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29/01/2016 11:01
SCHWERINER SC secure last spot in CEV Cup Challenge Round
2016 CEV Volleyball Cup - Women

Schwerin, Germany, January 29, 2016. Germany’s SCHWERINER SC claimed the last spot available in the Challenge Round of the 2016 CEV Volleyball Cup – Women after their 3-1 home win over Ukraine’s champions Khimik YUZHNY (25-23, 22-25, 25-19, 25-12). SCHWERINER SC will be playing Romania’s CS Volei Alba BLAJ in the next round for a spot in the semis of Europe’s second most prestigious club competition.

The position of SCHWERINER SC and their visitors from Ukraine was different going into this match but they shared one and the same goal – a spot in the Challenge Round of the CEV Volleyball Cup – as they crossed their ways on Thursday night in Germany following the 3-0 away win claimed last week by SCHWERINER SC.

Home coach Felix Koslowski was more than happy after the match as his team had everything but a perfect preparation because of some injuries and other players having been ill lately. When SCHWERINER SC started the match with American Ariel Turner playing as opposite as Tabitha Love has been dealing with a cold and middle blocker Veronika Hroncekova had to leave the court being substituted by youngster Marie Schölzel, all the troubles of the last days became evident to the spectators. “This week we had no chance to practice with the whole team as some players were injured or had a cold, so the preparation wasn’t the best at all,” Koslowski said after the match.

Khimik YUZHNY had the better start into the match (3-0, 6-3) before hosts SCHWERINER SC got back on track thanks to their good defence and aggressive actions at the net, this resulting in an 8-7 lead for the Germans at the first technical time-out. The score remained close halfway through the set as no team was able to break away but a long rally before the second technical time-out was won by Jennifer Geerties for SCHWERINER SC, who this way cemented her status as best player of last week’s match in Ukraine (16-14). SCHWERINER SC got closer to taking the first of two sets that were needed to progress to the next stage of the competition (20-17) but YUZHNY showed what German coach Koslowski expected from his team’s opponent: high attacks difficult to control by the German block and defence (22-22). However, the first set ball was used by German middle blocker Anja Brandt and SCHWERINER SC made it a step closer to qualifying for the Challenge Round (25-23).

The visitors from Ukraine claimed the opening rally of the second set but this time SCHWERINER SC did not wait that long to respond, recording two straight points of their own. Khimik YUZHNY had a run up to 5-2 but and kept SCHWERINER SC at a distance (7-4) but by the first technical time-out the home side edged ahead again (8-7). After Khimik moved the score to 13-11 in their favour, Koslowski tried to help his players regroup by requesting a time-out and he got the desired effect as SCHWERINER SC moved ahead at the second mandatory break (16-15). Knowing that they had to win this set to stay alive in the game and keep a chance to make the next round of the competition, Khimik stepped up their efforts and scored time and again (19-16, 24-19). After dissipating three consecutive set balls and a time-out requested by head coach Sergei Holotov, the visitors finished it off at 25-22 to re-open the fate of the match.  

The game developed as a close race in the early stages of the third set (2-2, 3-3) but good blocks and attacks combined with powerful serves brought SCHWERINER SC in front (7-3) before a spectacular rally was finished to set up an 8-4 lead for the home side at the first technical time-out. Supported by a cheering crowd of 1,200 spectators, the hosts widened their lead to 11-4. YUZHNY closed in at 14-10, and it was time for Felix Koslowski to ask for a break. A pretty commanding 16-11 lead for SCHWERINER SC at the second technical time-out forced Khimik to try their best to close in and they almost succeeded in achieving their goal (17-15). At 20-16 it was then YUZHNY’s turn to take a time-out to re-focus and try to complete their comeback but everything worked just fine for SCHWERINER SC (22-17, 23-18). As the fans were standing on their feet, Tabitha Love joined the actions for the first time replacing Denise Hanke and after cashing their 25-19 set win, SCHWERINER SC could start celebrating their progression to the next round of the competition.  

The fourth set that followed was not going to change anything as far as the final result of this double clash was concerned with SCHWERINER SC cruising to an early 8-3 commanding lead. Nothing worked for Khimik YUZHNY at this stage of the match (11-3) whereas the hosts scored point after point (16-3). Knowing they were eliminated from the competition, YUZHNY lost focus and willing to fight whereas SCHWERINER SC kept on scoring (19-6). Even a number of substitutions with Stefanie Golla replacing Janine Völker, Michaela Wessely and Alice Blom joining the actions for Denise Hanke and Jennifer Geerties respectively, did not have any impact on the triumphal march of the home team (18-6, 22-11) and the match ultimately ended on a service error by the Ukrainians (25-12).

“I am just happy and proud that my team played that good. Even players that couldn’t join any training session this week performed very well and so the journey continues,” said Felix Koslowski with a bright smile.  

“We couldn’t show the volleyball we are able to play. SCHWERINER SC, on the other hand, played well and today we couldn’t keep up with them because we made too many easy mistakes,” said Dmitry Maryukhnich, team manager of Khimik YUZHNY.

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the match

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