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08/12/2015 22:36
NANTES VB delight 3,300 fans with classy win over Mladost ZAGREB
2016 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup - Women

Nantes, France, December 8, 2015. NANTES VB performed on Tuesday night before a crowd of 3,300 fans as they hosted Croatia’s Mladost ZAGREB for the first round of the 16th Finals in the 2016 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup – Women. They paid back their fans for such passionate support with a commanding 3:0 victory (26-24, 25-14, 25-16) to get the right edge for the return game which is coming up next week in Croatia’s capital.

Actually the home side did not catch the best start and after a series of mistakes, NANTES VB ended up trailing 4:8 at the first technical time-out of the opening set. Slowly but surely the hosts found their way into the match helped by Shanice Marcelle and Victoria Foucher, who responded well to the attacks killed by Lucija Mlinar and Valentina Vrbanc making it 9 all. After two consecutive points NANTES VB edged ahead at the second technical time-out (16:15) but the score remained close through to the end. Angie Bland and Els Vandesteene did a very good job for NANTES VB towards the final section of the set and contributed to the 26-24 win for the home heroines.

The second set followed a totally different plot with NANTES VB opening with a 6:1 run and making it 8:2 in their favour at the first technical time-out. Mladost ZAGREB tried to fight back with the help of Valentina Vrbanc, but team captain Marion Gauthier-Rat helped NANTES VB hold on to their early advantage (12:6, 16:11). Though some long and exciting rallies followed, NANTES VB used to their profit the mistakes made by their Croatian opponents and eventually brought the set to an end with a landslide 25-14 score.  

The story repeated itself in the third period where the Croatian team around head coach Edo Klein did not find a way to stop the attacks killed by Gauthier-Rat and Foucher, with NANTES VB edging ahead at the first technical time-out (8:3). Things did not change also once the actions resumed with the French ladies leading by 12:5 first and 16:9 afterwards and even though Mladost attempted a comeback with some good blocks by Iva Jurisic, it was too late to prevent NANTES VB from cashing a well-deserved 25-16 set win and sealing their 3:0 victory.

After this performance NANTES VB definitely got the right edge for the return match which is due to follow in eight days in Croatia’s capital.

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the match

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