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20/03/2016 18:06
Two sets enough for Fakel to secure ticket to Challenge Cup finals
2016 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup - Men

Menen, Belgium, March 20, 2016. After an impressive 3-0 home victory claimed by Fakel NOVY URENGOY last Wednesday, Belgium’s Prefaxis MENEN did not manage to turn the odds and qualify for the 2016 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup – Men final following the re-match contested on Sunday. The Russian team secured their qualification thanks to impressive blocking and spiking in the first two sets before winning the match at the tie-break (25-20, 25-23, 23-25, 21-25, 15-5).

Fakel NOVY URENGOY began the re-match with the same players as in the first leg, whereas Prefaxis MENEN replaced their captain Jelle Sinnesael with Dries Heyrman. After a missed spike of opposite Jonas Kvalen, the visitors claimed a three-point lead at the first technical time-out. The hosts immediately fought back and levelled the count at 8-all. The Russian middle blockers however were reigning at the net and took the lead after a block of Ivan Iakovlev on Tim Smit (11-10). Despite the first points scored by Prefaxis star opposite Kvalen, NOVY URENGOY extended their lead to 16-13 at the second technical time-out. An impressive Egor Kliuka and an equally imposing Ilia Vlasov (pictured, #2) made sure the Russians would capitalise on it, and Tim Smit gave the first set to Fakel after serving off the bounds (25-20).

Prefaxis MENEN knew what to do after the lost first set since NOVY URENGOY only just needed one more set win to qualify for the final. The visitors however kept on acting very strong. The 212cm tall Vlasov blocked twice for 3-1. The hosts still managed to stay in the slipstream thanks to a clean sheet of Peter Kromann Jensen (the substitute of Anshel Ver Eecke). Robbe Vandeweyer also scored twice to keep the deficit down to one point after the first technical time-out. A block of Dries Heyrman on Igor Tiurin made it 11-all. After a Russian net fault, the visiting coach even had to ask a time-out with the home side leading 13-12. When Igor Kolodinskiy missed his serve at 16-14, an infernal noise made by the local fans guided the players to the second technical time-out. NOVY URENGOY was not impressed at all and claimed the lead back at 17-16. MENEN clawed back and a very strong Jensen scored the 20-20. After a yellow card to Dmitrii Volkov for provoking the local public, an ace of Kvalen gave more hope to the home team (23-22), but it was Kliuka who secured the qualification for the Russian team (25-23) with strong serving.

Despite a lot of substitutions on the Russian side, NOVY URENGOY immediately claimed the lead also in the third set (6-2). Prefaxis MENEN fought back to 11-12 thanks to some nice serves by Jonas Kvalen and a block on Denis Shipotko. Another block of Dries Heyrman levelled the count at 15-all. A kill block of Jelle Sinnesael (22-21) made Prefaxis dream of another set look realistic and Jonas Kvalen – best scorer in the end on 26 points – brought his team on set point (24-22). Peter Jensen gave MENEN a deserved set victory (25-23).

Prefaxis MENEN also won the fourth set (25-21) but the starting six of NOVY URENGOY easily secured the 3-2 victory in the tie-break (15-5) thanks to impressive serving of their opposite Tiurin.

“We did not play a bad game, but the Russians were very solid in block and attack. The second set was very close but unfortunately Fakel NOVY URENGOY started serving very good at that moment. This team was too strong but our European adventure has been a very nice experience,” said Jelle Sinnesael, the team captain of Prefaxis MENEN.

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the match

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