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15/01/2015 23:46
Zaksa cruise to surprising straight-set victory in CEV Cup quarter-final home round
2015 CEV Volleyball Cup - Men

Kedzierzyn-Kozle, Poland, January 15, 2015. Even though they have been plagued by injuries over the course of the last few weeks, Poland’s Zaksa KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE put on a strong performance on Thursday night to claim the first round of their quarter-final fixture with Turkeys’ Arkas IZMIR as the 2015 edition of the CEV Volleyball Cup is gradually reaching its most exciting stages. Zaksa powered past in three sets (25-23, 27-25, 25-17) at the end of a match that was packed with turnarounds and world-class actions.

The guests from Turkey opted for their best starting six including the Canadian duo Gavin Schmitt and John Gordon Perrin whilst Zaksa were missing their starting setter Pawel Zagumny but could nevertheless rely on a very inspired Kay van Dijk in attack. The teams started the match with the right focus and determination so neither could decisively break away in the score. Gavin Schmitt served strong to claim an 8:6 lead for Arkas at the first technical time-out of the opening set and again an ace by the Canadian opposite called for the second mandatory stop at 16:15 for IZMIR. However, the course of the game changed as Zaksa killed two consecutive attacks and Arkas made a serving error to propel the 20:17 for the home side. In a very close and exciting final rush Zaksa was able to get the upper hand and a phenomenal spike by van Dijk sealed the final 25-23 for the Poles.

The guests from Turkey fought back strong in the second set claiming 7:4 and 16:11 leads after an ace by Kévin Tillie and a spike killed by Perrin, respectively. It looked like Zaksa had lost control of the game but they eventually stormed back from 13:17 to 20:21. Arkas did not use two chances to win the set at 24:23 and 25:24 in their favour, and two superb actions finalised by Lucas Loh and van Dijk contributed the 27-25 that called for a 2:0 lead in sets for Zaksa.  

The opening of the third set was all for Zaksa (3:0, 8:4) and especially Brazilian spiker Lucas Loh was on fire, propelling a 9:4 lead for the home heroes. Supported by 1,500 fans the hosts were able to display some world-class actions and they claimed another few points to further cement their lead at 14:9 on a magnificent ace by Dick Kooy. Arkas was still far from surrendering and two aces by Leonel Marshall helped the guests narrow their gap down to two points at 15:13 for Zaksa. At this stage home mentor Sebastian Swiderski asked for a time-out and this way he could stop the dangerous comeback of his opponent. Zaksa regrouped and widened their lead to four (18:14) whilst on the other side of the net Arkas continued to make mistakes both in defence and in attack. It was then an attack by Dominik Witczak that closed the set at 25-17 for Zaksa to seal a rather unexpected straight-set home victory.   

“We did not expect to face as many problems as we had tonight, but there is still another match to play and we can still make it to the next round,” commented Arkas head coach Glenn Hoag. “We believe that we can manage that turnaround once we play at home next week and we will make sure we get to the next stage of this competition.”

“We had a very clear tactical plan and we did stick to it,” says Sebastian Swiderski. “We tried to work on our block to stop Gavin Schmitt and we managed to achieve this goal. Moreover, we performed well also in defence and this further explains our victory tonight.”

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the match

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