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04/05/2012 15:00
Tirana finishes domestic season by seizing Cup trophy
News from the National Federations

Tirana, Albania, May 4, 2012. Albania’s domestic season finished yesterday with the final match of the women’s national cup played at “Ramazan Njala” sports hall in the city of Durres. The ladies of Tirana TIRANA eventually rounded out their campaign with a splendid 3:2 win to edge UMB Volley in a dramatic and thrilling final game.
This is the second time, in about one week, that UMB Volley loses the last and deciding act of a domestic competition, after the Championship series of the national league resulted last week in a second consecutive crown for the players of Minatori RRESHEN.

The finals of the national cup were more than a great Volleyball fiesta with all three matches – two semifinals and the final game – ending in a 3:2. Tirana and UMB Volley had qualified for the final four by topping the charts of preliminary Pool A played this past February and were joined by the winner and runner-up from Pool B, Minatori and Teuta.
In the first semifinal UMB Volley (which stands for University Marin Barleti Volley, this is the collegiate team representing an academic institution based in Tirana) got their revenge from the finals of the national league by besting Minatori 3:2. Minatori had started off strong there claiming a 2:0 lead (25-20 and 27-25) but UMB responded by storming back and calling for a tie-break (25-21 and 25-13). This time UMB did not lose composure as it had done in the finals of the national league and eventually wrapped it up at 15-13 to advance to the final.
In the second semifinal Tirana edged the hosts of Teuta DURRES with yet another 3:2. Teuta set twice the pace of the game by claiming set 1 and 3 (26-24 and 25-20) but Tirana answered back with a double 25-16 in set 2 and 4, extending that great momentum also to the tie-break (15-7).

The final match turned into a real thriller as Tirana opened by claiming the first set (25-16) before UMB Volley went up 2:1 by seizing set 2 and 3 (27-25 and 25-22). Tirana clawed back in set 4 (25-23) before UMB Volley went up 14:11 in the tie-break. This margin was not enough to finish the game, as Tirana fought back anchored by Klonarda Nezaj who sealed two attacks and contributed two kill blocks to finish it off in favor of her side and be voted MVP of the finals. 

“I am very proud of this victory and this individual award, but this is mainly a trophy for the complete group after we got past many difficulties this season” said Nezaj. “We believed in our chances to win up to the very end of the match and this was just an incredible victory” added head coach Adrian Gorenca.

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