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12/12/2013 23:16
Copra Elior edges TOURS VB to secure Playoffs ticket
2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Men

Piacenza, Italy, December 12, 2013. Italy’s vice champions Copra Elior PIACENZA delighted their fans on Thursday night at the Palabanca where they routed TOURS VB of France in straight sets to claim the leadership in Pool A and a spot in the Playoffs 12 of the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men. Copra Elior could redeem for their 2:3 away defeat in France some weeks ago as they cruised to a speedy 3:0 (25-14, 25-22, and 25-23) to easily rout their opponents and closest competitors in the group.
By combining the European Cups and the Italian national league, this was PIACENZA ninth straight victory; TOURS VB fought bravely for every single rally in an attempt to cause another surprise but this time they only could keep the score tight in the second and third sets. The hosts looked very determined and eventually brought it home with a speedy 3:0.

The mentor of Copra Elior, Luca Monti started with Luciano De Cecco (setter), opposite Luca Vettori, middle blockers Alessandro Fei and Robertlandy Simon, wing-spikers Samuele Papi and Denys Kaliberda plus libero Davide Marra. Mauricio Paes responded with setter Nuno Pinheiro, opposite David Konecny, middle blockers Gérald Hardy-Dessources and David Smith, plus wing spikers Kevin Klinkenberg and Kamil Baranek together with libero Jean-François Exiga.

The score was close in the early phases of the first set (5:5) before PIACENZA broke away with Samuele Papi (7:5) and Fei (9:6) forcing TOURS VB mentor Mauricio Paes into a time-out. Still the hosts could dictate the pace of the game also by the second technical time-out (16:10) and did not stop scoring (23:12) closing the set with two points claimed by Fei and Vettori (25-14).  
PIACENZA trailed in the opening of the second set (0:3) where TOURS VB displayed some good actions to make things much more complicated for the hosts than in the opening set (3:7); Vettori eventually took his side by the hand and with the help of De Cecco and Kaliberda, PIACENZA was able to even the score at 12 all. A neck-to-neck race got started there and continued up to 22 all where Papi and two aces by Simon sealed the final 25-22 for the home side.
The third set was very close too with PIACENZA off to a flying start (2:0, 5:4) before TOURS VB was able to flip the charts around twice with a block by David Smith (6:7) and another point claimed by Nicholas Hoag (9:10). Kaliberda restored the balance at 12 all before Gérald Hardy-Dessources showed some great play from the service line for the guests from France. It was another very close game down the final stretch where Fei, Kaliberda (pictured) and Vettori performed their best to seal the final 3:0 for the home side (25-23).

“We have been improving a lot since the start of the season” commented a happy head coach Luca Monti. “We have found the right chemistry and especially Vettori is improving and is playing with more and more confidence. De Cecco also played a great game; he and Simon played three sets at the highest level tonight. The service worked well but we still can improve on it.”

“TOURS VB fought for two sets tonight” said French mentor Mauricio Paes. “We had played much better at home than we have done here in Piacenza. Our opponents pressured us a lot with their service. We made too many mistakes and in the end we paid the price for this.”

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