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12/03/2015 00:05
Asseco Resovia RZESZOW claim historic Final Four ticket to set up much anticipated Polish derby with Skra in semis
2015 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Men

Rzeszow, Poland, March 11, 2015. The ultimate dream of Asseco Resovia RZESZOW came true on Wednesday night at Podpromie sports hall where the home heroes secured their ticket to the Final Four of the 2015 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men once they got up by two sets to one in their re-match with 2013 gold medal winners, Russia’s Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK, in the second round of the Playoffs 6. On March 28 Resovia will go for an all Polish derby as they will cross the ways of arch-rivals PGE Skra BELCHATOW in one of the semis taking place at the Max-Schmeling-Halle in Berlin. The match with Lokomotiv ended in a 2:3 loss for Resovia (20-25, 25-19, 25-22, 19-25, 15-17) but this did not prevent the local heroes from having their deserved party on a memorable Wednesday night.  

Resovia got the right edge last week cruising to a surprising 3:1 victory over Lokomotiv in Siberia’s largest city and so the Russians had to fight back right from the start of the re-match if they wanted to stay in contention for a spot in the Final Four. They did so by leading 8:6 at the first technical time-out of the opening set and their margin went up to five points (16:11) following a block by Oreol Camejo on Jochen Schöps and an ace by their captain Alexander Butko. Marko Ivovic then blocked Denis Zemchenok and Russell Holmes aced for Resovia to make it 17:18. However, the visitors from Russia got back on track on excellent serving by Zemchenok and Artem Volvich finished the first set at 25-20 for the 2013 gold medal winners.  

The second set started better for Resovia (3:2) but Lukas Divis restored the balance at 4 all with an ace. The first technical time-out was called at 8:7 for Lokomotiv following a block by Alexander Abrosimov but the tables were flipped around at the second with Resovia leading by 16:15 thanks to a spike by their young Bulgarian star Nikolay Penchev. The same player scored again as the actions resumed after the break and Piotr Nowakowski blocked Abrosimov to make it 19:17 for the hosts. After a couple of mistakes made by Lokomotiv, Resovia finished it off at 25-19 to be only one set away from making the Final Four.

The score remained tight in the opening phases of set 3 before Resovia scored three in a row to make it 13:11 and force Lokomotiv’s coach Andrei Voronkov into a time-out. Resovia was up by the slimmest possible margin at the second technical time-out and even though their lead had grown up to three points thanks to Jochen Schöps (20:17), Lokomotiv fought back and Volvich made it 22 all. Penchev scored the next rally for Resovia and then called for two set balls by finishing also the following point. The fans in attendance at Podpromie sports hall erupted in joy only a few seconds later as Schöps sealed the 25-22 that secured ticket to the Final Four in Berlin.  

The match did not end here: Resovia’s coach made some changes to his starting six with Paul Lotman, Lukas Tichacek, Dawid Konarski, Rafal Buszek and Dawid Dryja all joining the game. The score remained tight up to 11 all in the fourth set; Lokomotiv then scored three points in a row and this paved the way for the final 25-19 in favour of the Russians. The tie-break that followed was a dramatic one; Resovia even had a match ball but in the end Oreol Camejo scored three times in a row to bring the match to an end at 17-15 for Lokomotiv.

“We are really happy right now because our dream has finally come true,” said Resovia’s coach Andrzej Kowal. “It is something really big that two Polish teams will now meet in the semis. Now we will switch back our focus to the national league but we will soon start preparing for the Final Four.”

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the match

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