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11/12/2020 20:00
‘Pass the Pod’ series takes off with VB NANTES
Pass the Pod

Luxembourg, December 11, 2020. VB NANTES were the first team to feature in ‘Pass the Pod’, the latest digital series launched by the CEV to chat with Volleyball stars and share a bit more of what happens behind the scenes of competitive sport. Middle blocker Lauren Schad, setter Kaisa Alanko and team manager Sylvain Quinquis very much enjoyed the opportunity to discuss their team’s development over the years and expectations for the 2020-2021 season.

Quinquis was actually at the helm of the French team when they made their historic CEV Champions League debut back in late 2014 in a pool including some real heavyweights such as Azeryol BAKU and Fenerbahce ISTANBUL. “I still have great memories from that experience, and especially from our opening match in Baku, where we had a match point before we ended up losing 2-3,” Quinquis recalls.

VB NANTES, established in 1968, has been competing in the top division of the French national league for about 10 years and a top-four finisher for the past five seasons. Quinquis admits that the major goal now is to clinch the championship title – something that has eluded VB NANTES this far.

Earlier this week, VB NANTES started their #CLVolleyW journey in Treviso in a pool including Fenerbahce (yet again) and hosts A. Carraro Imoco CONEGLIANO. This year, VB NANTES are making their third appearance in Europe’s elite club competition. “We had to overcome some challenges earlier this season with nine players contracting the novel coronavirus, but we have left this behind us and we very much look forward to hosting the second tournament in Pool B at our very own home in Nantes,” Quinquis continues. “I am especially hoping that fans will be able to follow the matches from the stands by the end of January, because they would for sure cherish the opportunity to see some of the finest Volleyball players in the world such as Paola Egonu, Monica De Gennaro and many more.”

Schad admits that the fans are a key player for VB NANTES: “We do have an amazing fan base indeed and it feels good to know that there are so many people rooting us on,” the USA middle blocker said. “The core of the team has remained the same for three years now and the girls who joined us this season fit in very well. It is an interesting process to see the evolution we have made as a team for the past three years and I hope this allows us to cement our status of one of the top teams in France.”

Alanko, on the other hand, admitted that it is any Volleyball player’s dream to play Champions League matches and against opponents such as Fenerbahce and Imoco. “With the revised format, we have three days of tough competition but it is a privilege and a joy to be able to play against such teams in a safe environment following the introduction of the ‘bubble’ concept,” she said. “Realistically, our aim is to beat the Slovenian team [Calcit Volley KAMNIK] and enjoy as much as possible our matches with Fenerbahce and CONEGLIANO.” The matchup with the Italians was quite special for Alanko and Schad, since they played against their former teammate Lucille Gicquel, now wearing the shirt of the Italian ‘Panthers’.

Listen to the full episode here:

As for the next episode of the series, get ready to listen to the BERLIN Recycling Volleys, Alanko’s pick after the Finnish setter spent some years in the German Bundesliga playing in Schwerin and Wiesbaden…

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