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06/12/2017 21:43
Strong RAVENNA display secures Italian match point at home
2018 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup - Men

Gentofte, Denmark, December 6, 2017. The reigning Danish vice champions and cup winners, GENTOFTE Volley, faced Italian Bunge RAVENNA in Gentofte Sportspark in the 16th Finals of the 2018 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup – Men. The visitors displayed great power and cleverness and with a comfortable 3-0 win (25-19, 25-12, 25-20) they secured themselves the best cards on their hands before the return match in Italy on December 21.

Both teams displayed a strong side-out at the beginning of the first set with the hosts being one point ahead at the first technical timeout. RAVENNA’s Austrian ‘air force’, Paul Buchegger, was a constant threat, and with the help of his hands, GENTOFTE head coach Denis Janka had to call his first timeout when trailing 9-12. Little it helped, as RAVENNA eventually won the first set 25-19.

The visiting team’s setter Santiago Orduna continued to distribute the ball with great clever- and carefulness and was the mastermind in a strong second set by the Italians. Setting up a strong playing Giacomo Raffaelli for some sharp spikes, Orduna shaped up the 25-12 set win in elegant style.

RAVENNA continued their strong performance in the third set. Some of the elder spectators in Gentofte Sportspark got a glimpse of anciently action, when GENTOFTE’s Tobias Kjær took to the court with the home side trailing 11-16. The rising star from Denmark thereby walked in his father’s, Henrik Kjær, footsteps, as the older Kjær played on the last Danish team facing RAVENNA, Holte Volleyball Club, in the Champions Cup back in the 1990’s.

Though Tobias Kjær scored two points, RAVENNA’s set win was never in danger, and Fabio Soli’s troops raised their arms triumphantly as they made it 25-20.

Bunge RAVENNA head coach Fabio Soli: “It is not easy to come to Denmark and make a result like this. You know you will have some downsides in every game, and our opponents were good at taking advantage of these,” he said. “At the beginning we did not push as hard as we can, but at the first technical timeout of the first set, I stressed that the guys had to push harder, as you do not get any gifts from GENTOFTE. We played much better in the second part of the match. We pushed more and had more attention in our block, and we managed to serve differently than at the beginning of the match.”

“It will be more or less the same match in Italy. We have to find the right pace and take the lead in the match. The CEV Challenge Cup is very important to us, and we will try to go all the way. But one step at a time, and this was the first one for us.”

GENTOFTE head coach Denis Janka: “We were under hard pressure because of their serve, and apart from the beginning of the match, we found it difficult finding an answer to that. At the same time, RAVENNA have an amazing side-out game and that settles the match. I think this was a good experience for the players and they made a good effort despite the loss. We will fight with everything we have in Italy to push RAVENNA as much as we can.”

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