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21/12/2016 22:05
LP SALO walk past Mladost to shape up Finnish derby with HPK
2017 CEV Volleyball Cup - Women

Salo, Finland, December 21, 2016. Finland’s LP SALO secured their progression to the 16th Finals of the 2017 CEV Volleyball Cup – Women by taking also the re-match of their tie with Croatia’s Mladost ZAGREB by 3-0 (25-21, 26-24, 25-19). LP SALO needed to win ‘only’ two sets to progress to the next stage of the competition but they did even more than that, celebrating their second 3-0 victory in as many matches with the reigning Croatian national champions. In the next round of the CEV Volleyball Cup LP SALO will take on arch-rivals and countrywomen HPK HÄMEENLINNA.

Vera Klimovich and Pauliina Vilponen set the pace for LP SALO with their blocks in the early stages of the opening set, with Viktoriia Tuchashvili scoring an ace to make it 3-0 for the home side. Mladost ZAGREB tried to close in and came within three points at 21-18 and at this stage the Finnish coach, Tomi Lemminkäinen, asked for a time-out. His side immediately regrouped and took the set by 25-21 after a net fault by Mladost.

The second set was a very close affair with LP SALO trailing at 6-9 before scoring five straight points to claim the lead at 11-9. At this point Mladost coach Sasa Ivanisevic took a time-out and he seemed to get the desired effect with ZAGREB scoring four times in a row to get back into the lead. The remainder of this set was played point for point with LP SALO edging ahead at 23-21 but Mladost did not surrender. The hosts eventually had the upper hand at 26-24 and with this secured their qualification to the next round.

The third set was just a matter of routine with both teams using their second lines and the starting players enjoying some rest. LP SALO cruised to a 25-19 win to seal their second 3-0 victory over Mladost ZAGREB.

LP SALO will resume their campaign in the Finnish national league on December 29 playing HPK HÄMEENLINNA in what will be some kind of a rehearsal ahead of the matches on schedule for the next round of the CEV Volleyball Cup.

Sasa Ivanisevic, head coach of Mladost ZAGREB: “Our focus wasn’t there today. LP SALO were better and deserved their victories both in Zagreb and here as well. It is an experienced team filled with amazing players, especially their setter and middle blockers. We are still a young team and made too many errors, especially in offence.”

Tomi Lemminkäinen, head coach of LP SALO: “This match featured two very stable teams and we succeeded in winning all sets. I’m very pleased with our qualification to the next round. Both teams played better today than last time and made it difficult for each other to play. We didn’t have the upper hand during most of the two first sets. Noora (Kosonen) had some important and successful moments in the game even though it wasn’t an easy one for her. Ronja (Heikkiniemi) was nervous in Zagreb but now she played like a veteran. The next game will be against HPK. I think we’ll meet four times in a month. I’d prefer a foreign team to play against to. That is why we signed up for the European Cups.”  

Ronja Heikkiniemi, player of LP SALO: “This wasn’t an easy game. The opponent was fully charged and wanted to win. We got our reception to work and therefore could use our strengths. After two sets Mladost lost their power. The last time we played HPK we lost 3-0, so it will be an interesting game. We are now much more prepared than we were back then.”

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the match

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