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25/01/2016 16:08
NANTES VB set the bar high for re-match with BURSA BBSK
2016 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup - Women

Nantes, France, January 25, 2016. Last week France’s NANTES VB suffered a 1-3 loss in their first match with last year’s gold medallists BURSA BBSK in the 1/8 finals of the 2016 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup – Women. Though they started the match pretty well, NANTES VB could not keep the same rhythm for the sets that followed and ended up losing to the competition’s titleholders from Turkey. NANTES VB will be trying to turn the tide on Tuesday night, January 26, when playing the re-match with BURSA BBSK in front of a partisan home crowd.

It remains a real challenge for NANTES VB since BURSA BBSK are the winners from last year’s CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup and finished the last edition of the highly competitive Turkish national league in fifth place. They can rely on a bunch of very experienced players such as Belgian setter Frauke Dirickx and Serbia’s national team captain Jelena Nikolic, a former European champion.

NANTES VB team captain Marion Gauthier-Rat says about the previous fixture with BURSA BBSK: “We knew that we were going to meet a very good team, with outstanding individual skills. I think that we approached the match without too much pressure, with the motivation and the determination to show what we are capable of. We played a very good first set by putting pressure on the opponent with our service and did well also in defence. However, we unfortunately ended up paying the price for the lack of physical conditioning and energy in the remainder of the match.”

As for the re-match coming up on Tuesday night, Gauthier-Rat adds: “We have to play aggressive and show the same mind-set which helped us catch such good start in the previous match. We have to play with more consistency than we did in Turkey and the fact that we perform before our home crowd may add some extra pressure on our opponent.”

Coach Sylvain Quinquis recalls that his players played very well in the opening set of their match in Bursa, especially at serving, and their well-organised block and defence system prevented BURSA BBSK from scoring as they wanted. He knows a 3-0 or 3-1 win is needed in the re-match in order to go for the golden set and try to stay in contention for progression to the next round. “I think it is necessary to play the same way we did in the opening set in Bursa, fighting and keeping the pressure high on their receivers, while displaying the right quality also in attack and defence,” he says. “On paper, anyway, BURSA BBSK have the best cards to play, also because of their individual skills.”

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