PAOK returns to European Cups action with straight home victory
2014 CEV Volleyball Cup - Men
Thessaloniki, Greece, October 23, 2013. On Tuesday Greece’s PAOK THESSALONIKI started their European adventure in the best possible way as they downed Croatia’s Mladost Marina KASTELA in straight sets (25-17, 25-14, and 25-20) in the first round of the 2014 CEV Volleyball Cup – Men. With this result PAOK celebrated a superb comeback on the international scene after missing the European Cups for many years (their last appearance dates back to the 2007/2008 season). PAOK and Mladost Marina KASTELA will cross their ways once more next October 30 for the return game.
After their straight win at home, PAOK only needs to take one point from that match to make it to the next round; only after a 3:0 or 3:1 home victory for Mladost Marina a golden set would be played.
PAOK set the tone of the game right from the start on Tuesday (16:9, 21:16) and easily pocketed the opening set at 25-17 with an attack by Enea Tzelati. The plot of the game did not change also in the second set where PAOK cruised to a 20:10 lead to sweep their rivals with a terrific 25-14 as Tzelati and Aleksandar Milkov were scoring from all angles and the hosts displayed good serving combined with a solid block. The third set was a little closer with Mladost Marina KASTELA getting the lead twice (4:5 and 15:16); however, PAOK showed their composure and quality to bring it home in straight sets (25-20) to the joy of the President of the Hellenic Volleyball Federation, Achilleas Mavromatis, who was also in attendance.
“This was only the first step in our attempt to make it to the next round of this competition. We still want to claim another victory next Wednesday as we travel to Croatia” commented PAOK THESSALONIKI head coach Stelios Kazazis.
“PAOK was the better team tonight and deservedly won this game” commented Mladost Marina KASTELA head coach Ivan Rancic. “They have experienced players like Milkov, Jernej Potocnik or Simo Dabovic. We had travelled for 20 hours to come to Thessaloniki and were really tired. Our reception worked quite well in set 1 and 2 but our attacks were bad. However, I hope that we will show a totally different face in the next game. PAOK is surely the pre-favourite because they have got experience at this level but we will play our best and try to seize any chance we may get to make the next round”.
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