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18/04/2016 22:31
POLICE and SOPOT extend rivalry in Polish national league finals
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Sopot, Poland, April 18, 2016. Chemik POLICE and PGE Atom Trefl SOPOT are about to start the most important stage of their campaign in Poland’s national league. Two of the three teams that represented Poland in the 2016 edition of the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Women are about to cross their ways in the final stage of their national championship with the first two matches coming up on Tuesday and Wednesday. The winner of the national league will emerge after claiming three wins in a ‘best of five’ series.

About a year ago Chemik and PGE Atom played each other in the national cup final as well as in the championship series of their national league. The Atomic Girls claimed the national cup after a dramatic five-set match before Chemik POLICE made amends for this setback by recording three wins to one for SOPOT in the national league finals.

POLICE and SOPOT have been the dominant forces this season as well, and they played each other also in the final of the 2016 national cup, which took place on April 2 in Kalisz. Lorenzo Micelli’s team lost this crucial game by 1-3, so his players are really determined and motivated before the national league finals start on Tuesday night. The Atomic Girls have lost all of their four matches with Chemik this season and only once they were close to upsetting their arch-rivals.

“We see this championship series as an opportunity to make amends for our losses in the national cup and Supercup earlier this season. We lost to POLICE too many times so far. They are surely under pressure, because they kind of must win the title. We will do our best to disrupt their plans. Chemik POLICE are the favourites, without any doubts. But we are not totally satisfied with our second place,” says Maja Tokarska, PGE Atom’s middle blocker.

Possibly, the most imminent rival for the Atomic Girls is not just Chemik, but their own tiredness. Suddenly, according to the national league’s decision, the final matches have been moved from April 21-22 to 19-20. This means that the PGE Atom players, who finished their semi-final matches on April 15, only had two practices in their home venue Ergo Arena before travelling to Szczecin on Monday afternoon. Chemik finished their semi-final series on April 8 already, so they might be in better shape for the first round of the championship series.

“Well, they gave us a ‘little surprise’ with this revised schedule, so we really have not much time to prepare ourselves for the next matches. Nevertheless I am convinced that we will do our maximum in such short time to be in the best possible condition in Szczecin,” says Klaudia Kaczorowska, one of SOPOT’s outside spikers.

What will be the most important factor in such short preparation time? “Indeed, we will do our best to recover, both physically and mentally. Surely it would be nice to have much more time to get a little rest, but when you have to play games like these, I mean the final ones of the season there is no other possibility than to play your maximum. Sometimes you play on something called ‘fantasy’, some other times you are being lifted by the emotions and these help you not to feel the tiredness,” adds Katarzyna Zaroslinska, the best opposite of PGE Atom. “I know that we will leave our hearts on the court. I have been dreaming about that gold medal last year already, so it still remains one of my ultimate dreams. We realise that it won’t be easy, but I hope we will show the good things we have been doing in practice and make it work during the matches too,” she continues.

In the semis PGE Atom Trefl defeated Impel WROCLAW 2-1. Chemik, on the other hand, was visibly better than Tauron MKS DABROWA GORNICZA, taking two straight victories without dropping any single set. After the upcoming clashes in Szczecin scheduled for April 19 and 20, one or two more matches will follow on April 28 and 29 at Ergo Arena in Gdansk-Sopot.

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