Poland’s vice champions Zaksa come from behind to keep alive their chances to make Playoffs 12
2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Men
Kedzierzyn-Kozle, Poland, December 11, 2013. In a match with many ups and downs and that lasted for two and a half hours, Poland’s Zaksa KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE eventually edged Germany’s VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN at the tie-break (25-17, 23-25, 21-25, 31-29, and 15-11) to cement their second place in the standings of Pool G.
This game was a make-or-break mission for Zaksa as well as for VfB if they wanted to continue their European campaign and the hosts looked very determined right from the start. They easily controlled the operations in the opening set (5:2, 8:4, and 15:10) before VfB responded with their Bulgarian spiker Valentin Bratoev to cut the deficit to only two points (16:14). Zaksa found back their best play after the second technical time-out and young opposite Grzegorz Bociek cashed the final 25-17 for the provisional 1:0 in sets.
Zaksa started the second set with a very good pace too (5:2) and with an ace by Jurii Gladyr then made it 11:7. However, the guests could fight back and leveled the score at 13 all before Michal Ruciak restored the supremacy by the home heroes (17:14). Still the Bulgarian-born trio of VfB – Bratoev, Ventceslav Simeonov and Viktor Yosifov – showed world-class Volleyball to change the course of the game and VfB eventually sealed the 25-23 that restored the balance in sets.
The guests from Germany showed a great performance also in the third set, particularly with their counterattacks and good serves. Bratoev and Simeonov helped VfB impose their tempo (8:3, 15:10) before Bociek woke up and reduced the advantage of his opponents to a minimum. Once more Zaksa then lost their rhythm and VfB claimed a five-point lead to cruise to the final 25-21 and make it 2:1 in sets.
A neck-to-neck race unfolded in the fourth set up to 9 all; Zaksa was on the brick of defeat as their opponents had moved up 17:14 and 20:17 but still the home heroes could bounce back and after winning point and after point, with a great performance by Bociek and Dick Kooy, they called for the tie-break but only after dissipating seven set balls (31-29).
The tie-break did see VfB move up 5:2 on a great attack killed by Baptiste Geiler before Zaksa fired back to compensate for this initial gap and bring it home at 15-11 as the last point was scored by Bociek, who in the end registered 34 for the winning side (Bratoev had 28 for VfB in their losing effort).
“It is a pity that the referees made some controversial decisions in the final and key moments of the game” commented VfB head coach Stelian Moculescu. “This frustrated my players and had an impact on their attitude.”
“This is the first time we can be happy with the way we ended the game” said local mentor and former Volleyball star Sebastian Swiderski. “This is a very promising result before we take on the last leg and we still believe in our chances to make the Playoffs 12” he concluded.
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