Volero makes Playoffs 12 after home victory over Romanian champions
2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Women
Zurich, Switzerland, December 12, 2013. On Thursday Switzerland’s Volero ZÜRICH claimed a very important game against Romania’s champions Stiinta BACAU (3:1; 25-16, 25-23, 26-28, and 25-23) after a very close fight in the third set and at the very beginning of the fourth. The Swiss champion could rely again on top scorer Olesia Rykhliuk (22 points) to qualify for the Playoffs 12 of the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League while rookie BACAU was paced by Alexandra Sobo in their losing effort with 21.
The last game of the group stage in front of home crowd was already a deciding one for Volero. The Swiss got the opportunity to secure their second place in Pool F and move on to the Playoffs 12.
Dragutin Baltic’s team started strong-minded into the game against the Romanians. An early 14:8 lead was the consequence of their good performance. Stiinta BACAU wasn’t able to react and only got some points when Volero committed unforced errors. The Swiss champion won the first set without any problems with the score of 25-16.
Florin Grapa’s players started better into the second set and even took an early lead. However, Volero changed pace and turned the game around. The Swiss increased the lead continuously by a fast offensive play, but suddenly committed too many errors. The game became tight as the Romanians tied the score at 21 all after recovering from a 16:21 deficit. Nevertheless, Dragutin Baltic’s team stayed cool and brought it home at 25-23.
The Swiss champion already could end the game in the third set. Baltic’s players seemed to be inspired by this opportunity and could start with a good pace. Nevertheless, Stiinta fought their way back into the game and could even turn the charts around. The hosts on the other side started to struggle. Even the important kills by Volero top scorer Olesia Rykhliuk couldn’t bring back the right self-confidence to the home team. The guests showed their determination and eventually called for a fourth set (26-28).
The Romanians showed that same momentum also in the fourth set while Volero continued to struggle. As a consequence, the game became tight. This suddenly changed as Baltic’s players found back the good play they had showed in the opening set. The Romanians had big problems with the higher pace imposed by the Swiss. Florin Grapa’s team showed a big fighting spirit, but couldn’t stop anymore Volero which won the set by 25-23 and the match to qualify to the Playoffs 12.
Volero assistant coach Jan Lindenmair said: “Even if we are happy with this important win and the qualification to the Playoffs 12, we want to improve for the next international games. We started really well and concentrated. However, our lack of concentration in the third set brought our opponent back into the game.”
Volero captain Mira Golubovic: “This is a very important victory for us. We knew it would be a hard game today against Stiinta. We started off strong, but as BACAU pushed more we began to struggle. There was no pressure on us. We wanted to give our best. This was our motivation.”
Stiinta BACAU coach Florin Grapa: “It was a hard but exciting game today. We didn’t start into the game as we wanted, but we fought our way back. By the most important moments we committed too many errors; maybe not all of my players did their maximum.”
Stiinta setter Kim Staelens concluded: “I think our performance was pretty okay. The first set was a big loss, but as we served better afterwards we could find our way back into the game. We have to refocus and to win the game next week against Tauron if we want to be third in this Pool and be promoted to the Challenge Round of the CEV Volleyball Cup.”
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