between leaders is always interesting.