Russian rookie Guberniya qualifies to CEV Cup Challenge Round
2014 CEV Volleyball Cup - Men
Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia, January 24, 2014. Russia’s rookie in this year’s European Cups, Guberniya NIZHNIY NOVGOROD, qualified on Thursday to the Challenge Round of the 2014 CEV Volleyball Cup – Men with a 3:1 home victory (19-25, 25-19, 25-19, and 25-17) over Arago de SETE to follow on the 3:0 away win they had claimed last week in France. In early February Guberniya will continue their campaign playing Olympiacos PIRAEUS of Greece for a spot in the semis.
After routing their opponents in straight sets last week, Guberniya just needed to take another two sets from this home game to make the Challenge Round. However, it was not that easy especially since Arago de SETE caught a terrific start and their pace was not slowed down by the time-outs asked by Guberniya head coach Plamen Konstantinov. The Bulgarian-born mentor tried to change the course of the game also with some substitutions but it did not work as his players made a way too many mistakes while Arago played superbly in reception to pave the way for a good performance also in attack.
Things changed in the second set where Guberniya stabilized their reception and could break away in the score shortly after the first technical time-out. Nikolay Pavlov and Milos Nikic were the players who anchored the home side to the final 25-21 to restore the balance in sets.
The score was close only in the early phases of the third set before Guberniya claimed a six-point lead on good serving by Alexey Ostapenko. Even though the players of Arago de SETE displayed a good performance and great attitude, Sergey Savin sealed the 25-19 whereby Guberniya pocketed their ticket to the Challenge Round.
The fourth set was not that important anymore so the French mentor decided to rest his opposite player Thomas Lamoise – who was slightly injured – while Guberniya changed five members of their original starting six, plus their libero. This did not prevent the home side from playing well and cruising to the 25-17 that sealed their 3:1 home victory.
“Though the injuries we have been struggling with affected the final result of this game, our defeat is also due to the strength of our opponent” commented Arago de SETE head coach Patrick Duflos. “We played very good for two sets and a half but this was not enough to win tonight.”
“We played a very good game and even though we lost in the end we can be satisfied with the result and with our performance” said Dutch middle-blocker Lars Lorsheijd. “All Russian teams are very strong and Guberniya proved it once more tonight.”
“It is not that easy to adjust to their way of playing Volleyball. Arago de SETE plays with a style that is much different from what we are used to here in the Russian Superleague” commented Guberniya mentor Plamen Konstantinov. “They are very good in defence, dig deep to catch every ball and wait for your mistakes. If you are not patient, you start making mistakes and this is what happened during the first set. As soon as we started playing our normal way, we got full control of the match.”
“We are going to play Olympiacos PIRAEUS in the Challenge Round: I think they stand at the same level as Arago de SETE which means that if you do not play your best, you can lose to an opponent that is not as strong as you are” said Guberniya setter Mikko Esko. “If we play our best and we show what we are capable of, I think we stand a good chance to make the Finals.”
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