Belogorie shows no mercy for Greek champions to claim fifth straight victory
2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Men
Belgorod, Russia, December 11, 2013. Russia’s giant Belogorie BELGOROD does not stop to impress in the prelims of the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men and on Wednesday the home heroes cruised to their fifth straight victory in Pool B, this time by routing Greece’s champions Olympiacos PIRAEUS (25-15, 25-23, and 25-18). The so-called “Lions” as they are nicknamed in Russia are the only side that has not dropped a set so far in the competition, a feat emulated only by Turkey’s Eczacibasi VitrA ISTANBUL in the women’s division.
Belogorie showed right from the start their intention to impose their supremacy also in this game and Olympiacos quickly had to realize that their hope to cause a sensation was not going to be fulfilled. Even though Belogorie starting six was mostly composed of second lines, this did not affect at all the quality of their performance. Especially their block was outstanding and Olympiacos could not find a way to break through this terrific wall. Dmitriy Muserskiy was the one standing out in this fundamental while young opposite Maksim Zhigalov hammered down one after the other to claim a five-point lead at the second technical time-out of the first set. Olympiacos could briefly close the gap on a good serving turn by their setter Vasileios Kournetas (17:15) but after Dmitriy Muserskiy was back in the front line, Olympiacos did not stand a chance anymore. Significantly it was Muserskiy who finished it off at 25-15 with a single block, the sixth successful stuff for him in the set.
Ruslan Khanipov and Anton Fomenko replaced Muserskiy and Dmitriy Ilinykh in the second set and things got a little less complicated for the guests from Greece. They even could take the lead as the final section of the set was approaching (20:21) but Konstantinos Christofidelis missed out on a good opportunity to widen that small margin; Belogorie showed no mercy and Alexander Kosarev then wrapped it up at 25-23 with an ace.
Belogorie imposed their rule once more also in the third set and even though Olympiacos head coach Dimitris Kazazis changed half of his starting six, this could not help his side stand the terrific performance delivered by the home heroes. Zhigalov (pictured) cashed the last point to seal a 3:0 victory and top score in the end with 16 points.
Belogorie head coach Gennadi Shipulin was satisfied with his team’s performance and with the fact that with this result BELGOROD had secured first place in Pool B: “I am also very happy that we will continue this competition and move on to the Playoffs” he said.
The setter of Olympiacos, Vasileios Kournetas, was happy to return back to Belgorod where he had played some years ago and to see many friends: “It was good for us to play against one of the best teams in the world and I wish Belogorie will win the tournament. We simply could not stand their quality in blocking and serving” he said.
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