Belgorod, Russia, March 15, 2017. A truly die-hard spirit helped Belogorie BELGOROD cruise to a 3-1 victory (13-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-20) in their first encounter on schedule for the Playoffs 12 of the 2017 CEV Volleyball Champions League – Men where they hosted and played Poland’s reigning national champions Zaksa KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE.
It was a match where the two teams had to show nerves of steel. The first set was some kind of a nightmare for the home crowd as the hosts trailed 0-4 and 4-11 before they ended up losing it at a canter (13-25). The receivers of Belogorie seemed not able to find a way to control the challenging services coming from the other side of the net, especially through Mateusz Bieniek.
In the second set, home coach Alexander Kosarev replaced Artem Smolyar with Dmytro Teryomenko, and this move paid dividends. Even though Zaksa could rush ahead coming back from 13-18 to lead 19-18, once again with the help provided by Bieniek’s float services, Teryomenko stepped up to contribute to a decisive spurt at the end of the second set as Belogorie took it 25-21
The third and fourth sets were a real thriller. The two teams exchanged the lead back and forth many times, as Zaksa played extremely well in defence, while Belogorie tried to use all of their power at spiking and serving. Finally, Dmitriy Muserskiy was the best scorer for his team and of the entire match as well with 23 points. Zaksa’s best scorer Sam Deroo registered 21 markers.
After the match, Belogorie coach Alexander Kosarev stated that the team spirit and character made the difference for his team. “We made too many mistakes and could not cope with Zaksa’s service in the first set. However, we could survive after that shock and were able to change the course of the game in our favour.”
Zaksa’s outside hitter Sam Deroo said that nothing is over yet. “There’s still a second match. I hope that at home we can do a little bit more than we did today. If we play with the same quality as we did here in the first set, I think we can accomplish our mission.”
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