Belogorie finish prelims without dropping a set to cap memorable year
2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Men
Maaseik, Belgium, December 18, 2013. Russian giants Belogorie BELGOROD showed once more their class to finish the prelims of the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League with a perfect record of six wins in as many matches after they downed Belgium’s Noliko MAASEIK in straight sets on Wednesday night (25-22, 25-21, and 25-18). Belogorie is the only team that did not drop a set since the start of the season and will be a very tough opponent for any other Volleyball standout in the Playoffs. The game was attended by 2,400 fans at the Lotto Dôme who came together to support the home guys and also see some of the world’s best players in action.
Noliko was missing their best spiker Jelte Maan due to injury while Kristof Hoho was also out after suffering a heart attack during Saturday’s national league game with Knack ROESELARE. On top of this, Noliko could not line up their starting setter Matthias Valkiers and therefore the hosts were evidently sidelined while taking on a mission impossible with the Russian giant. Belogorie set the pace of the game right from the start (3:5, 8:10) and even though Belgian mentor Erik Verstraten stopped the match by the time his side was trailing 17:20, he could not prevent BELGOROD from widening their lead and cruising to the final 22-25.
Things did not change also in the second set where Belogorie had a margin of three points by the first technical time-out (5:8) and even though MAASEIK stormed back to 17:18 – with the Russian coach asking for his first time-out since the start of the game – the guests could find back their rhythm and cash also the second set (21-25).
Belogorie opened with a 0:3 run in the third set before Matias Raymaekers brought back equality in the score. The Belgians fought very hard to keep the pace of their opponents (6:8, 12:12, and 15:18) but again BELGOROD was too much to stand and could finish the game in straight sets (18-25).
“We are very happy with this victory, it was our goal to win all of our matches in 2013 and we could succeed in achieving it” said the German opposite of Belogorie, Georg Grozer (pictured) who was happy with the support he received from some fans of his former team MOERSER SC.
“I am not satisfied, we played well but we lost in straight sets because of some silly mistakes” said Belgian mentor Erik Verstraten. “However, I have to admit that Belogorie is an excellent team and they showed their value tonight.”
Grozer top scored in the game with 12 points while US American Jeff Menzel paced the home side with 10.
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