Bre Banca Lannutti CUNEO flies to final four after claiming dramatic derby
2013 CEV Volleyball Champions League - Men
Cuneo, Italy, February 13, 2013. In what was probably the most anticipated fixture in the Playoffs 6 of the 2013 CEV Volleyball Champions League, Bre Banca Lannutti CUNEO could fight their way back after a straight-set defeat last week to first claim the return match with their compatriots of Lube Banca Marche MACERATA (3:2; 25-17, 25-19, 22-25, 21-25, and 15-8) and then seize also the golden set (15-7) to qualify for the final four scheduled for March 16-17 in Omsk and play there Poland’s Zaksa KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE in the semis. This is the very first time – after many attempts – that CUNEO makes it to the last act of Europe’s most prestigious club competition.
Head coach Roberto Piazza started the game by lining up setter Nikola Grbic, Oleg Antonov as opposite, wing spikers Earvin Ngapeth and Wout Wijsmans, plus Emanuel Kohut and Tsvetan Sokolov as middle blockers and libero Daniele De Pandis. Lube Banca Marche responded with setter Dragan Travica, opposite Ivan Zaytsev, outside hitters Simone Parodi and Dick Kooy, plus middle blockers Marko Podrascanin and Dragan Stankovic, and libero Hubert Henno.
The hosts of Bre Banca Lannutti started out with the right pace (6:3 and 12:8) and as MACERATA could not find their rhythm, CUNEO headed into the final rush with a comfortable lead (19:13). Though the head coach of Lube Banca Marche, Alberto Giuliani, asked for a time-out, he could not stop the march of CUNEO that pocketed the opening set (25-17) after 24 minutes with two aces by Ngapeth.
The teams opted for the same starting six in the second set with CUNEO breaking away (8:6) at the first technical time-out and gradually widening the gap (11:7) via the contribution of Kohut and Grbic. However, MACERATA could draw level at 15 all but Antonov restored the supremacy of the home side with an ace (18:15). Grbic then aced for the 23:19 and CUNEO closed the second set with a great block stamped by Ngapeth on Kooy (25-19).
MACERATA was not ready to surrender and regrouped in set 3 storming out to 0:3 and 4:7 and did not lose control of the operations also halfway through that section of the match (8:13). After leading by five points at the second technical time-out, the guests could resist to a late comeback by CUNEO (-2, 21:23) finishing it off at 22-25.
The start of the fourth set was very close (8:8) but MACERATA could move to the front (11:16) by the second mandatory stop. Wijsmans, Ngapeth and Antonov helped cut that gap (19:20) but a time-out asked by MACERATA mentor Alberto Giuliani contributed additional energy for the guests who could call for the tie-break after the set was sealed by a serving error by Sokolov (21-25).
CUNEO got off to a flying start there (3:1 and 6:2) and the fate of the tie-break looked determined as Ngapeth stamped a single block on Sasa Starovic (9:3). Wijsmans stretched the lead to 11:4 and a time-out by Giuliani this time did not help, with CUNEO calling for the golden set (15-8).
That was a carbon copy of the tie-break with CUNEO rushing to an early lead (4:3 and 9:5) before Sokolov cashed four opportunities to make it to Omsk and the first was silvered by Ngapeth (15-7).
“I am very happy for the club and for my guys because they played with glowing hearts tonight. I think this game was a perfect advertising for Volleyball” CUNEO coach Roberto Piazza said.
“We had to be more aggressive in the first and second sets, we showed a good reaction to make it to the tie-break but CUNEO served really well in the golden set and they deserved this win” Alberto Giuliani, head coach of Lube Banca Marche, concluded.
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