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26/02/2014 23:00
LATINA routs ISTANBUL BBSK to set sight on Challenge Cup final
2014 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup - Men

Latina, Italy, February 26, 2014. The silver medalists from last year’s CEV Volleyball Cup, Italy’s Andreoli LATINA needed only three sets on Wednesday to rout ISTANBUL BBSK of Turkey (25-18, 25-13, and 25-22) and get the right edge after completion of the first leg in the semis of the 2014 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup – Men. The hosts of Andreoli played a perfect game in the first and second sets before they had to stand more resistance in the third but could nevertheless wrap it up in three sets. This means LATINA will need to take only two sets on Sunday in Istanbul to make it to the last act of the competition.

Andreoli was off to a good start and two aces by Todor Skrimov widened their lead to 13:9 in the opening set; Sergio Noda added another couple of points for the home side to make it 17:12 and even though ISTANBUL BBSK top scorer Gundars Celitans reduced the gap to 18:16, the final spurt fully belonged to LATINA that finished it off with an ace by Sasa Starovic and two superb blocks by Pieter Verhees (25-18).

ISTANBUL BBSK mentor Nedim Ozbey decided to change his setter for the start of the second set, but after a very close start it was Verhees who claimed a very narrow lead for the home side with an ace (7:5). Andreoli then accelerated the pace and made it 16:10 at the second technical time-out with another ace, this time scored by Skrimov. Sergio Noda took the home side by the hand down the final stretch and LATINA finished it off with a superb 25-13.

Ozbey confirmed Selcuk Keskin as ISTANBUL BBSK setter also in the third set but once again it was Pieter Verhees who first broke the tie at 8:6. The Belgian middle-blocker then aced for the provisional 13:10, but the guests were able to fight back and level the score at 13 all. After another close run, Skrimov blocked for the 22:21 in favor of the hosts, before an ace by Carmelo Gitto sealed the final 3:0 victory for the home heroes (25-22).

Sasa Starovic top scored in the end with 18 points winning the duel with ISTANBUL BBSK opposite Gundars Celitans who registered 14. Pieter Verhees (pictured) also finished the game in double digits with 11 points, including two aces and four blocks.

“Today we played with the right attitude and confidence” commented Andreoli head coach Dario Simoni. “Now we have to travel to Turkey knowing that we need to win another game in order to make the final. We have to play as we did tonight, with determination. We still have to be careful because teams like ISTANBUL BBSK played in a totally different way at home than away.”
“This victory does not mean anything” added Daniele Sottile. “We have to win also in Istanbul and fight up to the very last point. We’ll see what the result will be in the end.”
“You can’t imagine how much eager we were to show what we are capable of. Tonight we have showed what we have lacked in the national league so far. They have a great team, with excellent players, but they will feel a lot of pressure on Sunday because they are obliged to win to go for the golden set” concluded Spaniard Sergio Noda.

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the match

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