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02/04/2016 20:14
BR Volleys celebrate historic European title after commanding win over SURGUT!
2016 CEV Volleyball Cup - Men

Surgut, Russia, April 2, 2016. The grand finale of the 2016 CEV Volleyball Cup – Men ended with a commanding 3-0 victory (25-18, 25-18, 25-18) for Germany’s BERLIN Recycling Volleys in the re-match with Russia’s Gazprom-Ugra SURGUT. The BR Volleys – who had started their European journey earlier this season in the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – celebrated their first major international title routing an opponent that was side-lined by the absence of key players such as Kostyantin Bakun, Nikolay Apalikov, Aleksa Brdjovic and libero Aleksey Kabeshov.

As a result, everything went just easy for the team from the German capital. The BR Volleys – who had recorded a 3-2 home win over SURGUT last Tuesday – claimed an early 7-3 lead in the first set before SURGUT responded to cut their deficit down to one point at 7-6. However, after the break the Germans extended their advantage again to 11-7 before Gazprom-Ugra fought back again (14-13). Robert Kromm restored the German leadership in the match (19-13) and the set came to an end at 25-18, with as many as 11 mistakes made by the Russian team to evidently impact the final result.  

The score remained close up to 11-10 for the BR Volleys in the second set; after that SURGUT made three straight mistakes, as libero Evgenii Andreev failed to control the ball, Ruslan Askerov spiked out of bounds and Aleksey Rodichev could not stop a pipe attack by Paul Lotman. The only moment of excitement for the home fans came when Andreev jumped over the advertising boards to catch the ball and that same rally was finished by Sergey Ershov to move the score to 20:14 for the Germans. Any attempt made by SURGUT to come back into the match was fruitless and the BR Volleys stayed strong to cash also the second set 25-18.

The hosts tried to play their best in the third set but the superiority of the BR Volleys was undeniable. As they were missing most of their key players, SURGUT could not pose a threat to their opponents who showed a well-organised game to lift a European trophy for the first time in their history.

“The BR Volleys have a good and complete team and weak teams do not get to the finals of a European Cup,” said Gazprom-Ugra SURGUT coach Ruslan Zhbankov. “We have a very tough national league and our players have been suffering a number of micro traumas lately which prevented them from playing at the level they should perform. The team did a great job making it to the final and they can be proud of this achievement.”

Team captain Aleksey Rodichev said: “Today we played a very tough opponent, an excellent team which is very well organised. Though we were missing some players, we still believed we could win if we had served well and stuck to our game plan. These were the main component of our strategy for this match but in the end we failed.”

The coach of the BR Volleys, Roberto Serniotti said: “It was a surprise for us when last night we found out that Bakun, Brdjovic and Apalikov would not play. However, we decided to focus solely on our game. Gazprom-Ugra is a great team and they play with a style which is totally different from what we are used to. They play power Volleyball, taking a lot of risks from the service line, their block is incredibly high, but in the end we won because we also played with our own style. I am pleasantly surprised by the way this final was organised and the warm welcome the local fans deserved to us. Though their favourite team lost, we received a lot of congratulations and a nice photo shooting was organised at the end. I would like to thank everyone for such warm welcome. For us this is a first European title and you can only imagine how happy we are!”

The Australian opposite of the BR Volleys, Paul Carroll commented: “The main thing was not to look at the opponent, play fast and play the way we are used to, our own game. I think that here we played at a higher level than we did in Berlin even though we had a long night flight to Surgut. We will leave already on Sunday morning at 5am, so we will maybe drink some vodka at the hotel and relax a bit, nothing more, because we have an important match of the national league awaiting us.”

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the match

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