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13/02/2018 23:37
PAOK and Skra delight home crowds as #CLVolleyM resumes with fifth round
2018 CEV Volleyball Champions League - Men

Luxembourg, February 13, 2018. PAOK THESSALONIKI and PGE Skra BELCHATOW made full use of the home-court advantage as the pool stage of the 2018 CEV Volleyball Champions League – Men resumed on Tuesday night. The Greek national champions stormed to a 3-1 victory over Halkbank ANKARA to remain in contention for a spot in the Playoffs as PGE Skra routed Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK in three sets to extend their winning streak in Pool C to three matches in a row. Lokomotiv, on the other hand, suffered their first setback in Europe’s elite club competition this season, with their superstar György Grozer leaving the court after the first set and Nikolay Pavlov taking his spot. In Pool A, Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA beat Knack ROESELARE in three sets to fight with their compatriots Sir Colussi Sicoma PERUGIA for first place in the group once these two teams cross swords in about ten days.

Knack ROESELARE (BEL) vs. Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA (ITA) 0-3 (16-25, 23-25, 23-25)

•    Knack ROESELARE and Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA played their tenth match in the history of the Champions League. These teams had previously locked horns in the 2016, 2009 and 2007 editions (in 2007 they crossed their ways in the first round and in the Playoffs 6 as well). In all these years, Lube had never been able to claim a victory at Schiervelde Sports Hall.
•    Knack made a terrible start with consecutive mistakes in attack and serve. In no time, the visitors took the lead with 8-2 and 11-3. The home team started to score their first points with an ace from Arno Van de Velde and attacks from Ruben Van Hirtum. However, Lube kept control over the set with Tsvetan Sokolov and Taylor Sander as their best scorers. Finally, the Italians needed four set balls to finish the first set 25-16.
•    Set two brought a more balanced game with 8-7, 14-16 and 20-21 as intermediate scores. Every time Knack Volley could force a small gap, Lube, or read Osmany Juantorena, levelled the score again in no time. Sander and Juantorena finished the set for the visitors (25-23).
•    Set three looked like a copy of set two. Both teams fought for every ball and the audience at Schiervelde got to enjoy a nerve-wracking spectacle delivered by both teams, with spectacular saves from both outstanding liberos, Stijn Dejonckheere for Knack Volley and Jenia Grebennikov for CIVITANOVA. The tension stayed high until the end but finally Lube finished the set and the match with 25-23.
•    Matthijs Verhanneman (11 points) and Tsvetan Sokolov / Taylor Sander (13 apiece) top scored for Knack and Lube, respectively.

Micah Christenson, setter of Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA: “We expected a difficult match here. Up to now, we were not able to win at Schiervelde. Even not two years ago when we lost 3-1. Knack ROESELARE have a very good defence and the home crowd is bringing a real atmosphere. Luckily, we made a very good start in the first set. After winning that first set, we kept control over the match. Now we are looking ahead for the last match in Pool A in which we will go for the victory against PERUGIA.”

Angel Trinidad de Haro, setter of Knack ROESELARE: “Indeed, our start was terrible. It made it impossible for us to fight back after such a backlog. Even in the other sets, we felt that every small mistake that we made had an immediate effect. Now, we will have to concentrate on our last home match against Fenerbahce SK ISTANBUL to keep our chances to proceed to the next round.”

PAOK THESSALONIKI (GRE) vs. Halkbank ANKARA (TUR) 3-1 (25-16, 16-25, 26-24, 25-20)

•    PAOK THESSALONIKI celebrated their first victory in this edition of the CEV Volleyball Champions League - Men, beating Halkbank ANKARA 3-1 and keeping alive their hope to qualify to the Playoffs as one of the best third-placed teams across all pools.
•    Despite having setter Matthias Valkiers on the bench due to injury and starting with Athanasios Terzis instead, the Black-and-Whites managed to come from behind (6-10) and win the first set in an emphatic fashion.
•    The visitors took a slight advantage and got four points ahead right after the first technical time-out (10-6), but Ioannis Takouridis stroke back: three consecutive ace points by the Greek middle blocker made it even (12-12) and PAOK’s rally extended to a 7-0 (15-12) series.
•    Halkbank ANKARA continued having serious problems in reception and the local side stretched their advantage to seven points (20-13) and ultimately nine (24-15) before the final score stood at 25-16.
•    The second set had a completely different storyline, as the Turkish team learned from their mistakes. They once again made it first to the technical time-out (8-5) and took it from there to expand their lead to six points (14-8), giving PAOK no chance to fight back and winning easily 25-16.
•    The third set was the most suspenseful and critical one, as the lead changed hands quite a few times, before it all came down to the final points: with a 22-22 tie on the scoreboard, Burutay Subasi delivered two kills in a row (24-22), but then was blocked by Terzis (24-24). Rafail Koumentakis made it 25-24 for PAOK and Subasi himself had another chance, however he missed target and the set was over (26-24).
•    The Turkish side reacted in a positive way after the loss and caught a flying start into set four, nevertheless it was far from over when they took a 10-5 lead. Greece’s national champions found the way to put extra pressure with their serves before they drew level (12-12) and got ahead by three (18-15). In spite of the visitors’ efforts, Takouridis delivered an important long-fought point (23-19) and Lucas Loh’s missed spike put an end to the match (25-20), much to the joy of the local fans who attended the match at “PAOK Sports Arena”.
•    Legendary Cuban Freddy Brooks, former player and assistant coach of PAOK, attended the match along with his pupils at Kronos Academy, among many other spectators.

Daniele Ricci, head coach of PAOK THESSALONIKI: “We played a good match, against a very strong rival with a budget which is ten times bigger than ours. Maybe it was our best performance so far this season. We managed to play for a long time at a high level. Not at a perfect level, but quite well anyway. This is very important for us, because you cannot win such teams with just 30 minutes of good Volleyball, as we saw on our last home match against VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN. Tonight we did not make too many mistakes and we defended quite well. These are two elements which always are a problem for our team, because of our style of play, but this time we managed to pay more attention and take advantage of ANKARA’s errors.”

Slobodan Kovac, coach of Halkbank ANKARA: “My players didn’t show the best of their Volleyball tonight. Maybe we were a little relaxed after our previous matches in the Turkish league. PAOK played better than us, especially in attack and high ball.”

PGE Skra BELCHATOW (POL) vs. Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK (RUS) 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-19)

•    “If you want to fall in love with Volleyball, when Valentine’s Day is coming, there is no better place than Energia Hall and no better team to love than PGE Skra,” stated emphatically the President of PGE Skra BELCHATOW Konrad Piechocki, after his team defeated Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK 3-0.
•    It was the first defeat of the season for the Russian powerhouse in Pool C of the 2018 CEV Volleyball Champions League – Men.  
•    The service was the key for the home team, as PGE Skra’s six players recorded a terrific number of 13 aces. The home team added seven blocks to their tally, while Lokomotiv recorded four aces and just two blocks.
•    Srecko Lisinac was the best scorer of the night with 15 points (12/16 in attack). Mariusz Wlazly added 11 and Bartosz Bednorz 10.
•    György Grozer killed only three of seven attacks and did not come back to the court after the first set, with Nikolay Pavlov (9/13) taking his spot and the German superstar enjoying some rest. The second opposite of Lokomotiv did not receive much support from the rest of the team.
•    PGE Skra began this year’s campaign with two losses but have now claimed three wins in a row. Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK, on the other hand, had lost only three sets in four matches before their visit to Belchatow.

“We are extremely disappointed. It was the same match like the reverse fixture in Novosibirsk, but the roles changed,” stated Grozer, who had previously played many times at Energia Hall with Asseco Resovia RZESZOW. “When I last visited Belchatow, we won the Polish national league but today it was different. PGE Skra played on a very high level in all elements of the game and we could not cause any problems to the home team. They deserved this victory.”

His coach Plamen Konstantinov was another disappointed man, and he knows Belchatow very well too since he played here with JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel. “It was another painful defeat for me here. I am not happy but such matches happen. Our position in the pool is still good.”

Konstantinov played versus Mariusz Wlazly and Michal Winiarski in the 2006 World Championships semi-final more than ten years ago in Japan and suffered a setback there as well. Winiarski is currently the assistant coach of PGE Skra. “We motivated our players all the time since the weekend. We were extremely focused and we believed in ourselves; we knew exactly what to do and we did it. The service was the key, but not the only one. We prepared our players for another small final and they won it,” said the former outside hitter of PGE Skra.

“Everything is in our hands; we came back and have good chances to qualify to the Playoffs. We will have another small final in two weeks’ time in France,” Winiarski concluded referring to the last match in the pool with CHAUMONT VB 52 Haute Marne.

Spacer’s TOULOUSE VB (FRA) vs. JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel (POL) 2-3 (17-25, 22-25, 25-23, 25-23, 12-15)

•    The Spacer’s TOULOUSE played their third tiebreak in 10 days and eventually claimed their first point in Pool D despite losing to their visitors from Poland.
•    JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel managed to open the match in emphatic style by winning the first set by 25-17. They did so especially with their good blocks and serves. Spacer’s TOULOUSE middle blocker Barthélémy Chinenyeze and captain Diogenes Zagonel were able to close the deficit a bit at 14-18 but the visitors could count on their excellent setter Lukas Kampa to pull out a 25-17 win.
•    The second set followed a similar plot with Chinenyeze and Luka Basic fighting to keep the home side in contention. Basic moved the score to 21-all with two consecutive blocks but JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel were able to seal a 25-22 win.
•    The hosts fought their way back in the third and fourth sets, levelling the match.
•    The visitors claimed an early two-point lead in the fifth set and were able to hold on to it to secure a 3-2 victory.

Diogenes Zagonel, captain of Spacer’s TOULOUSE: “We are lucky to be able to play such a match and to measure ourselves against such teams. For me, it is a dream come true and everyone needs to take advantage of these moments and enjoy them to the fullest. The match against the Polish team allowed us to play free from any pressure. I am proud of my team that fought up until the end of the tiebreak.”

Miguel Angel de Amo, setter of Spacer’s TOULOUSE: “There was a lot of fighting and quality Volleyball without giving up on our part. It was good for our fans who have been following us since the beginning of the season despite our disappointing results. We fought all the way until the tiebreak that we hoped to win.”
Ferdinando De Giorgi, head coach of JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel: “The staff and I advised the team that we needed to have quality in our play. Today we were not able to maintain this quality from start to end, and the match became more complicated because TOULOUSE played with courage and never gave up. Now we are waiting for the result of the match between the BR Volleys and Zenit KAZAN and we are preparing for a “final” when we play our last match in the pool in Berlin in ten days.”  

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News nr. 4139 of 22893
14/02/2018 09:00:00
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13/02/2018 19:55:00
Asseco Resovia feel ready for CEV Cup quarterfinals
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