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09/04/2016 20:58
Fairytale continues for Pomì CASALMAGGIORE by reaching CEV DenizBank Champions League gold medal match
2016 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Women

Montichiari, Italy, 9 April 2016. Pomì CASALMAGGIORE will play VakifBank ISTANBUL in the 2016 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League gold medal match after defeating 2014 champions Dinamo KAZAN 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-19) in the second Final Four semifinal at PalaGeorge.  

The win continues a remarkable rise for the host side who won the Italian league title for the first time last season and have had a fantastic run in their debut season in European competition.  

In the first set, Pomì were spurred on by a vociferous home crowd that backed them during every point. The teams stayed level early on, but captain Valentina Tirozzi led her team’s charge and they edged ahead by five points at 17-12. However, Dinamo responded and closed the gap down to one as they trailed 19-18. Pomì stormed ahead again and took the set 25-19 against a depleted Dinamo side, who were without Ekaterina Gamova and Evgeniya Startseva due to food poisoning.  

Pomì continued their fine form in the second set and raced into a 5-1 lead against a Russian team whose dozen or so travelling fans were continually drowned out by those dressed in pink. Carli Lloyd served continually and Pomì led by eight at the second technical time-out after a sensational rally between the two teams. The Russian side responded with a couple of points but the Italians pushed on and Lloyd was in the action again as her superb backflick made it 22-18 to the home side. Francesca Piccinini top scored as Pomì won 25-18.  

Dinamo bounced back at the start of the third set as they put points on the board to lead 8-6 at the first technical time-out. After losing to Lokomotiv BAKU in their final match of the pool phase, this was Dinamo’s second defeat in the competition and it was a costly one. Pomì won four consecutive points to lead 10-8. A duo of aces followed in quick succession to put the Italians 15-11 up and the result was a formality after that. Jovana Stevanovic was another thorn in the Dinamo side and she helped establish a seven-point gap at 22-15. Eight match points were in Pomì’s favour and Lauren Gibbemeyer spiked them into the gold medal match. They took the set 25-19.  

The result means that Dinamo KAZAN will play Fenerbahçe Grundig ISTANBUL in the bronze medal match on Sunday after the latter were beaten 3-0 by rivals VakifBank in the first semifinal, earlier on Saturday.

Valentina Tirozzi, Pomì CASALMAGGIORE captain: “I don’t think it was easy. We approached the game in a good way, very aggressive. Dinamo KAZAN probably didn’t expect this kind of approach from us. It was a little easier because they made lots of mistakes. We were good because we took advantage to win the game. I didn’t expect a game like this in three sets."  

“In our own house our fans are always amazing and they could be the difference tomorrow because they bring us up with their voices. Tomorrow we must be very brave, we will do our best and they are maybe the strongest team in the world right now.”

Carli Lloyd, Pomì CASALMAGGIORE: “We were up a few points and they would come back. They have great arms and can hit the ball really hard. They put us in difficult situations but we didn’t let them go and get on runs. Maybe for the public it’s a surprise that we won in three but we were really prepared for this match. Feeling the support and energy like we did tonight from the fans is important for us. We are a team full of energy and I think people notice that about us, that we work together.”

Elitsa Vasileva, Dinamo KAZAN: “I can’t say anything because no-one expected they would play this way. We started to play well in the second set but maybe it was too late. Congratulations to CASALMAGGIORE, they played great volleyball. We should have showed something better.”  

Antonella Del Core, Dinamo KAZAN: “They pushed too much and played a great match. They were so aggressive and we made a lot of mistakes. We did not focus so much and we did not play well today.”

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