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21/01/2015 23:49
RC CANNES squeezes into playoffs after five-set scare against Partizan
2015 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Women

Cannes, France, January 21, 2015.  RC CANNES secured its playoff spot in the 2015 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Women after achieving its fourth victory in Pool E.  However, the French champion had to survive a very tight battle with visiting Serbian team of Partizan Vizura BEOGRAD to emerge with the victory with a final 3:2 (23-25, 25-13, 25-22, 21-25, 18-16).  This result speaks for itself - the young Serbian team offered a remarkable resistance and confirmed all its talent while CANNES struggled to find a suitable and consistent game strategy.

The whole first set was very balanced, no team taking a lead of more than 2 points until 21-18 in favour of Partizan Vizura, which obliged the coach of the French team to request a time-out.  This interruption, however, did not stop the Serbian team’s march forward on the way to the final 25-23.  The young Serbians played their game very smoothly and relaxed, without any unnecessary pressure on their shoulders.  During this set, the Riviera girls scored most of the points - the winning ones as well as the losing ones, making errors particularly from the serving line and also when spiking.

CANNES’ start in the second set was much stronger, thanks to the better quality of serving, particularly from Serbian-born, now French, Sanja Bursac, which put the Serbian reception in trouble, and to the much better blocking - 7 kill blocks in this set vs. only 1 in the first set.  The French champion rapidly took a 3-point lead for 8-5, which it increased throughout the set towards the final 25-13, despite Partizan’s remarkably well organized defence.

Yan Fang continued to inject new blood, Americans Juliann Faucette as opposite and Carly Wopat as middle blocker, to bring further variety in the French team’s spiking game - 8-4 at the first time-out of the third set.  But the young Serbians kept fighting strong to close the gap for 10-10 and to reach the second time-out with a 1-point lead.  RC CANNES finally pulled it through in the money time, thanks to Juliann Faucette, to win by 25-22.

The beginning of the fourth set was a carbon copy of the third - 11-6 to CANNES, followed by a strong comeback for the team from Belgrade, which had a 9-2 run to take a 2-point lead at the second time-out.  Despite two new substitutions, Alexandra Lazic and Mareen Apitz, the Balkan team opened a 4-point gap at 19-15, which it kept until the end - 25-21.

“Ashes to ashes” was the motto of the tie-breaker with both teams playing at their best, committing virtually no mistakes. CANNES finally pulled it off in overtime for 18-16 after long suspense.

Liljana Rankovic with 22 points for Partizan Vizura and Sara Lozo with 21 were the best scorers of the match.

Click here for more details including match statistics.

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