Kubiak show in a night to remember for JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel
2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men
Jastrzebie-Zdroj, Poland, December 18, 2013. In the much anticipated game where first place in Pool F was at stake, the hosts of JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel beat Halkbank ANKARA 3:2 (25-27, 25-18, 37-39, 25-21, and 17-15) at the end of a dramatic match that may be considered as the perfect way to advertise Volleyball. With this home victory JASTRZEBSKI finished the prelims in first place with a record of five wins in six matches and 14 points, while Halkbank settled for second with 13. These teams will both continue their campaign in the Playoffs 12 and are now waiting for results of the Drawing of Lots coming up on Thursday morning.
The Polish crowd was very pleased to welcome the star-studded team from Turkey’s capital city including the likes of Matey Kaziyski, Osmany Juantorena and Raphael Vieira de Oliveira among others. The game attracted almost 3,000 fans there in Upper Silesia for a memorable Volleyball night.
The home side started the game without their captain and opposite Michal Lasko who had suffered a calf injury during a training session on Tuesday. He was replaced in the starting six by the only 21-year old Mateusz Malinowski, while the role of team captain was assigned to Michal Kubiak.
After a good start by the hosts (5:2), ANKARA responded with Juantorena to level the score at 5. Kubiak also suffered a slight injury and was replaced by Frenchman Nicolas Marechal. The score stayed very close up to 10 all before Halkbank broke away. The head coach of JASTRZEBSKI, Lorenzo Bernardi, stopped the game twice and even though his guys could survive to three set balls for their opponents, Mitar Tzourits cashed the final 25-27 for Halkbank.
Kubiak was back in action for the start of the second set where also Dutchman Rob Bontje performed strong for the home side. An ace by their setter Michal Masny moved the score up to 9:3 for Wegiel but Halkbank was able to reduce the gap (13:10). Still the home heroes continued to display world-class Volleyball to make it 24:17 and pocket the second set on a service error by Matey Kaziyski.
The players mentored by Bulgarian-born head coach Radostin Stoytchev looked a little shaky in reception also in the third set but the score was much closer than in the second. Another few attacks by Kubiak prompted a 12:10 lead for JASTRZEBSKI but by the second technical time-out Halkbank had flipped the charts around though leading only by the slimmest margin. Juantorena and Kaziyski did shake the Polish defense line with their serves before the final section of the set turned into a real delight for all Volleyball fans. The teams exchanged the lead back and forth and they both had eight set balls before Halkbank had the last word with an ace by Resul Tekeli (37-39).
JASTRZEBSKI did not tremble and opened the fourth set with a terrific 7:2 run before their rivals stormed back to draw the score at 11. Still, the home side could re-impose their supremacy and set the pace of the game up to the 25-21 that called for the tie-break. That was followed by the fans standing on their feet with JASTRZEBSKI up 8:6 as teams changed sides of the court. A spirited Michal Kubiak eventually anchored his side to the final 17-15 and a memorable home victory to cap an already stellar campaign in Pool F. Kubiak recorded a match-high 26 points in the end while Osmany Juantorena paced Halkbank in their losing effort with 25.
“We are very happy with this win and now we look forward to knowing who we will play in the Playoffs 12” Kubiak said after this great performance. “At this stage you cannot expect to get any easy opponent.”
“If there is someone that was supposed to win this game, well this was JASTRZEBSKI” added his mentor Lorenzo Bernardi. “We were the better side in each set and I am very proud of my players. I want to thank them all but Kubiak and Masny played an extraordinary match tonight.”
“The Polish fans were amazing tonight and we did not play good” said Halkbank head coach Radostin Stoytchev. “It wasn’t our normal level of play. On the other hand, our opponents played a superb game especially in defense and counterattack.”
“It was a very close game and we fought hard. In the end the Polish team deserved to win” added Halkbank team captain Matey Kaziyski.
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