CEV Champions League Volley 2023 | Men
CEV Champions League Volley 2023 | Men
The German BR Volleys celebrated a great Wednesday night at the #CLVolleyM after recording their first win in the competition against a Polish opponent. Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA also had motifs to enjoy the day after winning against Knack Roeselare - a teammtes’ gift for Lube’s young star Aleksander Nikolov who turned 19 on Wednesday.
Led by MVP Marek Sotola (23 points), the team from Berlin outclassed at 3-1 Aluron CMC Warta ZAWIERCIE in front of more than 2000 fans who chose Volleyball before Football (as at the same time, the Polish national team fought for their first Top 16 promotion at the World Cup since 1986).
On the other hand, this was the first home loss of the Polish squad in the European Cups ever, and it also meant the end of the 9-games winning streak that the players of Zawiercie had.
Before the start of the match, BERLIN Recycling Volleys setter Arash Dosanjh received the gift from the president Kryspin Baran as a “Thank you award” for two years spent in team between 2018 and 2020.
A great first set set the tone for an exciting match ahead. Both Aluron CMC Warta ZAWIERCIE and BERLIN Recycling Volleys entered the court highly motivated, chasing each other in the score (11-11, 19-19). However, the German side seized their opportunities in the last minutes, and thanks to two more aces (2-0) and one more block, opened in their favour.
The hosts from Poland weren’t ready to just give up yet, and building gradually their point difference in the second set (5-4, 12-8) were able to come back and tie the set score. It was their more successful attack (17-12) that helped them get back on track.
An intense game highlighted the third set as none of the teams could take the leadership position. To the delight of the fans in "Centrum" DĄBROWA GÓRNICZA, the fight was fierce and they could enjoy some high-class Volleyball. After a cat-and-mouse game, the guests from Berlin emerged victorious, making an important step towards the victory.
Even though they seemed to be on the winning path, leading by four points (15-11), Berlin Recycling did lose their rhythm, and their Polish opponents did not wait long to tie the score. However, the German team was a bit more concentrated in the last deciding points, and congratulated themselves with the victory.
Statistically, the Polish team was better on attack and in blocking - 63 to 51 winning spikes, and nine to six kill blocks. However, their errors costed them the better outcome - 38 to 22.
"I'm overjoyed about how we fought our way to this win here. To win away in Poland against such a top team is incredibly difficult. We came here to win, and we did it despite this atmosphere. We played really well in block, attack and defence - actually in all elements. That's why I'm very proud of my team today."
“This was not our best performance for sure. Congrats to team of BERLIN Recycling Volleys, they played a really great match without many mistakes. We also played like 20 games in November so it's normal that sometimes games can be like - everybody is tired and it's not like an alibi. It was really about our physics, we couldn't handle constant pressure from BR Volleys.“
In a much anticipated clash in Pool C, Knack Roeselare welcomed the Italian giants of Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA, but couldn’t surprise them despite showing great motivation. Lube seized a 3-1 win, thus topping the charts in the current standings in Pool C.
The guests did build gradually a point difference in the first set (4-2, 18-14) to open in their favour thanks to better performance in attack and on the blocking (19 to 12 winning spikes, and four to two blocks). Birthday boy, Aleksander Nikolov who turned 19, was on fire in this set, recording eight points.
After a close call in the beginning of the second set (10-9), the hosts could prevail in the battle for resilience (15-12) and got back on track, bringing back the intrigue in the game for 1-1 (to do so, they speeded up on their attack, finishing slightly more successful than their opponents in this part with 53% winning spikes; they also dominated on block - three, and recorded three aces).
The nail-biting thriller continued in the third set as well, when the teams went head-to-head until the 20th point. Thanks to a good serie of serves by Mattia Bottolo, Lube could take the lead, and despite the attempts by Pablo Sergio Koukartsev, the hosts took the set-win, thanks to Gabriel Jose Garcia who made the difference with a service ace (23-25).
The last set was an even bigger “Volleball thriller” as the hosts gave it their best, especially in the last minutes - however, the Italians, led by Ivan Zaytsev, kept their cool and led by playmaker Luciano de Cecco, claimed the win.
Overall, the precision to the detail in the key moments sealed the deal for the Italian squad. They were better on attack (66 to 57), but one step behind on blocking (nine to seven for Roeselare) and from the serving line (eight to four aces).
After the match, setter Luciano De Cecco from CIVITANOVA was awarded the game MVP. On the home team’s side, Pablo Kukartsev was top scorer with 22 points. For the visitor’s team, Ivan ZAYTSEV scored 17 points.
“We expected a difficult match. We knew that Knack ROESELARE is a team with a lot of experience in the Champions League competition. But our experience brought us this victory. And for me personally, this was a marvellous present for my nineteenth birthday today.”
“My first feeling is that of disappointment because we were so close to a stunt. And the fact they we were not rewarded with a 1-3 defeat. But I think that tomorrow we will realise that, as a team, we made a big step forward this evening.”