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12/04/2015 00:29
Dinamo KRASNODAR celebrate second European trophy to further cement Russian rule
2015 CEV Volleyball Cup - Women

Sopot, Poland, April 11, 2015. Dinamo KRASNODAR completed a perfect night for Russia’s Volleyball family as the team captained by Liubov Shashkova claimed their second European trophy in history at the Ergo Arena in Gdansk-Sopot. Though they lost the return match with the home heroines of PGE Atom Trefl SOPOT by 1:3 (24-26, 25-18, 24-26, 22-25), they were able to regroup and seize the golden set that followed (15-10) to emulate their countrymen of Dinamo MOSCOW and win this year’s CEV Volleyball Cup – Women. 6,000 fans were in attendance to contribute a great atmosphere as the visitors from Russia were anchored by their superstar Tatiana Kosheleva who finished the game on 37 points (!) to claim also the award for the Most Valuable Player of the finals.

It was Dinamo’s second attempt at winning Europe’s second most prestigious club competition as in 2011 they had lost a close final to Italy’s Chateau d’Ax URBINO. Dinamo add a second European cup to their showcase as two years ago they had already claimed the title of the CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup. They also account for Russia’s third triumph in this year’s European Cups following Zenit KAZAN’s victory at the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men finals in Berlin two weeks ago and the golden set win of Dinamo MOSCOW earlier in the evening in the final act of the men’s CEV Volleyball Cup.

The Atomic Girls were determined to fight back from their 0-3 loss from last Tuesday in Russia but their opponents were off to a flying start leading by 5:1 in the opening set. Home mentor Lorenzo Micelli stopped the game but this did not distract the Russian players who scored another two straight points once the actions resumed after the break. Liubov Shashkova was just unstoppable and she helped Dinamo move the score up to 11:3. The hosts finally woke up and helped by Charlotte Leys, Zuzanna Efimienko and Katarzyna Zaroslinska they finally found their way into the game. They slowly but surely cut their deficit and the tie was almost there (13:14) after an ace by Falyn Fonoimoana. Atom Trefl had stabilised their defence and eventually levelled the score at 14 all. The teams then exchanged the lead back and forth and after a Russian time-out at 20:19, the home heroines imposed their rule whilst the Russians started making mistakes. Atom got up by four points at 23:19 but it was far from being over since Dinamo clawed back and made it 23 all. A superb block by Efimienko made the audience erupt and a fantastic kill by Fonoimoana closed the set at 26-24 for the Atomic Girls.

The score remained close in the early stages of the second set with Zaroslinska and Kosheleva being the main scoring forces for Atom Trefl and Dinamo, respectively. Kosheleva continued to perform well and a Russian block made it 9:4 for the visitors. At this stage Dinamo seemed to have control over the game and extended their lead to 14:7. Kosheleva was just on a class of her own and the Atomic Girls could not find a way to stop her. As their defence did not work, the chances for the home side to counterattack with some success were evidently low and even though Zaroslinska and Izabela Belcik tried their best to minimise the gap, Dinamo was still up by 18:15. Though they were playing with all their hearts, the Atomic Girls did not find a way out of this difficult situation and the set ended at 25-18 for the Russian armada.

The third set followed a similar plot with both teams fighting for each rally and Dinamo knowing that they ‘only’ needed to win one more set to secure their triumph in the competition. However, Atom Trefl found back their best game with the help of Zaroslinska and Klaudia Kaczorowska, with Leys and Brittnee Cooper also performing well. This way SOPOT got up by the narrowest margin at the first technical time-out and after the break widened their lead to 11:8. The Russians fought back to 11 all but the home fans got more to celebrate with two spectacular attacks by Fonoimoana and a terrific block by Efimienko. However, it was still Dinamo to set the pace after the second technical time-out (18:16) and that lead was still there approaching the final stretch (21:19). Right at this moment, Dinamo’s players lost focus and they provided SOPOT with an opportunity to go up by 2:1. Russian mistakes helped the Atomic Girls stay alive as they wrapped this up at 26-24.

The home heroines had to win the fourth stanza as well if they wanted to go for the golden set and they continued to play with courage and determination. The score remained tight in the early stages of the fourth set before Dinamo edged ahead 12:10. Kosheleva and Shashkova were once again the main weapons that the Russian team could rely on but good serving contributed by home captain Belcik turned the score around with SOPOT leading by two points at the second technical time-out. Kaczorowska also continued to perform well at blocking and with two aces she propelled a 20:17 lead for the home side. The Atomic Girls continued to deliver a superb performance (23:20) and even though Dinamo attempted a late comeback surviving to two match balls, SOPOT ended it all at 25-23.

The eventual winners of this year’s CEV Volleyball Cup were to be decided at the golden set where Anna Barbara Miros (Podolec) set the pace for the home side. Kosheleva responded for Dinamo and home mentor Micelli asked for a time-out as his side was trailing by 3:5. Dinamo showed their determination again and again to widen their lead to 10:5 on some points scored by Shashkova and Marina Maryukhnich. SOPOT cut their gap to 10:7 and 11:10 but the final rallies belonged to the Russian visitors. Their blocks and spikes were too much to stand for the Atomic Girls and the golden set ended at 15-10 for the visitors who could start their party.

Post-match statements

The team captain of PGE Atom Trefl SOPOT, Izabela Belcik, said: “I would like to thank everyone for the great support that we received tonight. It was amazing to see so many fans with us and it truly helped us tonight. We all knew from the very beginning that tonight’s match was going to be extremely hard for us. We were not in a comfortable situation after suffering such heavy loss in Russia. We had to control the score from the very start and it took us a lot of strength and energy. We are truly happy with winning against such a great team as Dinamo KRASNODAR. But it is obvious that we cannot enjoy the night fully after losing the golden set. We simply could not endure the fire coming from the Russian side of the net. Even though we managed to come back to 11:10, it was Dinamo who seized the victory in the end.”

The team captain of Dinamo KRASNODAR, Liubov Shashkova, said: “I would like to thank our opponents. They played really well and it was a true show of Volleyball what we got to enjoy tonight. We were prepared for their skills but we did not expect they would perform so well. I am also very proud of my teammates. We managed to achieve the goal we had set out and we are evidently pleased with that.”

The home mentor Lorenzo Micelli said: “I would like to congratulate our opponent as well as the fans for their great support. Dinamo have truly a lot of players who can come to the field and make the difference. It’s a truly professional Volleyball team. We lost but honestly when I started working with this team in May last year I could only dream of making the CEV Cup finals. We lost but we are not the losers in the end. We lost only at the golden set and it’s a great achievement for me as a coach and for the whole team as well.”

Russian mentor Konstantin Ushakov concluded: “I would like to thank the Polish club for the great organisation of this final. They did a very good job. I really enjoyed the atmosphere here. And we all did. What more can I say? I am extremely satisfied with the win. It was a great match, a true display of top Volleyball and a great performance for the audience. I am happy that I saw a real fight on both sides. And I am even happier that we could be just a little bit better than the hosts in the end.”

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the match

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11/04/2015 21:53:00
Dinamo MOSCOW win clash of the giants with TRENTINO to celebrate second CEV Cup title in four years
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