VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN miss out on three match balls before Knack cruise to sixth straight victory
2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Men
Friedrichshafen, Germany, December 18, 2013. The hosts of VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN could not capitalize on a 2:0 lead and lost at the tie-break their last game in the prelims of the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League to Pool leaders Knack ROESELARE of Belgium (25-21, 25-22, 31-33, 16-25, and 11-15). Knack finished the League Round with a perfect record of six wins in as many matches while VfB missed out on the Playoffs 12 and had to be content with a spot for the Challenge Round of the CEV Volleyball Cup.
After a very slow start, the hosts were woken up by strong serving of their setter Nikola Jovovic; the guys from the Lake of Constance displayed a very solid performance in attack especially via their opposite Christian Dünnes who had joined the game to replace the injured Ventceslav Simeonov. Though Knack could reduce their deficit, VfB stayed calm and pocketed the opening set with the score of 25-21.
Both teams looked extremely focused and determined in the early phases of the second set where VfB claimed a very small lead (8:7) at the first technical time-out. They played point for point until good serving by Baptiste Geiler helped VfB impose their rule while Knack could no longer prepare their attacks with the necessary accuracy. The home fans got something more to celebrate as their heroes cashed also the second set (25-22) so as to provisionally stay in contention for a spot in the Playoffs 12.
The third set was another close story. Nikola Jovovic paced the home side with smart serving while a few big blocks by Dünnes and Max Günthör forced Knack mentor Emile Rousseaux into a time-out by the time his side was trailing 11:14. VfB did not lose their tempo and scored another two points but eventually Knack found back their best play – the same they have showed to impress everyone in the prelims of this year’s Champions League – to make it 24 all. VfB dissipated three match balls before the guests from Belgium had the final word at 31-33.
The hosts were evidently shocked after missing on that opportunity and could no more display the same quality they had showed in set 1 and 2. Knack stepped up especially in blocking and the guests – though already qualified to the Playoffs 12 – looked determined to go for the tie-break so as to finish the prelims with an immaculate record of six victories. They did so by sealing the fourth set 16-25 and they stretched that momentum also the fifth where they quickly moved up 5:9. VfB stormed back to flip the charts around (10:9) but once again could not hold on and the Belgians wrapped it up at 11-15 for their sixth straight victory.
“We never give up and this is how we could win tonight as well” said their head coach Rousseaux.
“We had a chance to finish this game in straight sets but if you do not exploit that kind of opportunity then you will be punished by teams like ROESELARE” commented home mentor Stelian Moculescu.
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