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20/01/2016 19:05
Arkas IZMIR cruise to commanding win over Bulgarian youngsters
2016 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Men

Dupnitsa, Bulgaria, January 20. On Wednesday afternoon Bulgaria’s champions Marek Union-Ivkoni DUPNITSA lost their last home match in the group stage of the 2016 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men against the Turkish team of Arkas IZMIR. The visitors from Turkey cruised to a compelling 3-0 win (25-15, 25-19, 25-16) to cement their chances of reaching the Playoff stage of Europe’s elite competition.

Actually the start of the match was quite close with both teams scoring by means of their spikes and blocks. However, an ace propelled an 8-6 lead for Arkas IZMIR at the first technical time-out as Marek struggled a bit as they were missing their captain Vladimir Lobutov due to injury. He was replaced by young setter Nikolay Manchev who did his best to stand the pressure. Though the young boys of DUPNITSA showed a good performance, this was not enough to keep the pace of their opponent with Arkas IZMIR leading 16-10 at the second technical time-out. After a few mistakes made by Stanislav Velichkov, Naydenov replaced him with Angel Velkov. One of the biggest stars of the Turkish team, Frenchman Antonin Rouzier (pictured, #4), showed glimpses of his class and put the Bulgarian hosts into some real troubles. Arkas eventually took the opening set by a landslide 25-15 with Gökhan Gökgöz setting the pace with six points.

Arkas IZMIR continued their display of fine form also in the second set (8-7) and Naydenov took a time-out after a few more points scored by the guys around Canadian head coach Glenn Hoag (13-9). At this stage the Bulgarian coach decided to give some playing time to the only 18-year-old Tsvetelin Tsvetanov and with this move he asserted once more Marek’s strategy in the competition, which is to provide the local youngsters with an opportunity to play some of the best teams in Europe. This change brought more stability to the hosts’ reception and Hoag asked for a time-out at 22-18 for Arkas. The visitors regrouped after the break and cashed the second set by 25-19 fending off the resistance of the local team.

The story repeated itself in the third set where Arkas claimed a commanding 8-4 lead at the first technical break. Marek Union-Ivkoni tried their best to stand the pressure and closed in to 16-14; towards the end of the set Naydenov changed setter and Lobutov joined the actions for the first time but even his experience was enough to prevent Arkas from sealing their straight-sets win at 25-16.

“We got what we wanted so far from this adventure,” home mentor Nayden Naydenov said, “which is essentially more and valuable experience for our young players. Very soon we will turn our focus to the domestic competitions.”

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the match

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