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16/01/2014 22:41
Volero upsets Italy’s champions PIACENZA
2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Women

Zurich, Switzerland, January 16, 2014. Switzerland’s Volero ZÜRICH caused a small sensation on Thursday night edging Italy’s champions RebecchiNMeccanica PIACENZA in a match scheduled for the first round of the Playoffs 12 in the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Women. Volero edged the Italians 3:1 (25-18, 24-26, 26-24, and 25-19) at the end of a close match and will try to seize the night also next week in Italy in order to progress to the next stage of Europe’s elite club competition.
The teams started off nervously as they evidently wanted to show their skills but also felt the pressure for much was at stake tonight. Supported by their loud fans, the players of Volero got a small edge at the first technical time-out (8:7) and after that imposed their tempo showing good actions in defense and bringing to a close many long and spectacular rallies. PIACENZA tried their best to come back into the game but even the many substitutions called by their head coach Gianni Caprara did not chang much, and Volero cruised straight to the final 25-18.

The guests from Italy showed their best play in the opening phases of the second set but Volero did not let it go and quickly drew level at 4 all. Once again the teams were playing with much focus and determination, with long rallies delighting the Swiss audience. This trend continued throughout the whole set with Volero calling for the second technical time-out at 16:15; however, after the break PIACENZA started spiking with much more power and moved up 20:22. The head coach of Volero, Dragutin Baltic, stopped the game once more, his girls responded by scoring two points but after a dramatic final rush it was PIACENZA that got the upper hand with some more phenomenal actions (24-26).

PIACENZA showed that same momentum also in the third set where Volero found it difficult to keep their pace and at this stage the ambiance got really “hot” at the Saalsporthalle. This way the Swiss champions could respond to the Italian storm leading the way 8:6 at the first technical time-out before PIACENZA clawed back to make it 8:8. Volero fired back and got a margin of three points which was enough to force coach Caprara into a time-out. Even though the Italians got back on track and were 15:16 up at the second mandatory stop, boosted by the euphoric audience Volero cashed their second chance to win this set (26-24).

Volero did not slow down also in the fourth set opening with a 5-3 run and set the pace 8:5 as the Swiss side exploited some mistakes by the Italians behind the service line. Volero even got a six-point lead which was enough for the home heroines to take a little breath. At this stage of the game Volero was clearly the commanding force but relaxed a way too early with the Italians attempting a late comeback. Volero showed good composure and at 23:19 an ace by Inès Granvorka claimed a series of match balls for the home side that eventually sent the crowd into heaven with their 3:1 victory (25-19).  

Dutchwoman Robin de Kruijf who top scored for PIACENZA with 13 points said: “It was a tough game and we struggled more with our own play than with Volero. We were never able to play at the level we are used to. However, it is not over yet and we will certainly play much better next week before our fans.”
“We did not play our best tonight but this is a trend we have seen also in the national league” commented Gianni Caprara. “We have to work on our game and improve on our consistency.”

US American and Volero setter Courtney Thompson was very happy: “We were really excited with the opportunity to play PIACENZA in the Playoffs 12. We have been working hard since the start of the season to get this chance and experience such a moment. It was really fun to play today. The crowd was absolutely amazing and the fans pushed us to this victory.”

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the match

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