The most famous combination in men’s volleyball in the late 1970’s to mid 1980’s was Vyacheslav Zaitsev and Aleksander Savin. Zaitsev was the world’s best setter Savin the best middle blocker / attacker and overall most fearsome player. Zaitsev setting to Savin was as close as it got to a guaranteed sideout. But sometimes it worked the other way around.
In this video clip from the 1982 World Championships, it is Savin setting to Zaitsev for the kill. A middle blocker setting to a setter is not an action that has been common in volleyball at any time in history, but this is even more notable for the way the play unfolds. Savin sees the situation so early that he almost pushes a teammate out of the way so he can get the play he wants. Other points of interest are the celebration (this was clearly an unusual play and something the whole team could celebrate) and, if you want to really get into it, how fast the Brazilian middle steps around his hopelessly out of position teammate and almost puts up a good block.
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