Arkas IZMIR confronted with terrific resistance by Bulgarian rookie
2013 CEV Volleyball Champions League - Men
Samokov, Bulgaria, December 12, 2012. Arkas IZMIR of Turkey edged on Wednesday Marek Union-Ivkoni DUPNITSA of Bulgaria in the last round of action for prelim Pool F (3:2; 24-26, 28-26, 23-25, 25-23, and 15-12) to cement its second place in the standings of the group and wait for the results of the other Pools to know its destiny in the competition. On the other hand, DUPNITSA – although the Bulgarian rookies played well – with this result missed out on the opportunity to make it to the Challenge Round of the CEV Cup.
Arkas IZMIR caught a terrific start going quickly up 2:6 with the attacks killed by Liberman Agamez and John Gordon Perrin, forcing DUPNITSA head coach Nayden Naydenov into an early time-out. Marek responded by reducing bit the gap (4:8) but it still trailed by 4 points at the second technical time-out. However, helped by some mistakes of IZMIR, the hosts fought their way back to 20 all and in the deciding final rush – although they are still young and rather inexperienced – they could cash the opening set with the score of 26-24.
In the second set the score stayed initially very close (8:7 for Marek) and that slight margin was kept also halfway through the set (16:15). As the absolute star of DUPNITSA Todor Valchev could open a gap of two, Arkas head coach Glenn Hoag stopped the game, his guys responded by tying at 18 and another close run followed until Arkas sealed the final 28-26 with two points scored by Agamez and Perrin.
Things did not change much in set 3 with the score remaining very tight there as well before a kill by Valchev and a block on Agamez moved DUPNITSA to the front (20:18). Even though Hoag tried to find a way to stop the good play of the hosts, Marek Union-Ivkoni could stay cool and claim the provisional 2:1 (25-23) in the set count.
A similar story unfolded also in set 4, at least up to the first technical time-out, before Agamez and Mustafa Koc powered IZMIR to the front (7:11). As his guys were trailing 10:14, Nayden Naydenov asked for a break but Arkas played very aggressively and stretched its lead up to eight points (12:20). Naydenov, seeing that the set was gone, decided to give a break to his best players to keep energy for the tie-break but there Arkas jumped off to an early lead (4:8) and did not slow the pace eventually pocketing that much desired win (12-15).
“Congratulations to Arkas even though I am very disappointed because we had good chances to win tonight” said Bulgarian mentor Naydenov after the game.
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