Olympiacos claims home victory over MAASEIK to cement second place in Pool B
2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men
Piraeus, Greece, November 6, 2013. After they displayed some monster blocks – killing 13 in the end – Olympiacos PIRAEUS beat Belgium’s Noliko MAASEIK 3:1 (28-26, 25-22, 23-25, and 25-23) to claim their second victory in the prelims of the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men and cement their second place in Pool B.
Greece’s champions controlled the game winning the first and second set before their opponents stormed back to seize set 3 and set the pace of the game also in the fourth. However, Olympiacos was able to keep cool and in the end seized the night thereby keeping well alive their chances to make the Playoffs 12. Once more Olympiacos was paced by their Bulgarian opposite Boyan Yordanov with 20 points, while Leonardo Caldeira and Milan Jurisic added another 17 and 12 respectively to the final count. Federico Pereyra and Jelte Maan were the most prolific scorers for Noliko with 24 and 21 points.
Olympiacos showed great blocks right from the go (8:7) and by exploiting that fundamental they gradually widened their lead moving the score from 11:8 to 14:11. Shortly after the second technical time-out, the match was very close and Noliko even had a couple of set balls (22:24) but Olympiacos found a way to stand that challenge. They first drew level at 24 and then sealed the final 28-26 on a spike killed by Nikos Smaragdis.
Olympiacos had the slimmest possible margin at the first technical time-out of the second set (8:7) and slightly opened the cushion (9:7) with two aces by Athanasios Maroulis. Noliko flipped the charts around with a terrific 2:6 run (11:13) but Olympiacos responded by cashing another four and get the lead back by the second mandatory stop (16:14). The hosts looked very confident and also highly motivated as they made it 20:17 on a point scored by Menelaos Kokkinakis. Noliko clawed back with three points in a row to make it 20 all but Olympiacos was in full control and finished it off at 25-22.
Olympiacos started out strong also in the third set (6:4) but then had a black-out as Noliko scored four points in a row to get to the front at the first technical time-out (7:8). The guests from Belgium fought bravely and were able to keep control of the operations (13:16) before Olympiacos found the right combinations and tactics to restore the balance at 18 all. However, that was all the home side could achieve as Noliko broke away once more (18:21) and then wrapped it up at 22-25.
Noliko stretched that same momentum also to the early phases of the fourth set (2:5, 5:8) and even though Olympiacos cut the deficit to a minimum (8:9), MAASEIK accelerated the pace once again to make it 11:14 and keep a three-point lead also at the second technical time-out. This is where Olympiacos woke up and anchored by their opposite Boyan Yordanov, they fought their way back to level the score at 21. Noliko made it 23 all, but Olympiacos eventually exploited two errors by their opponents to finish the game at 25-23 for a well-deserved 3:1 home victory.
“We claimed a very important victory against a strong team” said Olympiacos head coach Dimitrios Kazazis after the game. “We made a big step forward in our quest to make the next round but we know that we have a difficult away match in Belgium waiting for us. Anyway, we will now focus on our national league until the CEV Volleyball Champions League resumes in early December.”
“I think that the most important thing we can take from this game is that we played as a team and showed great passion and fighting spirit” added home hero and top scorer Boyan Yordanov. “There are still three rounds left and nothing is decided yet.”
“We made many mistakes especially at the beginning of the game and this did cost us the first and second sets” commented Noliko captain Matias Raymaekers. “We tried to come back after winning the third set but in the end their experience at this level made the difference.”
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