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27/02/2018 23:59
VakifBank claim Turkish derby to keep immaculate record as teams qualified for the Playoffs 6 are known
2018 CEV Volleyball Champions League - Women

Luxembourg, February 27, 2018. It has taken 6 legs and as many as 48 matches but we now know the names of the teams progressing to the Playoff stage of the 2018 CEV Volleyball Champions League – Women. These are the four pool winners – CSM Volei Alba BLAJ, Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA, Dinamo KAZAN and VakifBank ISTANBUL – plus the two runners-up with the best results – i.e. Imoco Volley CONEGLIANO and Volero ZÜRICH. Galatasaray SK ISTANBUL will progress to the next round as well, replacing the organiser of the Final Four. Titleholders VakifBank and 2014 gold medal winners Dinamo KAZAN made it six wins in as many matches as Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA ended Imoco Volley’s winning streak to claim first place in Pool B. Volero progressed to the next round too after a comprehensive 3-0 home victory over Pool A leaders CSM Volei Alba BLAJ.

Volero ZÜRICH (SUI) vs. CSM Volei Alba BLAJ (ROU) 3-0 (25-22, 25-15, 25-9)

•    Since Chemik POLICE defeated Vizura RUMA 3-2 in Pool C, Volero ZÜRICH needed three points from this match to book their ticket to the Playoffs 6.
•    Alexandra Lazic of Volero ZÜRICH topped the scoring charts with as many as 19 points (including two block points). Former Volero ZÜRICH player Nneka Obiamaka Onyejekwe, on the other hand, was the best blocker of the game with five kills.
•    CSM Volei Alba BLAJ stormed to an 8-4 lead in the very beginning of the game, but Volero ZÜRICH fought their way back into the game to turn the tables at 14-13. The game remained tight in the following rallies. However, the Swiss eventually prevailed 25-22, also due to eight unforced errors by the Romanians
•    In the following sets, Volero ZÜRICH always led after the first technical timeout and held on to their advantage. CSM Volei Alba BLAJ were not able to turn the game to their favour.
•    Volero ZÜRICH committed only eight unforced errors in the entire game, while CSM Volei Alba BLAJ gathered 19.

Alexandra Lazic, outside hitter of Volero ZÜRICH: “I think we were a little bit nervous at the beginning of the first set. However, our coach found the right words in the break to get us back on track. I am very glad that our setter Ana Antonijevic showed so much trust in me and gave me so many passes. I think we grew together as a team in the last months and this achievement today is the result of the hard work we have put in over the last few weeks.”

Avital Selinger, head coach of Volero ZÜRICH: “This game was definitely not an easy one. CSM Volei Alba BLAJ started strongly into the game. We found slowly our rhythm and turned it to our favour. In the first rallies, we just relied too much on our power in offence. I reminded my players to vary more in the attacking game - and it worked. Now I do not want to think too much about our next opponent. We have to focus on the next training sessions and the upcoming games in the Swiss league.”

Darko Zakoc, head coach of CSM Volei Alba BLAJ: “Volero ZÜRICH played a very strong game today. They deserved this win. We, on the other hand, did not show enough resilience to win a set. I think a reason why that happened is we had to play without our top libero Marina Vujovic. I hope we will get the opportunity to face Volero ZÜRICH later in the competition again to do better.”

ASPTT MULHOUSE VB (FRA) vs. Developres SkyRes RZESZOW (POL) 1-3 (23-25, 14-25, 25-23, 17-25)

•    The match did not have much importance as both teams were out of contention for a spot in the Playoffs 6. Developres SkyRes improved their win-loss record in Pool A to 2-4.
•    The first set was a very close affair with the hosts edging ahead at the second technical time-out (16-12) courtesy of their blocking game. However, after some substitutions, Developres SkyRes got back on track and eventually won the opening set 25-23.
•    The hosts struggled in reception in the early stages of the second set and trailed 3-12 as their head coach Magali Magail replaced Britt Herbots with Carla Cotito. The Polish team still could lead comfortably at the second technical time-out (16-7) and despite some more changes to the starting six of MULHOUSE, the visitors stormed to a landslide 25-14 win.
•    The third set was a much closer call with ASPTT MULHOUSE leading 16-13 at the second technical break; the Polish side stepped up their efforts with Hélène Rousseaux looking unstoppable at the net. She helped her side level the score but the hosts were able to claim a close 25-23 win to stay alive in the match.
•    Developres SkyRes claimed an early lead in the fourth set (8-5) and extended it to 16-8; Rousseaux and Adela Helic eventually took RZESZOW to a 3-1 victory, as even the high-scoring Hayley Spelman could not do much to avoid a loss for MULHOUSE.
•    Rousseaux top scored in the match with 27 points followed by Spelman with 26.

Bojana Markovic, team captain of MULHOUSE: “We tried to enjoy the game but we had problems in reception. These were too much for us to develop our game.”

Magali Magail, head coach of MULHOUSE: “It was a match with highs and lows for us. Developres SkyRes have much quality at serving and they used our weaknesses in reception to their advantage.”

Lorenzo Micelli, head coach of RZESZOW: “I am very happy with this victory. My players did perform very well even when they looked a bit tired.”

Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA (ITA) vs. Imoco Volley CONEGLIANO (ITA) 3-1 (25-16, 29-27, 23-25, 25-16)

•    Paola Egonu was the best scorer of the game with 29 points and an amazing 52% success rate in attack.
•    Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA made the difference with their attacking performance: the hosts successfully finished 51% of their attempts, while Imoco Volley CONEGLIANO had a much lower 36% success rate.
•    Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA won their fifth game in a row while Imoco Volley CONEGLIANO lost a Champions League match for the first time this season.
•    Robin de Kruijf from Imoco Volley CONEGLIANO suffered a knee injury during the first set and could not play for the remainder of the game.
•    It is the first time in history that Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA make it to the Playoff phase of Europe’s elite club competition.

Paola Egonu, player of Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA: “We are very proud. We just did a great job and secured a historic spot in the Playoffs for the first time in this club’s history. Now we look forward to our upcoming games with just one goal, to secure a ticket to the Final Four.”

Massimo Barbolini, coach of Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA: “We did something really amazing, by finishing the pool phase in first place. We had great opponents like Imoco Volley CONEGLIANO and Fenerbahce SK ISTANBUL but we could win five games in a row and we secured a spot in the Playoffs. Now we don’t want to stop, we want to continue our European journey and go straight to the Final Four.”

Fenerbahçe SK ISTANBUL (TUR) vs. Agel PROSTEJOV (CZE) 3-1 (25-23, 23-25, 25-13, 25-10)

•    In the first minutes of the opening set in this match the guest team from Agel PROSTEJOV took a small lead.  However, by the time of the first technical timeout Fenerbahçe was leading with one point (8-7). This seemed to have motivated the guests and they showed better skills in attack, which led to result 16-13 in their favor. After some great rallies between both teams and intense play, Fenrbahce eventually closed this part of the match by 25-23.  
•    The second set gave the spectators in Burhan Felek Voleybol Salonu ISTANBUL some great emotions. The players of both teams were giving their best on the volleyball field, which made the set a very interesting one. Both teams followed each other in the result, but Agel PROSTEJOV were better by the time of both technical timeouts, having the lead respectively by 8-7 and 16-13.  The guests didn’t allow the home team to make a comeback in the set and despite the great blocks of the Turkish team, Agel PROSTEJOV brought the intrigue back in the match. wining the second set by 25-23.  A very tense moment was the one by equal result 21-21, but the players around head coach Miroslav Cada managed to make the set score 1-1.
•    The second set seemed to have motivated the home squad at highest. Fenerbahçe’s players started the third part of the match with fast play and entered the first technical timeout, leading by 8-5.  After the break Fenerbahçe continued to score point after point and made a huge point- difference by 16-5. Since the Turkish side hadn’t any big problems in this set, they won it by  25-13.
•    There were some great rallies in the fourth set, but Fenerbahçe was in total control of the game during all the set (8-6; 16-9).  A great finish of the match and of their participation in this year’s edition of #CLVolleyW for the players of Fenerbahçe, since they closed the set and the match by 25-10.

Eda Erdem Dündar, player of Fenerbahçe SK ISTANBUL: “Today we played our last match here in Istanbul and we won 3-1. We started really good actually. At the beginning we did it good in block and defense, but in the end of the first set we lost a bit of rhythm and concentration. But eventually we “caught” them and we won the first set and this gave us a little bit of motivation. In the second set we made some very simple errors, but in the third and the fourth set we were good on serve, defense and on block. We didn’t let them play. We controlled the rhythm of the game and we took three points. We finish this Champions League with a victory. Now we have the Playoffs of the National League and this win will help us to play in the upcoming matches of the quarterfinals vs. BURSA BBSK with the right motivation and concentration. Congratulations to my teammates!”

Polina Rahimova, player of Fenerbahçe SK ISTANBUL: “I think it is good that my team won that last match, but still we made too many mistakes. We can do better, me included. About this Champions League season – we are not satisfied. Many of our players got injured and we had to change and switch positions. We could not quite adjust to this situation. We also lost the coach, so I think our not-so-good performance this year is due to all these things. I am sad, but let’s hope we can do better in the next edition of the competition.”

Dinamo KAZAN (RUS) vs. Maritza PLOVDIV (BUL) 3-1 (25-23, 21-25, 25-15, 25-6)

•     Despite the fact that his match had no value for the remainder of the competition, both teams took to the court with the strongest line-ups.
•     The first set seemed to be a "catch-up" game: Dinamo KAZAN edged ahead at 9-6; the Bulgarian team caught up - 11-12; a rush of the Russian team - 16-12; and the Bulgarian chasing up again - 21-21; another rush culminated in a 25-23 victory for Dinamo.
•     The second set was a close affair too; only after the second technical timeout Dinamo KAZAN edged ahead - 20-15, but the Bulgarians managed to catch up and evened the score in sets.
•     The match between the leaders and the outsiders in Pool C took an unexpected turn - 9-10, but then Irina Voronkova restored the supremacy of Dinamo KAZAN with her powerful serves.
•    In the fourth set, Dinamo KAZAN was in full swing; the Russian team was completely dominating and finished both the set and the game with a commanding victory.

Irina Voronkova, player of Dinamo KAZAN: “They would better not piss me off! Indeed, at the beginning of the match we failed - we showed a poor game without any enthusiasm. But after losing the second set, we got really angry. Personally I was in a rage! I was so angry at myself and at my opponent. How dare they beat us in the second set?! They'd better not mess with us!”

Lora Kitipova, player of Maritza PLOVDIV: “This match was not crucial for us, so we played with ease and were quite successful in the beginning. But then, Dinamo KAZAN showed us their high class - they would simply not let us play.”

Chemik POLICE (POL) vs. Vizura RUMA (SRB) 3-2 (22-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-19, 19-17)

•    The reigning Polish national champions claimed a 3-2 home victory to stay in contention for a spot in the Playoffs 6 but this result did not count anymore after Volero stormed to a 3-0 home win in their Pool A matchup with CSM Volei Alba BLAJ.
•    Malwina Smarzek scored as many as 26 points for the home side as Serbia’s rising stars Katarina Lazovic and Sara Lozo recorded 20 for the visitors.
•    Chemik POLICE finished their campaign on a 4-2 win-loss record, having lost only to Pool leaders Dinamo KAZAN in the group.

Dinamo MOSCOW (RUS) vs. Grot Budowlani LODZ (POL) 3-0 (25-12, 25-13, 25-20)

•    Dinamo MOSCOW were out of contention for a spot in the Playoffs, but determined to finish the competition in the best possible way. They managed to do so, claiming a straight 3-0 win over Grot Budowlani LODZ.
•    With this win Dinamo secured a second victory the group, which puts them in the final third position in Pool D.
•    For the very first time in this year’s edition of the #CLVolleyW, the head coach of Dinamo Moscow – Zoran Terzic, could rely on all players on the roster apart from the still injured Daria Stolyarova.
•     Due to the bad weather conditions in Moscow, there were less spectators than usually. The temperature outside was -22 when the match finished.
•    Nataliya Goncharova from Dinamo MOSCOW was named Best Player of the Match, having scored 23 points.
•    Goncharova also became Best Spiker with 19 winning spikes and Best Blocker with three kill blocks, as many as those scored by Irina Fetisova and Agnieszka Kakolewska.
•    Julia Twardowska from Grot Budowlani LODZ was the Beast Receiver in the match with 34% perfect reception.

Nataliya Goncharova, player of Dinamo MOSCOW: “We are pleased with the result and with the win. Unfortunately, this match wasn’t of a major importance for us to qualify to the next phase, since we would have finished anyway in third place. We will try harder next year.”

Katja Grobelna, player of Grot Budowlani LODZ: “We lost 3-0 in our last game in the Champions League. I don’t think that this was a good game for us. We have to work on a lot of things and this whole Champions League experience taught us a lot and will help us identify which things we have to work more on in order to improve. All the matches in the Champions League were important in terms of the experience we gained and this we can use in our next games in the Polish League.”

Galatasaray SK ISTANBUL (TUR) vs. VakifBank ISTANBUL (TUR) 1-3 (21-25, 22-25, 25-22, 24-26)

•    VakifBank completed a clean sweep of their matches in Pool D, with Galatasaray settling for second place to progress to the Playoffs 6 as well.
•    Galatasaray claimed a small advantage in the early stages of the first set, which they kept up to 14-12; however, VakifBank showed their quality after the second technical time-out, as they scored a few blocks and recorded a 25-21 win, courtesy of as many as four blocks and seven points from their Chinese star Zhu Ting.
•    VakifBank stormed to an 8-3 lead in the second set and widened it further at the second technical break (16-10); Galatasaray helped with many service errors and even though the hosts put up a fight, they lost the set 22-25. This way, VakifBank made sure they would finish first in the pool. Zhu added another eight points to her tally as Neslihan Demir Güler scored six times for Galatasaray.
•    It was a close game in the third set almost all the way from start to end; Galatasaray scored three times in a row shortly after the second technical time-out and VakifBank coach Giovanni Guidetti asked for a time-out. It did not change the course of the game as the hosts hold on to a 25-22 win with Neslihan and Dobriana Rabadzhieva scoring five points apiece in the set.
•    Galatasaray could not preserve a six-point lead in the fourth set (15-9) and VakifBank levelled the count at 19-all. VakifBank emerged victorious after a close fight (26-24) to secure their sixth straight victory in the pool.

Ataman Güneyligil, head coach of Galatasaray: “We really wanted to win the match 3-0 or 3-1. However, we could not show our best performance and did not use our chances in the first couple of sets. In the third and fourth sets, on the other hand, we responded well but it was not enough for us. At least we qualified for the next phase and our goal now is to make it to the Final Four.”

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News nr. 27 of 100
01/03/2018 13:00:00
Zenit KAZAN and CSM Volei Alba BLAJ to host CL Final Fours
27/02/2018 09:38:00
Two eagerly anticipated derbies to decide top spots in #CLVolleyW Pools B and D

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