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16/01/2017 20:36
Noliko’s Argentineans vie for first victory on home soil
2017 CEV Volleyball Champions League - Men

Maaseik, Belgium, January 16, 2017. A new year means new ambitions. With this mindset, Noliko MAASEIK will try to claim their first victory in Pool A of the 2017 CEV Volleyball Champions League – Men when hosting ISTANBUL BBSK.  

Even after losing their first two games, Argentineans Facundo Santucci and Nicolas Bruno are convinced that Noliko can play an important role in this group. “We just needed a couple of extra points in order to force a better result against Dinamo MOSCOW and Zaksa KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE,” Bruno says. “Against ISTANBUL BBSK, we want to reward ourselves.”

When Technical Director Wout Wijsmans and head coach Daniel Castellani built a whole new team last summer, the Argentinean not only asked for his son Ivan to join Noliko MAASEIK, but also for two national team players from his home country: libero Facundo Santucci and outside spiker Nicolas Bruno.      

“After three years with the Spacer’s TOULOUSE in France, I’m glad to have taken this extra step,” Santucci explains. “Even in Argentina, Noliko MAASEIK is known as a long-standing European top team. Their ambitions are higher than those we had in Toulouse: we want to win every game in the Belgian national league.”

Santucci also enjoys the European games. “This is my debut in the Champions League, in my opinion the most important club competition worldwide, since the South American club champions only play a one-week tournament to crown the best team in their continent.”

Yet, Santucci is used to the top level, as he’s an Olympian since London 2012. “And I also played World League last year. With Argentina, we beat France after a thrilling 3-2 game. I’d be very happy to beat Rouzier, Maréchal and Le Goff again, since they are all playing for ISTANBUL BBSK now.”

Nicolas Bruno also remembers this stunning victory against the then reigning World League champions, since he mounted the winning block at match point against Rouzier. “But it was my colleague middle blocker, who actually countered the French opposite,” admits Bruno. “Yet I had played my role in this victory since I scored a service winner in the tie-break.”

Bruno also wants to add another triumph to this French connection. “In that game against France, Argentina was very strong in defence. That’s also the strength of Noliko MAASEIK, as we already showed against Dinamo and Zaksa. We only need to close more points, to transform these good defensive actions into successful attacks. That’s a matter of execution. Maybe we should take a little more risks in attack, since our opponents all present huge blocks.”

But Bruno is confident. “We only needed very few points to turn things around against our Russian and Polish opponents. We’ll have to play almost flawless, but I’m sure we will give ISTANBUL BBSK a hard time.”

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