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04/03/2015 16:53
Resovia stop Russian Express to get closer to first Final Four appearance
2015 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men

Novosibirsk, Russia, March 4, 2015. Poland’s Asseco Resovia RZESZOW caused on Wednesday the first sensation in the Playoffs 6 of the 2015 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men cruising to a spectacular 3:1 away win over 2013 gold medal winners Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK of Russia (20-25, 25-21, 29-27, 25-17). Resovia got the right edge for the return match which is scheduled for next Wednesday, March 11, and also made it closer to their qualification for the Final Four tournament coming up on March 28-29 at the Max-Schmeling-Halle in Berlin. If they succeed in achieving this feat, that would mark Resovia’s first appearance in the last stage of Europe’s elite competition.

The roster of Resovia includes many players who are well-known to Russia’s Volleyball fans, especially their German-born opposite Jochen Schöps who spent four years in that country playing for Iskra ODINTSOVO. The stands of SK Sever were packed and you could easily sense the anticipation and excitement right from the beginning of the match. Lokomotiv started out strong, leading the way by as many as three points for most of the opening set and calling for both technical breaks being the front-runner in the match (8:5, 16:15). Resovia’s head coach Andrzej Kowal tried to change the course of the game with some substitutions but Lokomotiv could hold on to their lead finishing the set off at 25-20 on a hit killed by their Cuban outside spiker Oreol Camejo.

The beginning of the second set was marked by many mistakes on both sides of the net, with Lokomotiv and Resovia exchanging the lead back and forth. The coaches used their respective time-outs to try to steer their teams in the right way. Lokomotiv’s opposite Denis Zemchenok scored an ace for the 15:17 but immediately after that served into the net. At this stage Zemchenok was replaced by Pavel Moroz, but Lokomotiv’s other opposite could also not help much with the visitors moving the score up to 23:19 in their favour. Home hero Lukas Divis was able to fend off one set ball for Resovia to make it 21:24 but after a time-out called by Kowal, a service error by Artem Volvich ended the set at 21-25.

Denis Zemchenok returned to the court for the start of set 3 with Lokomotiv claiming an early 3:1 lead. However, Resovia did not give in and quickly restored the balance at 3 all. The hosts cashed the next couple of rallies but then Resovia got up 7:8 at the first technical time-out. Lokomotiv responded by flipping the charts around, claiming another two straight points, also via an ace by Camejo, but eventually trailed by three at the second technical break (13:16). The score was levelled again at 20 all and a nerve-wracking final rush followed with Resovia showing the right composure to seal the final 27-29.

Resovia imposed their rule in all fundamentals of the game right from the outset of set 4, cruising to a terrific 9:16 lead at the second mandatory stop. Lokomotiv attempted a late comeback and eventually scored three points, but nevertheless could not prevent their opponents from finishing it off at 17-25 for a sensational 1:3 away victory.

“Today we could not find a way to deal with their serves,” admitted the head coach of Lokomotiv, Andrei Voronkov, after the match.
“We have been having highs and lows since the beginning of the season and today luck was not on our side,” commented Lokomotiv’s team captain Alexander Butko.

“This victory does not mean anything yet since it is only after the second match that we will be able to determine the eventual winners of this clash,” said Resovia’s mentor Andrzej Kowal to calm down the enthusiasm.

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the match

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