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16/03/2021 10:00
Volei Alba BLAJ aim for first European triumph in #CEVChallengeCupW finals
CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup 2021 - Women

Târgu Mureș, Romania, March 16, 2021. After losing two European finals, C.S.M. Volei Alba BLAJ are very motivated to seize their third opportunity to claim an international title. The Romanian champions look with confidence at the upcoming matches with Sistem9 Yesilyurt ISTANBUL, their opponent in the final stage of the CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup 2021. The first confrontation takes place on Wednesday, in Târgu Mureș, and the Romanian team wants to make history for Volleyball in their country. The watchword is victory and the hosts are very much looking forward to this home fixture.

For the Romanian champions, this final represents a new challenge, but also an honour, says their head coach, Darko Zakoč: “We do not play a European Cup final every day, but we have managed to be in three finals in the last four years, across all European competitions. It means quite something to this club, which has become a well-known and respected team in European Volleyball. This final is a new challenge for us and even if it is the Challenge Cup ‘only’, every success in Europe means a lot, especially for teams coming from countries that are not in the forefront of international Volleyball.”

Darko Zakoč briefing the players of C.S.M. Volei Alba BLAJ during a time-out

“In the final we meet an opponent that showed much quality, desire and resilience in their semis and deserves to play this final,” he continues. “It is just the first battle, and regardless of Wednesday’s score, this will not decide the eventual result of the final. There are two rounds, but I hope and believe that we will go to Turkey as the winners of the first match. This is our goal. We have all the necessary information about Sistem9 Yesilyurt ISTANBUL. It is a team made of young players, with some more experienced ones as well. They play beautiful Volleyball, and we saw this in the matches with THY ISTANBUL, where they won many rallies that lasted over a minute. They did never give up the fight and this is very important for us to know, because we have to be ready for such a game. A great desire for victory, motivation, concentration and spirit of sacrifice are the attributes for success! That’s the only way to win!”

Captain Ioana Maria Baciu will be playing her second European final with C.S.M. Volei Alba BLAJ and hopes that, this time, her team will lift the trophy: “It is the second European final I am playing with this team, and I hope that this time it will end well for us and that we will win the Challenge Cup. We prepared well for the match, I know we are playing against a good team and I hope to achieve a very good result on Wednesday, which will make us the favourites for the re-match.”

The experienced setter Ana Antonijević, the team’s vice-captain, looks with confidence at the double header with Sistem9 Yesilyurt ISTANBUL, especially since she has an extra motivation, this being the first Challenge Cup final she will play in her career. “We are ready for this match and we will try to play at the maximum level, especially since we start the final at home. We have to remain focussed because we meet a young team that will play without any pressure. For me it is the first Challenge Cup final I play and I will try to give my best on the court,” she says.

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