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02/04/2014 14:20
Red-clad fans cheer Mate Asher on to the Israeli title
News from the national federations

Akko, Israel, April 2, 2014.  Israeli volleyball enjoyed one of its most unforgettable and exciting weeks that climaxed on the Saturday night of March 29 with thousands of red-clad fans urging their team to victory as the home side Mate Asher AKKO defeated Maccabi TEL AVIV to take their 11th league championship. The win gave the northerners a season double after they won the Israeli Cup earlier this year.

With the matches tied at 1-1 after Maccabi TEL AVIV’s victory just days before, the Ne’eman sports hall was decked in the team’s colors and packed with some 2,000 cheering fans who witnessed an exciting finish. Mate Asher took the first set by 25-17 but Maccabi TEL AVIV came back in the second – 26-24 to tie the sets at 1:1.  Mate Asher sailed through the third to take it by 25-14, but it was the fourth set that was to be the decider. It was only after 4 match points that Mate Asher was able to clinch victory by 28:26.

Leonardo Dos Santos was Mate Asher’s top scorer with 29 points, followed by Alan Komel with 18 and Alexander Osokin and Salva Bachkela with 9 points each.

Victor Batista led Maccabi’s points chart with 23, Israeli national team player Guy Ben Gal scored 16, while Asaf Alkobi and Omer Danenberg scored 8 points each.

Noam Katz, who coached Mate Asher AKKO to victory, spoke emotionally after the match: “It is a wonderful feeling - I have yet to realize it is over.  This was a difficult campaign and all praise is due to Maccabi TEL AVIV for the series.  It was difficult for us to come back after losing the second match last Wednesday, but we succeeded thanks to the fans, the management and to this wonderful and holy Ne’eman sports hall.”

Maccabi TEL AVIV coach Zohar Bar Netzer praised Mate Asher for what he said was their well-deserved victory.  He was a little bitter about his team not winning, but was proud of the fact that his players gave their best.

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