Dramatic deciders see history written in the CEV Volleyball Cup semi-finals


Article Thu, Feb 29 2024
Author: Adrian Costeiu

Two teams coming from the CEV Champions League 2024 Men, Asseco Resovia Rzeszów and SVG Lüneburg, will compete for the big trophy in the CEV Volleyball Cup 2024 Men, after a dramatic finish of the semi-finals, which took place over the last two weeks in crunch double-headers.

In the CEV Volleyball Cup 2024 Women, an Italo-Swiss final will decide the winner, with Viteos Neuchatel UC trying to stop Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri ’76, as the Italian side is trying to follow into the footsteps of Savino Del Bene Scandicci, which won the CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup and the CEV Volleyball Cup Women in back-to-back seasons.

Until the quarter-finals of this season’s CEV Volleyball Cup Women, Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri ’76 had never dropped a set, but found themselves back in a tough spot, with two consecutive 3:2 wins against Volero Le Cannet to progress to the semi-finals.

Chieri had another French opponent in the semi-finals, with Levallois Paris Saint Cloud pushing the Italian side into the fifth set in the first leg, which Chieri barely took, 15:13. Therefore, the second leg looked to be a tough one for the Italian team, with a clear win for the French side sealing a spot in the final.

It was not for the lack of trying from the French side, but Chieri dominated the match, albeit taking the three sets with some dramatic moments, as Belgian opposite spiker Kaja Grobelna providing an excellent match, with 17 points, to help her side secure a 25:22, 25:23, 25:23 win.

This will be the second European final played by Chieri, which is the reigning champion in the CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup, a path also taken by Savino Del Bene Scandicci in the 2021/22 and the 2022/23 seasons.

Viteos Neuchatel UC became the first Swiss side to secure a spot in the final, after an excellent season, which saw them drop two matches, but eliminate two teams coming from the CEV Champions League Women in the quarter-finals and semi-finals.

First, it was Jedinstvo Stara Pazova, with a stunning comeback, which saw Neuchatel take a 15:13 win in the golden set, while the semi-final against Grot Budowlani Łódź proved to be another roller-coaster for the Swiss side.

A 3:1 win in the first leg was cancelled by a 3:1 win from the Polish side, as the match also went into the golden set. Like in the previous round, Neuchatel held their nerve, once again on their home court and plowed through a 15:13 win, which helped them write history for Swiss volleyball.

In the CEV Volleyball Cup 2024 Men, Asseco Resovia Rzeszów made it to their third European final, after conceding losses in the CEV Champions League Men in the 2014/15 season and in the 2011/12 season of the second-tier European competition.

After the Polish side needed a golden set to eliminated fellow Polish side Aluron CMC Warta Zawiercie in the quarter-finals, this time around they pulled no punches and cruised to two wins against Fenerbahçe PRL Istanbul. On their home court, Asseco Resovia took a 3:1 win and doubled down on Thursday with a clear 3:0 win (25:14, 25:17, 28:26) to secure a place in the final, 12 years after their previous qualification. Torey Defalco was their top scorer, with 15 points.

The other semi-final brought an even more intense battle between SVG Lüneburg, another team entering the competition from the CEV Champions League Men, and Turkish side Arkas Izmir.

Unfortunately for the Turkish volleyball, the prospect of having a team in the final was stopped in its tracks, after Izmir was on the receiving end of a huge comeback, after a stunning 3:0 win in the first match.

It looked to be over for SVG Lüneburg after conceding the first set, 17:25, but the German side bounced back in fantastic and dramatic style. After a 25:23 win in the second set, the decisive moment came in the third set, when Eric Rohrs and Jesse Elser, who had 23 points each in the match, stunned Izmir to help their side take a 30:28 win.

The German side sealed the fourth set, 25:18, and a dejected Izmir side found no way to cope in the golden set, which they started down four points, 5:1, never finding the strength to bounce back, conceding a 8:15 loss and the place in the final.

Two sides from the CEV Champions League 2024 Men, SVG Lüneburg – in their maiden European final – and Asseco Resovia Rzeszów will fight for the trophy, in what projects to be a very well-balanced doubleheader.