As the professional season rolls into the international season, Russian side Ural Ufa has announced several changes to its roster for the 2018-2019 year. Among the most significant departures are Canadian outside hitter Ryley Barnes and domestic opposite Andrei Kolesnik. Artem Tokhatash, a middle blocker who appeared in just 2 games for the club, will also leave.
Barnes arrived in Ural last summer from Tours VB in France, where he was developing into a star of that league. In his one season with the club, he played in 19 games, scored 77 points (63 kills, 5 blocks, 9 aces) and landed 32% of his shots.
Kolesnik had a two-year stay in Ufa, before expiration of his contract, where he scored 298 points across 51 games.
Ural Ufa finished just 9th in the Russian SuperLeague standings last season, though they won all 3 games of their play-out against Yugra Samotlor to maintain their spot in the top-tier league. Barnes didn’t participate in that play-out, and Kolesnik played only a limited role there.
Among the players who have re-signed with Ural Ufa is middle blocker Igor Filippov, who signed a one-year contract extension. He played in all 28 matches last season, scoring 243 points with 144 kills, 77 blocks, and 22 aces. He ranked 2nd on the team with a +146 scoring ratio (points minus errors).
Andrei Zubkov signed a one year extension as well after scoring 15 points in 26 games for Ufa. With Russian National Teamer Dmitry Kovalev also returning next season, the club keeps its setter group in-tact.
Alexander Abrosimov, who scored 220 points at middle blocker next season, extended for a year as well. He ranked 2nd in the Super League in blocks. The 34-year old has been with the club since 2016.
Andrey Titich also renewed his contract and was voted as the best player of the team for 2018, receiving 32.7% of the fan vote. Egor Feoktistov was 2nd with 23.5% and Dmitry Kovalev was 3rd with 13.4%.
THE CUP OF THE LEADER OF THE TEAM
2018 – Andrei Titich.
2017 – Yegor Feoktistov.
2016 – Andrey Kutsmus.
2015 – Leonid Kuznetsov.
2014 – Roman Danilov.
2013 – Alexey Spiridonov.
2012 – Lloy Ball.
While the 9th-place finish in the league table was nothing spectacular, Ufa is looking up with the re-signing of a number of its stars, and appointment of 4 of its players to the Russian national team – a team record.