Lokomotiv BAKU stops home invincibility of Belgian sensation
2012 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup - Women
Gent, Belgium, March 15, 2012. The home invincibility of Belgium’s VDK GENT Dames was shattered on Wednesday by Lokomotiv BAKU as the guests from Azerbaijan imposed their rhythm to claim the first semifinal match of the 2012 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup in three straight sets (27-25, 26-24, and 25-21). The match was extremely tight in the first two sets but Lokomotiv scored the deciding points there with the valuable help of Nancy Metcalf and Ivana Milos before things became a little easier in the third section of the game.
VDK GENT Dames had actually started the game pretty well (5:3) before Els Vandesteene was blocked for three times in a row. Lise De Valkeneer sealed the provisional 16:13 to call for the second mandatory stop but Metcalf and Kremena Kamenova clawed back for Lokomotiv. After a very hard-fought final rush it was Aleksandra Samoylova that sealed the 27-25 with an ace.
Ivana Milos scored all alone 7 points in the match with a 71% of efficiency in attack; Lokomotiv opened the gap first at 11:8 with Kamenova and Elisha Thomas before Maud Catry leveled at 14 all for the home side. VDK GENT missed an opportunity to bring the set home and it was again Samoylova that finished it off at 26-24.
Lokomotiv caught an excellent start in set 3 going quickly up 9:2 profiting of many mistakes made by the home heroines; Vandesteene and Elies Goos were nevertheless able to fight back to 11:12 before Lokomotiv sped up again and top scorer Metcalf (18 points) closed it out for a win in straight sets.
“It was a difficult game but I am happy that we finally won” states the US American star (pictured) who may join the national team once again for the Olympics in London. “We are pleased to have taken this game with an opponent that made our task not that easy in the first two sets” adds the assistant coach of Lokomotiv, Goran Jovicic.
“Even though we lost tonight I am still convinced we can go for a win in Baku” singles out home mentor Stijn Morand. “This is a learning process for my young team and these games are useful for us to get ready for the Playoffs and possibly become Belgium’s national champions this year”.