PIACENZA happy with straight victory over Bulgarian underdog
2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Men
Piacenza, Italy, November 7, 2013. After losing last week a very close match with TOURS VB, Italy’s vice-champions Copra Elior PIACENZA got back on track as on Thursday they edged Bulgaria’s Marek Union-Ivkoni DUPNITSA in straight sets (25-15, 25-21, and 26-24) to claim their second victory in preliminary Pool A of the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men and cement their second place in the standing of the group.
Copra Elior got what they wanted as they brought home three points from this game as Luca Monti was able to give some playing time to all 12 players nominated for this match. With team captain Hristo Zlatanov out for a couple of weeks due to a wrist injury, Samuele Papi anchored the home side registering 9 points while Luca Vettori had a match-high 15. Denys Kaliberda also chipped in with 15 thereby confirming he’s a very good and solid substitute for Zlatanov while Kevin Le Roux – who only joined the last section of the game – also contributed to this straight victory. Copra Elior out-blocked their opponents 14 to 6 and that was what made the difference for the home heroes.
Luca Monti opted for a starting six including setter Luciano De Cecco, middle-blockers Robertlandy Simon and Alessandro Fei, opposite Vettori, wing-spikers Kaliberda and Papi as well as libero Davide Marra. Papi was the one who set the tone of the game right from the start (5:3) and Copra Elior easily broke away in the score (9:5, 12:6). Vettori was outstanding in attack while Simon was the one who blocked the Bulgarian spikers to pave the way for the final 25-15.
Things did not change in the opening of the second set (3:1) before a few mistakes by the local heroes helped DUPNITSA flip the charts around (9:10). However, Simon, Kaliberda and Papi took their side by the hand and PIACENZA quickly moved the score from 15:12 up to 19:12. Two blocks by Borislav Apostolov cut the deficit for DUPNITSA (20:17) and the guests from Bulgaria were even able to make it to 22:20 to challenge the home side in the late phases of the set. However, PIACENZA showed good composure there and with Kaliberda and Le Roux sealed the 25-21 that meant a provisional 2:0 lead in sets.
The third set was very close but PIACENZA started out strong (4:2) before DUPNITSA fought their way back and made it 6:7 with Apostolov being once more their most effective player. With two aces by Mihael Madzhukov and Gjorgi Gjorgiev the guests first made it 11:13 and then 14:18 but the local heroes kept cool and started their comeback. After the score was drawn at 24 on a serving error by DUPNITSA, Kevin Le Roux killed two blocks in a row to seal the final 26-24 and a much desired straight victory for PIACENZA.
“The most important thing is that tonight we were able to win in straight sets and take three points from this game” commented 40-year old Samuele Papi. “We struggled especially in the third set but we were able to fight our way back into the game and to save as much energy as possible as we need that for our next matches in the national league.”
“We have many regrets especially for the chance we missed at 24 all in the third set as the referee whistled a fault; he said that our player touched the serving line with his foot. Anyway, we tried our best and we shall remember that we are a young team that never played before against a strong side like PIACENZA. This match was for us a very good opportunity to develop and to grow” said the team captain of DUPNITSA, Gjorgi Gjorgiev.
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