Romanian rookie wins CL home debut
2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Women
Bacau, Romania, October 29, 2013. That was a night that the fans of Romania’s rookie Stiinta BACAU will remember for a long time as on Tuesday the local heroines claimed their first home match in Europe’s elite club competition, the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League, edging Switzerland’s Volero ZURICH at the tie-break (17-25, 27-25, 25-20, 8-25, and 15-13). This is the comeback Stiinta wanted to achieve after last week they had suffered a straight-set defeat to Poland’s Tauron MKS DABROWA GORNICZA in their CL premiere.
Actually Volero performed really strong right from the go with their opposite Olesya Rykhliuk and Cuban spiker Kenia Carcaces dictating the tempo of the game (3:8). Stiinta did not surrender and played with glowing hearts displaying good skills especially in defense but still Volero had a very comfortable lead at the second technical time-out (9:16). Stiinta BACAU setter Kim Staelens showed good command of the game but even though she mobilized all of her weapons in attack, the guests could cruise to the final 17-25 and a provisional lead in sets.
Stiinta and Volero showed great blocks in the early phases of the second set and the score was very close (8:7); things did not change also halfway through the set with Stiinta still leading the way with the slimmest margin at the second mandatory stop (16:15). Stiinta showed again excellent blocks and after trailing for a while, BACAU fought their way back to draw level at 24 all after Volero had missed out on a set ball. BACAU showed good composure and with a hit killed by their middle-blocker Emilce Fabiana Sosa wrapped it up at 27-25 to draw level in sets.
The game was really tight also in the opening of the third set (8:5) but after that BACAU minimized their mistakes and started playing with great consistency to break away in the score (16:10). Once more their blocks were very good and supported by the serves of Monika Potokar, while middle-blocker Alexandra Sobo also contributed to that positive run. BACAU pressured their opponents a lot but Volero did not give in and kept close (19:15); however, with another change of their pace Stiinta accelerated their play and finished it off at 25-20.
Things changed completely in the fourth set where home mentor Florin Grapa asked for an early time-out as his team was trailing 2:4; Carcaces served strong to move the score up to 4:8 and Volero did not look back anymore, making it to the second technical time-out with a margin of ten points and finishing it with a terrific 8-25.
After that blackout, Stiinta fought their way back in the tie-break looking very determined to cash their first victory in the competition. Volero opened with a 2:0 run and still was up as teams changed sides of the court (7:8) before BACAU fired back (10:8, 12:10); though the Swiss were anchored by Rykhliuk – who in the end top scored with 37 points! – Stiinta kept cool and with the help of the home crowd could get the party started after wrapping it up at 15-13. Sosa and Sobo were the most prolific players for the home side as they registered 20 and 16 points respectively.
“We did a great job tonight and we are of course happy with the result” Stiinta captain Denisa Rogojinaru said. “My team delivered a perfect performance tonight and we did not make that many mistakes” added head coach Florin Grapa. “I am really satisfied though we still can improve our reception.”
“Though we played really well tonight we lost” said Volero mentor Jan Lindenmair. “It was a tough game with a very close score in the end. We needed to be a little more focused and attentive in order to win this match.” “I have to congratulate BACAU because they have built up a very good team” concluded Volero team captain, Romanian-born Nneka Obiamaka Onyejekwe.
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