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31/01/2018 22:42
Lokomotiv, Zenit, PERUGIA and ‘Häfler’ through to Playoffs 12 after fourth straight win
2018 CEV Volleyball Champions League - Men

Luxembourg, January 31, 2018. On Wednesday, Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK became the first team to progress to the Playoffs 12 of the 2018 CEV Volleyball Champions League – Men after recording a fourth victory in as many matches they have contested in Pool C this far. Lokomotiv beat CHAUMONT VB 52 Haute Marne for the second time in two weeks, this time doing so in four sets. Zenit KAZAN, VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN and Sir Colussi Sicoma PERUGIA emulated Lokomotiv later in the evening as they all recorded a fourth straight win in their pool as well to secure their spot in the Playoff round. As for the ‘Match of the Week’, almost 10,000 fans witnessed hosts PGE Skra BELCHATOW claim a 3-1 win over Dinamo MOSCOW to remain in contention for a spot in the next stage of the competition. 

Fenerbahce SK ISTANBUL (TUR) vs. Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA (ITA) 0-3 (20-25, 19-25, 18-25)

•    Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA claimed their third win in four matches they have played in Pool A this far.
•    The visitors from Italy soon claimed an early lead in the opening set (8-4) and they extended it to five points (16-11) before their overall solid performance resulted in a 25-20 win.

•    CIVITANOVA soared to an 8-5 early in the second set before Fenerbahce drew level at 12-all. However, Lube broke away shortly afterwards (16-13) and comfortably took the set 25-19.
•    History repeated itself in the third set with Lube leading the way (8-7) and sealing a 3-0 victory in the end.

Dragan Stankovic, team captain of Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA: “It was an important match for us – we played this game only three days after losing the final of the Italian national cup. We came here to win and caught a good start to the match. It was important to start each set in the best way and to put pressure on Fenerbahce.” 

Sir Colussi Sicoma PERUGIA (ITA) vs. Knack ROESELARE (BEL) 3-0 (25-16, 25-22, 25-17)

•    Another three-point victory for PERUGIA to cement their leadership in Pool A and secure their progression to the Playoff round.  
•    This was a great match for Alexander Berger, who played from the beginning of the game and chipped in with 14 points.
•    The end of the second set was crucial for PERUGIA. Trailing 21-22, the hosts managed to pull out a series of four straight points, including two aces by Aaron Russell.
•    The last one to raise the white flag on the Belgian side was their opposite Hendrik Tuerlinckx, who scored a total of 17 points.
•    More than 3,000 people attended the match at PalaEvangelisti, also to celebrate their team’s recent success in the Italian national cup.

Alexander Berger, player of Sir Colussi Sicoma PERUGIA: “This game was very difficult because we did not have so much time between the finals of Coppa Italia and today’s match. We knew we had to win this match if we want to finish first in the pool. We did a good job, I think.”

Hendrik Tuerlinckx, player of Knack ROESELARE: “We were not good enough. PERUGIA are in full swing, they just won the national cup, and you could see they have a lot of confidence. At home we could do something more, but today we were just not good enough.”

VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN (GER) vs. PAOK THESSALONIKI (GRE) 3-0 (25-22, 25-17, 25-18)

•    ZF Arena is a fortress that none can capture this season. VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN scored the third 3-0 victory in a row at home in this CEV Champions League campaign.
•    As many as 2,290 spectators went to see the game between FRIEDRICHSHAFEN and PAOK THESSALONIKI, 120 of them fans of the Greek team. This is a new attendance record for FRIEDRICHSHAFEN in this Champions League season.
•    The “German Greek” was on fire. Athanasios Protopsaltis seized the night to be the top scorer with 14 points for VfB FRIEDRICHSHASFEN. On the Greek side, Nikolay Uchikov scored 12 times.
•    The Häfler have made it to the next round. Now they focus on the remaining games against Ford Store Levoranta SASTAMALA and Halkbank ANKARA in an effort to top Pool B after six games.
•    Still unbeaten this season. VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN won their 23rd game in a row by combining Champions League, German Supercup, German cup and national championship.

Simon Tischer, captain of VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN: “I am proud of the team, but not very proud. There are still things to improve. But the team did a very good job tonight and we are very glad that we have already made it to the next round.”

Athanasios Terzis, player of PAOK THESSALONIKI: “VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN was the better team tonight. We tried to do better but we could not. I really want to thank our fans who cheered for us like crazy. They made it feel like a home game.”

PGE Skra BELCHATOW (POL) vs. Dinamo MOSCOW (RUS) 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 25-22, 25-23)

•    PGE Skra BELCHATOW defeated Dinamo MOSCOW to move closer to the top of the standing in Pool C. The Polish powerhouse never failed to make it through the group stage in Europe’s elite club competition and this win may become crucial to maintain their perfect record.
•    The ‘Match of the Week’ did not disappoint nearly 10,000 spectators in attendance at Atlas Arena in Lodz and the viewers of the live streaming. After three sets full of emotions, with the score remaining close until the last point, PGE Skra BELCHATOW delivered a great performance in the fourth set, which became a real fiesta for all the black-and-yellow fans.
•    Mariusz Wlazly was the home team hero once again, scoring 24 points and killing an amazing number of 17 attacks out of 32. The PGE Skra captain took a lot of responsibility, killing many counter-attacks and adding four blocks to his personal tally. The opposition blocked Wlazly only one time (sic!) and he did not miss any of his attacks.
•    Bartosz Bednorz gave his captain great support from the left wing, scoring 17 points, and Srecko Lisinac added 10 from the middle. The second setter of PGE Skra, Marcin Janusz, proved once again to be a valuable backup for the injured Grzegorz Lomacz, doing a great job in his first such important match in this competition. On the other side of the net, Sergey Antipkin did not manage to put his colleagues on such a high level.
•    Pavel Kruglov scored 15 points for Dinamo MOSCOW, while Alexander Markin added 12, but the attack percentage of the latter was much higher, i.e. 56% vs. 39%. Kruglov, Markin and Alexey Ostapenko did a good job to keep the fourth-ranked team of the Russian national league in play, scoring 12 points in the second set.

“We experienced many problems in this match, and we did not feel well physically. We showed everything we could, but it was not enough. We could not find our rhythm of play, we did not have a good connection with our second setter,” stated Dick Kooy, who left the court for Yury Berezhko in the third and from the beginning of the fourth set.

“We played one of the best matches of the season. I am happy we stayed united throughout the whole match, each player put something to that win and gave the right support to his colleagues. It was not an easy win as we were forced to come from behind many times, but finally we managed to win and it will give us a lot of confidence in the coming weeks,” said home star Mariusz Wlazly.

“We broke Dinamo in the third set, while trailing 8-12 and starting to serve very well, adding blocks and spectacular counter-attacks. It was the crucial moment of the game. We received great support from the fans in Lodz, it was amazing,” summed up PGE Skra mentor Roberto Piazza.

Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK (RUS) vs. CHAUMONT VB 52 Haute Marne (FRA) 3-1 (23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-18)

•    Lokomotiv and CHAUMONT played for the provisional leadership in Pool C.
•    The roster of Lokomotiv for this match included three setters – but their latest addition Sergei Andrievskii eventually never took to the court.
•    CHAUMONT VB 52 Haute Marne claimed a very close first set by cashing their first set ball.
•    György Grozer claimed two set balls for Lokomotiv at the end of the second set and the hosts sealed a 25-22 win with a powerful attack by Sergey Savin.
•    Lokomotiv had a comfortable advantage at the second technical time-out of the third set (16-11) and after an ace by Arslan Eksi they moved the score to 23-16, practically closing the set in their favour.
•    The fourth set was a close affair most of the time but Lokomotiv emerged victorious to secure their fourth straight victory and with it a spot in the Playoffs.
•    Grozer top scored with 29 points, followed by Savin (11). Stéphen Boyer recorded 16 points for the visitors.
•    Lokomotiv will play their next match in Pool C mid-February in Poland against PGE Skra BELCHATOW.

Plamen Konstantinov, head coach of Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK: “The main goal that the team had to achieve was fulfilled. It was imperative to win this match in order to secure our spot in the Playoffs. It is not that everything went fine, as we had problems in reception and at blocking as well. In short, there were elements that I am not particularly satisfied with but I am satisfied with the result.”

Mikhail Shcherbakov, player of Lokomotiv: “Yes, we lost the first set, however you cannot always perform at the top. We made many mistakes and we eventually gave the set away. It is the one making fewer mistakes that wins; that is the law in Volleyball. We are satisfied with the result, but no one of us is happy with the game, everyone wanted to perform better, especially in front of our home fans.”

Daniel Jansen Vandoorn, player of CHAUMONT VB 52 Haute Marne: “Lokomotiv is a very strong team. Obviously, we surprised them in the first set. Unfortunately, it did not turn out to continue the same way, as we could not keep the same high level that we showed at the beginning of the match. They were definitely stronger than us and especially in reception. Being weaker in such key elements, you cannot win against a team like Lokomotiv. We are very disappointed.”

JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel (POL) vs. Zenit KAZAN (RUS) 0-3 (24-26, 20-25, 18-25)

•    Alexey Verbov, libero of Zenit KAZAN, celebrated his 36th birthday on the day of the clash against JASTRZĘBSKI Węgiel.
•    Wilfredo Leon, outside hitter of Zenit KAZAN was the best scorer of the night, finishing the match with 15 points.
•    None of the players of JASTRZĘBSKI Węgiel recorded a double-figure number of points in this match.
•    Block was the strongest weapon of Zenit KAZAN. The Russian team scored 12 points in this element of the game.
•    More than 3,000 spectators attended the match, thus accounting for a full house. The tickets for this clash were sold out in 2.5 hours.

Patryk Strzeżek, opposite hitter of JASTRZĘBSKI Węgiel: “We couldn’t play worse than in the first match against Zenit in Kazan. We wanted to rub out the stain from that match and play good Volleyball against the reigning world champions. We did it only in the first set where small details decided about their win. Zenit is a team that does not forgive any such mistakes. For us the key will be the next match against Spacer’s TOULOUSE which we have to win by taking three points.”

Wilfredo Leon, outside hitter of Zenit KAZAN: “It was a harder match than two weeks ago in Kazan, but the most important thing is that we won it 3-0. JASTRZĘBSKI Węgiel under their new coach have some real chances of progressing to the Playoffs.”

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