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12/02/2014 22:44
Powerful VakifBank routs courageous RC CANNES in Golden Set
2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Women

Cannes, France, February 12, 2014.  The deal was clear for RC CANNES: ”Do” (win by 3:0 or 3:1) stay alive and aim for the Golden Set, or ”die” (win only by 3:2 or lose) and you are out of the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Women.  The French team started off on the wrong foot by losing the first set, but then came back strong for a 3:1 (19-25, 25-15, 25-20, 25-22) victory over powerful VakifBank ISTANBUL in this second-leg Playoff 6 duel.  The Turkish side demonstrated its power during the Golden Set and won it by 15-12 after a superb volleyball game to gain access to the Final Four in Baku.

From the beginning of the first set, VakifBank imposed its superior physical dimensions of power and height to create a 7-3 gap which CANNES never managed to close and which increased inexorably to finally reach six points by the end of the set – 25-19. CANNES essentially had Nadia Centoni’s spikes and Freya Aelbrecht’s blocks against the collective organization of the Turkish team and Jovana Brakocevic’s super powerful arm.

With their backs against the wall, the players from the French Riviera took a much better start of the second set, while the ISTANBUL team was rather shy and far less confident than in the initial round.  A totally different story was offered to the 3 000 spectators at the Palais des Victoires hall, with the opposite scenario of VakifBank trailing several points behind CANNES for a convincing 25-17 in favor of the French team, which imposed the variability of its play and benefited from the efficiency of both middle-blockers, Aelbrecht and Milena Rasic, both offensively and at the block.

The third set was much more balanced, with a strong start from Brakocevic, generating a 3-point lead for 8-5, which CANNES slowly but surely cancelled at 9-9 thanks to Centoni and Rasic.  The home side took control and reached the technical time-out leading 16-14, further increasing it to 18-14, obliging head coach Giovanni Guidetti to take a second time-out and call Jelena Nikolic on to the court.  But his attempts to slow down the opponent’s momentum proved useless and the French managed to keep control of the game throughout the end of the set (25-22), despite a 5-point series of VakifBank with Brakocevic serving.

VakifBank’s confidence was clearly hit as the fourth set started - 8-4 to the home team at the first time-out.  CANNES kept a safe lead until 14-10, which then went down to 1 point -  14-13.  Between the two teams it was now ”an eye for an eye” in the good sportive sense of the term, with VakifBank’s power against CANNES’ defensive organization. The French team had the final word to close the set at 25-22 and prompt a Golden Set.

Both game and score were balanced until 8-7 CANNES’ way, when the teams switched sides, and no one wanted to give in.  The French made a few mistakes that gave VakifBank a 3-point lead for 12-9, which the visiting side kept through the end - 15-12, to triumph victorious.

Nadia Centoni impressed with 25 points for CANNES in the five sets.  Jovana Brakocevic was the winning side’s top scorer with 23.

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the match.

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