Paris, France, March 29, 2014. Experienced European Cups contestant PARIS Volley found a way to turn things around against Russian rookie Guberniya NIZHNIY NOVGOROD and to win the 2014 CEV Volleyball Cup - Men. Having incurred a bad 0-3 away loss in the first match, the French side brought joy to its fans at home by overpowering Guberniya by 3:1 (25-23, 23-25, 25-21, 25-19) and then claiming the crucial Golden Set by 15-11.
Supported by a group of fans of its own, the visiting team was in control for the solid part of the first set as Nikolay Pavlov was putting on a good spiking show. The French side experienced some difficulties with its middle blockers, but generally showed that it had the intention of playing way more aggressively than it did in the first leg on Wednesday. Marko Ivovic gave the opponents some pressure with his serves and PARIS not only tied the score at 20-20, but also gained the advantage for 22-20. No team could make a break point through the end of the set and it ended at 25-23 PARIS’s way.
The second set saw many ups and downs in the score. Marko Ivovic first impressed with a couple of successful pipe attacks and then with a series of serves that gave PARIS a 16-12 lead at the second technical time-out. But then it was time for Pavlov to serve and Guberniya reversed what had just been done to move to a 17-16 advantage. The Russians controlled the rest of the set to tie the match after a 25-23 shaped up by a successful spike by Pavlov.
At 1-1 was the last time the score was tied in the third set. With a series of 5 consecutive points, again with Ivovic behind the serving line, the French took a 9-3 lead and never looked back. Their attacks were almost impossible for the opponents to stop and they maintained a comfortable gap between themselves and Guberniya to win the set by 25-21.
At this point, the Russians probably realized that winning the trophy was not even nearly as certain as they may have thought it to be after their crushing victory in the first leg. They started making way too many unforced errors to help their opponents gain what they were looking for. PARIS took the set by 25-19 to prompt a so desired Golden Set.
With the momentum on their side, the French came out on court in full concentration, while coach Plamen Konstantinov’s players looked quite lost and quite nervous. PARIS’s perfect reception set the stage for the spikers to shine and the home side broke away in the score to never look back again. Inspired by the 1,000 fans on the stands, PARIS went for the final push and upon closing the Golden Set at 15-11 burst into celebrations.
Nikolay Pavlov made an impressive record of 35 points in the five sets played to become the best scorer of this encounter. Marko Ivovic was the most prolific player for the winning side, scoring 28 points, as teammate Mory Sidibe contributed another 25 to the victory.
was honored as the MVP (Most Valuable Player)
during the Awarding Ceremony after the match. “After last Wednesday’s match, we said that in order to win we have to play very well and so we did. I am very happy,” were the emotional words of the Serbian volleyballer upon receiving the award. Looking forward, he added: “We have to go step by step. The first one is next Saturday - the final of French Cup against TOURS.”
“How am I living through this victorious moment? With a smile!” Mory Sidibe added. “It is great! Few people thought we could won, but we did it. We needed a miracle and we did something quite impossible at first sight. It is huge! I am proud about what we did, I am proud of my team. An European title makes me very, very happy!”
“It is the best title I have ever won in my volleyball life!” another PARIS player, Jeroen Trommel, exclaimed. “We never know, but winning the title after losing by 0-3 in the first match, with the crowd behind us - it cannot be any better for the players.”
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