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23/03/2013 15:08
Copra Elior vie for second European trophy in their history
2013 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup - Men

Piacenza, Italy, March 23, 2013. Only 24 hours are left before the second game opposing Copra Elior PIACENZA to Russia’s Ural UFA for the final act of the 2013 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup – Men. After edging their opponents in straight sets this past Wednesday – for what was their eleventh consecutive 3:0 victory since the start of the season – the guys of Copra Elior need to seize the day also at home in order to avoid the golden set. The match is set to start at 6 pm and will be streamed live and for free by
“We got the right edge by scoring this away victory” home mentor Luca Monti says. “However, the return game will certainly turn into a totally different story. We will feel some pressure, that’s for sure, but Ural will have to go for a miracle to compensate for their home defeat from Wednesday. They first need to win the game and then also the golden set. However, I do think that they will play much better than they did on Wednesday where we started out very aggressively and this did not help Ural find their rhythm of the game” he continues.  

On Wednesday Copra Elior got off to a flying start seizing the first and second sets quite easily (25-12 and 25-22) before the next developed into a very close fight, with PIACENZA finishing it off at 32-30. “Tomorrow we need to play in a very different way than we did in Ufa” Ural head coach Angiolino Frigoni stresses. “We did show our potential only in the third set and I am convinced that we can do even better on Sunday”.

The teams got back from Siberia on the same plane and shared a sort of third time similarly to what happens in rugby. “We have been sharing the journey back from Ufa all the way through to Piacenza” libero Davide Marra recalls. “Sport has to bring people together though on the field of play we are rivals. We know that on Sunday a totally different game is waiting for us. We evidently enjoy the advantage resulting from that away win but still we have to fight because the Russian team is very strong. Last Wednesday the team performed extremely well and we did not let our opponents find their way into the game. Honestly I did expect a much closer match but probably they also felt the pressure from playing at home and from being somehow “obliged” to win. We performed really well from the serving line and we know that this fundamental is important to determine the final outcome of any game”.

The PalaBanca is expected to be sold-out on Sunday for what is the very first European final taking place in Piacenza as Copra Elior is vying for the second European trophy of their history after the club seized the Top Teams Cup back in 2006. “We won a very important match but this doesn’t mean anything yet” opposite Alessandro Fei points out. “We need to score another win, this time at home, and I believe that we have a difficult game ahead. Last Wednesday we started out really strong and our opponents did not stand this so that everything in the end turned out to be quite easy for us. We served well and stayed focused all the way through to the end. If we do the same in Piacenza we have good chances to celebrate a trophy that everyone is longing for”.

If they do so, Copra Elior PIACENZA would be the fourth club from Italy to win the Challenge Cup after Pallavolo MODENA, PERUGIA and Lube Banca Marche MACERATA did so in 2008, 2010 and 2011 respectively.

The match will be preceded by a minute of silence observed to commemorate the late Pietro Mennea, a former 200 m world record holder and 1980 Olympic champion who passed away a couple of days ago at the age of 61. Additionally, one year after his premature death on a Volleyball court, Italy’s international star Vigor Bovolenta will be also remembered as two players from the U16 division will read out a message to pay tribute to his persona.  

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