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28/10/2016 11:29
Slovenian champions look forward to challenging one of Europe’s top teams
2017 CEV Volleyball Champions League - Women

Ljubljana, Slovenia, October 28, 2016. The clash between Calcit LJUBLJANA and Liu Jo Nordmeccanica MODENA, a team stemming from the merging of last year’s Italian vice champions Nordmeccanica PIACENZA with the fourth-ranked side from the Serie A1 Liu Jo MODENA, will answer the question about which team will face France’s RC CANNES or ZOK Bimal-Jedinstvo BRČKO of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the third round of the 2017 CEV Volleyball Champions League – Women. The underdogs in this matchup are the reigning Slovenian champions, who last season made their first appearance in Europe’s elite club competition. On November 1 Calcit LJUBLJANA will face a tough opponent whose roster includes a number of world-class players assembled in an effort to claim the Italian Championship title this season.

“It will be a little strange to play against MODENA, which is in fact a completely different team than last season. Everything has changed since last year,” said Alessandro Beltrami, who coached that same Italian club last season and will now cross their ways being at the helm of Slovenia’s national champions Calcit LJUBLJANA. However, the Slovenians will still try to perform at their best against one of the top European teams. “We weren’t lucky with the draw, but on the other hand we will have the opportunity to face one of many top-level Italian teams and find out what our real value is. We will try to play our best game, especially since we have nothing to lose. The pressure is entirely on MODENA,” said Beltrami for whom this will be the first Champions League match as head coach.

The captain of the Slovenian team, Tina Lipicer Samec (pictured), who played in Italy for many years, continued: “For me personally this will be just another match, but as a team it will be difficult to play on such high level, since we don’t have many opportunities to face quality teams in other competitions that we play in. We will try to serve good and to do well at blocking and in defence, hoping to capitalise on our chances.”

For the 37-year-old Lipicer Samec, who has returned to Slovenia after a long and successful career abroad, this will be a special moment for another reason: “I am really motivated, since we will be playing against Lorenzo Micelli’s team. He was my first coach when I moved to Italy and he is one of my favourite coaches. But so far he never managed to beat me when standing on the other side of the court.”

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