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06/12/2017 19:40
‘Block Devils’ claim remake of 2017 semi-final in dramatic ‘Match of the Week’
2018 CEV Volleyball Champions League - Men

Luxembourg, December 6, 2017. The eagerly anticipated Italian derby featuring Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA and Sir Colussi Sicoma PERUGIA lived up to the expectations with the ‘Match of the Week’ producing a real drama – and ending in a come-from-behind victory for the ‘Block Devils’ of PERUGIA in a replay of the 2017 semi-final. Zenit KAZAN surprisingly lost one set to rookies Spacer’s TOULOUSE VB but eventually swept the following three to start their quest for a fourth straight CEV Volleyball Champions League crown in style. Newcomers CHAUMONT VB 52 Haute Marne produced the sensation of the night with their 3-1 away victory over PGE Skra BELCHATOW but JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel promptly restored Poland’s honour as they stormed to a 3-0 home victory over the BR Volleys. Zaksa KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE pulled out a 3-0 victory over Arkas IZMIR to open the second night of play in the group stage of the 2018 CEV Volleyball Champions League – Men. The visitors from Poland claimed three almost equally close sets to take the top spot in the current standing of Pool E.

Sir Colussi Sicoma PERUGIA (ITA) vs. Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA (ITA) 3-2 (28-30, 20-25, 25-23, 25-19, 15-9)

•    In the first set, PERUGIA had an extraordinary winning streak thanks to Atanasijevic. During the second set, Atanasjievic scored three times in a row, including an ace measured at 119 km/h.
•    Cucine Lube changed the course of the game in the second set moving the score from 13-16 to 21-17 in their favour.
•    In the third set, Atanasijevic scored three consecutive aces, finishing this section of the game with 10 points of his own and a 90% success rate in attack.
•    PERUGIA won the fourth set without making any mistakes in attack.
•    MVP Atanasijevic scored 34 points, with a 67% rate of successful attacks.


Aleksandar Atanasijevic, player of Sir Colussi Sicoma PERUGIA: “This evening we demonstrated our character, we showed that we are a big team and that we can play as a real collective. This win is extremely important for us because it allows us to keep working with the right spirit and focus. We will have a long way to go in this competition, but we are determined to achieve further success and we want to win again.”

Giampaolo Medei, head coach of Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA: “This was an extremely important match. We had to show more determination and concentration. It is important to maintain our concentration also during the second part of a match. This evening we paid a high price as we failed to do so and because of our own mistakes. All of my congratulations to PERUGIA.”

PGE Skra BELCHATOW (POL) vs. CHAUMONT VB 52 Haute Marne (FRA) 1-3 (25-19, 18-25, 19-25, 27-29)


•    The clear favourite of this game eventually lost it despite winning the opening set in emphatic style. The French rookies making their first ever appearance in the CEV Champions League showed great determination and they caught a perfect start to their campaign in the very competitive Pool C.
•    The match reached its climax in the fourth set, when Stephen Boyer failed to cash a match point for the visitors and the challenge after the next rally resulted in a set point for PGE Skra. Boyer finished a difficult point and it was the last chance for PGE Skra to come back into the game. The last point for the visitors came from a great serve of Javier Augusto Gonzalez Panton.
•    The Hala Energia in Bełchatów serves as the venue for Skra’s Champions League home matches only from time to time, as the Polish powerhouse usually play their most important games in Atlas Arena in Łódź, some 50 km from Bełchatów. However, it is worth mentioning that the last team to claim an away victory at Hala Energia was Germany’s VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN back in 2008 and PGE Skra hold an impressive record of 13 wins out of 17 matches contested in this stadium. The reigning French champions are the fifth side to claim a victory there.
•    Powerful serves were a major asset for CHAUMONT VB 52 and the best example came at the end of the third set, when Nikola Mijailovic closed that part with two aces in a row, and the final point of the match scored by Gonzalez Panton.
•    PGE Skra made 31 mistakes in this match, including 24 serves.
•    Stephen Boyer was the true leader of the French champions, killing 8 out of 12 attacks in the second set, 6/8 in the third plus 10/12 in the last. The 21-year old opposite scored 33 points in Bełchatów to crown his CEV Volleyball Champions League debut with success. The rising star of European Volleyball killed 65% of his attacks (26/40) and added four blocks and three aces to his personal tally.


Silvano Prandi, head coach of CHAUMONT VB 52: “I could not recognise my team in the first set, we played very negative. Fortunately, in the next sets we started to play our Volleyball – it is not the greatest in the world, but it is a really good one. We are a decent team and showed how to fight for every ball and how to defend. The serves? The serve is an artwork; you cannot know in advance that you will serve perfectly. We practiced a lot and it paid off. We deserved to win.”
 
Mariusz Wlazly, team caprain of PGE Skra: “Their powerful serves helped them come back into the match after they lost the first set. Unfortunately, our serves were one level or two lower than usual and that is why the result is like that. We are disappointed but we will fight in every match of this difficult Pool C.”

Spacer’s TOULOUSE VB (FRA) vs. Zenit KAZAN (RUS) 1-3 (31-29, 20-25, 23-25, 19-25)

•    Spacer’s TOULOUSE VB caused a real sensation by taking the first set of their matchup with Zenit KAZAN (31-29) on a block of their rising star, 19-year-old middle blocker Barthélémy Chinenyeze.
•    Zenit KAZAN recovered from this early setback and swept three sets in a row to claim their first victory in this year’s Champions League where they are vying for a record sixth title and fourth in a row.
•    Zenit KAZAN were missing two of their star players, Maxim Mikhailov and Wilfredo Leon.


Nicolas Burel, player of Spacer’s TOULOUSE VB: “Even though Zenit KAZAN are the strongest team in Europe at the moment, we prepared very thoroughly for this match. We received very well and as a result, our setter Miguel de Amo could play with our middle blockers too. The first set we were trailing by two, three points, nevertheless we maintained the pressure high with our side out and we edged them at the end. It felt truly great! In the second and in the fourth sets, we put up a fight and were close too but we were not able to cause again the same sensation as we did in the first set. We hope that our supporters had a lot of fun with this match.”

JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel (POL) vs. BERLIN Recycling Volleys (GER) 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 26-24)

•    As many as 1,700 people came together for this eagerly anticipated match.
•    A service winner by Salvador Hidalgo Oliva closed the match in favour of the home side.
•    The Cuban outside hitter with German passport was also the best scorer of the match with 17 points.
•    In the third set, JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel came back from 13-18 to win it 26-24.
•    Paul Carroll and Steven Marshall were the best scorers for the BERLIN Recycling Volleys with 12 and 11 points, respectively.


Salvador Hidalgo Oliva, outside hitter of JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel: “It was a dream coming true. Actually, it was my first game in the group phase of the Champions League. I was very excited, because I played against my former team. I know these guys very well, and a lot of them are my friends. I have no words to describe how I feel right now.”

Luke Perry, libero of the BR Volleys: “We are really disappointed with how we played. We give credit to JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel, but we are not satisfied with our performance. They took all the chances. On the other hand, we couldn’t take our chances in the right moments.”

Arkas IZMIR (TUR) vs. Zaksa KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE (POL) 0-3 (23-25, 28-30, 23-25)

•    Arkas IZMIR claimed an early lead in the first set (8-7), which they kept for most of the time (16-15) before Zaksa edged ahead towards the end (25-23).
•    With the help of their Cuban opposite Michael Sanchez Bozhulev, Arkas put up a fight in the second set as well. The hosts claimed a 16-13 lead at the second technical time-out and had a couple of set balls before Zaksa emerged victorious at 30-28.
•    Arkas attempted a comeback in the third set but Zaksa controlled the game from start to finish (8-5, 16-11, 25-23) with the help of their outstanding libero Pawel Zatorski.
•    It was a relatively close match but Zaksa used their experience to storm to a 3-0 victory.
•    Michael Sanchez Bozhulev top scored with 16 points for Arkas IZMIR as Sam Deroo scored 15 times for the visitors.


Glenn Hoag, head coach of Arkas IZMIR: “We played ok certain times but we have many young players and when you make several execution errors as we did, it is hard to play against a team like Zaksa. We need to take our lesson from this loss. We will focus on the next match against Noliko MAASEIK.”

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06/12/2017 20:35:46
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06/12/2017 15:18:00
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