BERLIN claims crucial victory over Arkas IZMIR
2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Men
Berlin, Germany, December 10, 2013. Taking a vital step towards the qualification for the Playoffs 12 of the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League BERLIN Recycling Volleys claimed an important home win over the side of Arkas IZMIR as they outdid the guests in straight sets (25-20, 25-23, and 25-14) in front of 3’784 spectators Tuesday night at the Max-Schmeling-Halle.
Fighting courageously for every single point right from the beginning, both teams started out well in the first set with neither side allowing the other to pull away. With strong service and heavy attacks by outside-hitter Robert Kromm and opposite Paul Carroll, the hosts could establish their first small lead. Middle-blocker Srecko Lisinac on fire enabled his team to set the pace (11:8) and eventually team captain Scott Touzinsky proved his strengths behind the service line (14:9). Coming back strongly after the second technical time-out, the guests of IZMIR managed to continuously close the gap (16:13), but Paul Carroll and Robert Kromm (best scorer for his side with 15 points, and for IZMIR with 13 points Gökhan Gökgöz) shocked the guests with powerful hits and service aces to make it 18:13. Self-confident after their streak of points and with their rhythm found, the hosts, for instance with a service ace by their setter Kawika Shoji, cruised to the final 25-20.
Going point for point in the second set, both teams showed their willingness to not slacken their grip on the match, but especially through massive attacks by Paul Carroll the host claimed a small lead towards the first technical time-out (8:5). Fighting back, IZMIR closed the gap towards the middle of the set with outside-hitter John Gordon Perrin giving the hosts’ block a hard time. Asking for a time-out at 18:14 for the home side, IZMIR tried their best to turn the score around leading to a greater number of errors than before. Pushed by its home crowd, BERLIN with Paul Carroll on fire seemed to make its way through set number two, but the guests drew level at 21-21. After a remarkable saving by Paul Carroll it was Scott Touzinsky with an attack and block to bring his group in front (22:21, 23:21). Missing out on two set points, the third set ball eventually brought the second set to a happy end for the hosts (25-23).
Taking an early lead, the side of BERLIN also pulled away in the third round (5:3, 13:8, and 15:10) and after that never allowed any doubts about tonight’s winner as they discouraged the guests of Arkas IZMIR with their powerful play. Cruising to the final 25-14, the home side could celebrate its fourth consecutive win in Pool D and cement its second place in the standings.
“We could put a lot of pressure on IZMIR and never really gave them the chance to come into play. Our reception today was not always really good, so Kawika Shoji (setter) did an incredible job today – especially since he’s been a little sick tonight. We again showed a great team performance”, the Australian opposite Paul Carroll said after the match. His coach couldn’t agree more: “After the LUGANO match I said, this was the best game we’d played so far. I now have to say, today we showed the best performance in this season, as IZMIR in my eyes is individually even better than LUGANO”, Mark Lebedew summarized, adding: “I’m optimistic as regards our chances to make it to the Playoffs 12, but we’ll have to wait for the remaining matches. So far, we’ve done a good job.”
For his colleague on the other side the reason for tonight’s defeat was clear-cut: “Both of our opposites were injured, Gavin Schmitt had a leg surgery and Urpo Sivula suffered an injury of his ankle. Our young players showed what they can show, but could not reach the level of BERLIN. We hope to claim at least a win against LUGANO next week to make it to the Challenge Round of the CEV Cup”, Glenn Hoag concluded.
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