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04/12/2019 23:00
Straight-sets victory for Knack ROESELARE in #CLVolleyM MOTW
CEV Champions League Volley 2020 - Men

Luxembourg, December 4, 2019. The first Match of the Week of the CEV Champions League Volley 2020 - Men went to Knack ROESELARE with a straight-sets victory of the Belgian team over VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN. In the other matches, 3-0 victories for CL rookies Verva WARSZAWA Orlen Paliwa and Kuzbass KEMEROVO against, respectively, TOURS VB and Fakel NOVY URENGOY, whilst Sir Sicoma Monini PERUGIA lost one set against Benfica LISBOA. Lastly, VC Greenyard MAASEIK found the success only at the tie-break against the home team of Halkbank ANKARA after coming back from two sets down and cancelling two match balls for their opponent in set 3. 

Kuzbass KEMEROVO (RUS) vs. Fakel NOVY URENGOY (RUS) 3-0 (26-24, 25-21, 25-18)

A Champions League debut for both Kuzbass and Fakel and an outright Russian derby, this time on the European stage. Kuzbass players started the first set more focussed, with good defence and block that quickly moved the score to 5-2. At 11-7, Kuzbass’ main spiker, Victor Poletaev crash landed on the court and was replaced by Bogdan Glivenko. After that, Fakel managed to catch up with the help of Egor Kliuka’s spike streak. Both teams showed perseverance towards the end of the set with Kuzbass eventually edging it 26-24. In the second set, Dmytro Pashytskyy’s service and Yaroslav Podlesnykh’s attack moves made the difference. It was a set with plenty of long and spectacular rallies, with Kuzbass winning at 25-21. Fakel started the third set as determined as ever to remain in the fight, but Kuzbass showed a reliable blocking game taking the scoreline to 10-5 and continued to dominate thereafter. It was eventually a convincing win for the hosts as they look forward to the rest of their maiden campaign in the #CLVolleyM. Yaroslav Podlesnykh from Kuzbass was named MVP of the match.

Igor Kobzar, captain of Kuzbass KEMEROVO: “We were shocked by Victor Poletaev's trauma, he turned the ankle, so we all had to take a bit from his role. I think one of the reasons for our victory was that previous games, especially our match with Nova NOVOKUYBYSHEVSK, in the national league helped us, but for Fakel - their game with ASK NIZHNY NOVGOROD took some of their power. The Russian Championship is very demanding, and I think Fakel did not show their best. All of my teammates scored well. It’s hard to tell the best. Everyone and everything was important in this Champions League debut.”

Camillo Placi, coach of Fakel NOVY URENGOY: “First of all, I would like to congratulate Kuzbass on the victory. Despite the fact that they lost Poletaev during the first set, the team did not shatter and played very well. Unfortunately, we were not able to show our level of play today, there were a lot of problems in attack and on the block. In the first set, we were not able to turn the tide of the game, but if we had done so, everything could have turned out differently. The same thing happened in the second set.”

Halkbank ANKARA (TUR) vs. VC Greenyard MAASEIK (BEL) 2-3 (25-20, 25-23, 27-29, 20-25, 10-15)

Halkbank reached a new milestone in the #CLVolleyM playing their 45th match, while Taner Atik was in charge of his first match as head coach. After a strong start to the match, getting ahead by two sets to none, the Belgians from Maaseik managed to narrowly win the third set after cancelling two match balls for the hosts with the help of eventual MVP Jonas Kvalen and from then they took control of the match, which ended in a 3-2 come-from-behind victory for the visitors. Approximately 2,000 young students were present at the match, creating an electric atmosphere throughout.

Taner Atik, head coach of Halkbank ANKARA: “After they changed the setter, things changed in a negative way for us. Of course this is a Champions League level, the top level of Volleyball. In the first two sets, we showed good level but after that our attack and counter-attack did not work very well. That’s why this is the result.”

Dmitrii Bahov, player of Halkbank: “It was a hard game. We fought until the end. We played very well for the first two sets. In the third set, during the most important moments, unfortunately we made too many mistakes. The opponent came back and after that, it was difficult for us to regroup and respond.”

Joel Banks, head coach of VC Greenyard MAASEIK: “Halkbank started in an amazing way. We had troubles coming into the game. After that, we made some changes, these worked and we did very well. It was very difficult to play against such a good Turkish team.”

Xavier Folguera Estruga, player of VC Greenyard MAASEIK: “It was a special win. We were losing 0-2 and then we came back. It is very good to start the Champions League with a win. They put a lot of pressure on us and but we came back. After the changes made by our coach, we started doing better.”

Verva WARSZAWA Orlen Paliwa (POL) vs. TOURS VB (FRA) 3-0 (25-15, 25-22, 25-23)

It was the opening match of the competition in Pool D. Verva WARSZAWA Orlen Paliwa needed only 79 minutes in their Champions League debut to rout TOURS VB in straight sets. Coach Andrea Anastasi prepared his team well for this match and also for the start of the season – they are currently leading the way in the highly competitive Polish national league. One of the best players of Warszawa, Bartosz Kwolek (POL) did not show up on court, but eventual MVP Artur Udrys - playing his first match for the Polish team after recovering from injury - and Igor Grobelny scored 14 points apiece for the hosts. TOURS VB had their chances in the second and third sets, but the home team supported by their crowd in Arena Ursynow were more efficient both in attack and defence, especially towards the end of each set.

Hubert Henno, head coach of TOURS VB: “The first set and the beginning of the second one were not our best. We showed what we are capable of in the middle of the second set. Despite that, we were not able to stop the opponent. They are an excellent team that can achieve a lot in the CEV Champions League. We, on the other hand, need to focus on our work and improve all of our weak points.”

Konstantin Cupković, outside hitter of TOURS VB: “This was a bad match on our side. We are not in the right shape, both in the French league, as well as in the CEV Champions League. The home team, on the other hand, played very well. We had nowhere to start. There is a lot of work ahead of us if we want to achieve their level.”

Andrea Anastasi, head coach of Verva WARSZAWA Orlen Paliwa: “It could have seemed like an easy match for us, but it wasn’t. TOURS VB is a very solid team that may cause loads of troubles for stronger opponents. I am pleased with my team’s game. I am optimistic about the future and I look forward to the next matches.”

Igor Grobelny, outside hitter of Verva WARSZAWA Orlen Paliwa: “We are very pleased with the victory. This is my first match in the CEV Champions League and I think I did pretty well. We received and attacked well and this was not a good day for our opponents. Our next CEV Champions League opponent will be Benfica LISBOA and a week later, we will play a home match with PERUGIA. We are not thinking that far ahead though, and try to focus on our upcoming PlusLiga match with GKS KATOWICE.”

Sir Sicoma Monini PERUGIA (ITA) vs. Benfica LISBOA (POR) 3-1 (25-18, 24-26, 25-15, 25-19)

The Italian team, full of international star players, was definitely the favourite before this match. However, the players coached by Vital Heynen lost their focus after easily taking the first set and Benfica eventually drew level after a close battle at the end of the second set. The Portuguese champions played better both in defence and attack, but in the next two sets Wilfredo Leon and Aleksandar Atanasijevic made the difference. The Polish outside-hitter's impressive serves gave PERUGIA a huge advantage as they finished the third set with a landslide 25-15 win. In the fourth set, the hosts put the stamp on the victory in front of 2,775 fans gathered in Pala Barton. Leon was the top player of the match with 23 points and nine aces on his account.

Aleksandar Atanasijevic, player of Sir Sicoma Monini PERUGIA: “We did not play at our best, but at the end we managed to take three points. We have started this Champions League well and this thanks to Oleh Plotnytskyi who made many points tonight. Congratulations to him.” 

Marcel Matz, head coach of Benfica LISBOA: “I liked my team. We played against a very strong team and it was an occasion for us to improve our Volleyball.” 

VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN (GER) vs. Knack ROESELARE (BEL) 0-3 (23-25, 21-25, 15-25)

It was as easy as 1, 2, 3 for Knack ROESELARE who took a straight sets win away in Germany in the designated Match of the Week. With a much changed roster from last season, VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN started the game well and forced the Belgian side to call a time-out when trailing 1-4.  But that was as good as it got for the home side who had little in response to the all round game of Knack. Guided superbly by their setter, Canadian Brett Walsh, the attacking prowess from Roeselare excelled, building significant leads throughout the middle part of each set. 

The only difference between the three being that in the third they did not let the home side back into it and ran away to claim the match.

Top scorer was the winning captain, Hendrik Tuerlinckx (18 points, including 14 spikes and three aces), who connected seemlessly with Walsh throughout.  The result left Knack and Zaksa locked at the top of Pool E, with the two sides meeting next week in Leg 2.

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