Lube Banca Macerata overcame the defending champions, Lokomotiv Novosibirsk, in tie-break taking the leadership in “the group of death” (Pool E) at the CEV DenizBank Champions League. The Italian team owes the win to Bartosz Kurek, who collected almost 50% of points scored by Lube Banca in the decisive set. Having claimed outsiders from Posojilnica AICH/DOB in the other game of the third leg, Zenit Kazan follows thick on Lube’s heels in overall ranking losing only two points to the leaders.
Lube Banca Macerata – Lokomotiv Novosibirsk 3:2 (25-19, 22-25, 29-27, 22-25, 15-12)
Lube: Baranowicz 2, Kurek 21, Stankovic 8, Zaytsev 17, Kovar 17, Podrascanin 16, Henno (L) and Paparoni, Patriarca, Monopoli
Lokomotiv: Butko 5, Divis 13, Astashenkov 6, Moroz 25, Camjeo 10, Volvich 6, Golubev (L) and Zhilin
In the opening set the home team dominated the scene with great serving (4 aces) and the attacks of the Serbian middle-blockers Marko Podrascanin (5 points with 100% of efficiency) and Dragan Stankovic (3 points, 67%). Macerata opened the gap quite early in the set (15-11), and then went up to 21-17. Finally, they closed the set at 25-19 with an error by Lokomotiv opposite Pavel Moroz, who by scoring 7 points was – together with wing-spiker Lukas Divis (6 points, 75%) – the one who anchored the comeback of the Russian express in the second set (25-22).
In the third set the teams played all the time point for point up to 27-27, then Lube Banca Marche turned the situation on its own way with the great actions by their libero Hubert Henno, and the attacks of Ivan Zaytsev, who scored the last two points for the final 29-27.
In the fourth set the Italians seemed to have the situation in their hands after two net violations by Lokomotiv which sent them to the front at the second technical time-out (16-13). However, Novosibirsk came back, helped by the errors of Macerata (13), and the attacks of Moroz (best scorer of the match with 25 points), to score the final 25-22.
The tie-break was nevertheless one-sided and fully controlled by the Italians with their Polish star Bartosz Kurek (21 points in the end) as the one who set the pace along the way to the final 15-12 sealed by Jiri Kovar.
ActionSpike pointsSpike %BlockServeRec PosRec ExcErrorsLube6656%51054%33%40Lokomotiv5350%7545%25%30
ActionPointsSpike PointsSpike %Spike errorsBlockServeErrorsBartosz Kurek211958%51110Pavel Moroz252255%2037
Zenit Kazan – Posojilnica AICH/DOB 3:1 (25-14, 19-25, 25-15, 25-19)
Zenit: Grbic, Anderson 23, Apalikov 7, Mikhailov 10, Sivozhelez 12, Kazakov 1, Babichev (L) and Demakov 4, Yakovlev 4, Kobzar 1
Posojilnica: Satler 1, Wawrzynczyk 11, Hurska, Sequeira 19, Pusnik 4, Wohlfahrtstatter 6, Kovacic (L) and Binder, Kosl, Koncilja 4, Grut 1
The experienced and skillful setter Nikola Grbic was named team captain for this game as Alexander Volkov is still nursing an injury. Grbic immediately showed his skills in terms of leadership as the home side comfortably set the pace of the game in the opening set. Roman Yakovlev, who replaced Maxim Mikhailov by the time Zenit Kazan was leading 18:12, spiked three times running to bring the advantage of the local heroes up to 10 points (23:13) and pave the way for the final 25-14.
The second set turned into a triumphal march for Posojilnica AICH/DOB opposite Valdir Sequeira who scored 3 aces in a row, followed by a calibrated attack and the away team stormed out to a 4:0 lead. After an early time-out taken by Vladimir Alekno, Kazan was still experiencing troubles in reception trailing 3:10. Zenit players made many mistakes while the Austrians, on the contrary, played magnificently in defense. Michal Hruska blocked Roman Yakovlev for the 20:11 and the first set ever won by Posojilnica AICH/DOB in the CEV Volleyball Champions League became reality only a few minutes later.
Kazan got back in action really determined to prove that the second set failure was just a coincidence. And they met the challenge. The main hero of the third set was Matthew Anderson, who scored 4 aces, sealed many attacks and played successfully also in blocking – 22:13. The American opposite’s contribution accounted for 12 points in the set, and Zenit Kazan players comfortably seized it with the score of 25-15.
Zenit sealed the fourth set as well thanks to an incredible performance of their middle blockers. Ivan Demakov, Nikolay Apalikov and Nikola Grbic blocked Andrej Grut three times running – 19:11. Soon Nikolay Apalikov upset Nejc Pusnik successfully blocking him as well – 22:15 before Zenit easily brought the game to a happy end.
ActionSpike pointsSpike %BlockServeRec PosRec ExcErrorsZenit4251%151043%9%24Posojilnica3638%3748%17%25
ActionPointsSpike PointsSpike %Spike errorsBlockServeErrorsMatthew Anderson231246%0473Valdir Sequeira191548%1044