Defending champions win easily
Luxembourg, December 9, 2003 Ė Lokomotiv Belgorod from Russia made a successful start to their defence of their Menís Indesit European Championsí League title by cruising to a straight sets victory over Dukla Liberec of the Czech Republic on Tuesday.
The defending champions weren't quite sure what to expect against the Czech team but the Russian Rockets came out firing and din't give their opponents any chancein the 3-0 victory in the worldís strongest club competition.
"We didnít know what to expect, so we sent our best six players on the court from the beginning of the match," Lokomotiv Belgorod assistant coach Boris Kolcins said. Russian setter Vadim Khamuttskikh proved to be one of the best players on the court.
In other Pool C action, the Greek team of Iraklis Thessaloniki pulled off a big upset by defeating former Indesit European Champions League winners Lube Macerata from Italy in Italy.
In Pool B action, former champions Paris Volley started its campaign extremely well by defeating Crvena Zvezda Beograd from Serbia and Montenegro 3-1. The French champion and current leader of the French league took the first two sets before easily cruising to victory.
Play in the Menís Indesit European Championsí League will continue on Wednesday, while the first leg will come to a conclusion on Thursday.
The Indesit European Championsí League is the competition in which the best 20 menís clubs and best 15 women's clubs in Europe participate. While the menís competition started this week, the womenís event will begin in January 2004.
The six best teams of the league round will proceed to the play-off round, scheduled for February 2004. The Final Four of the menís event is scheduled for March 27-28, 2004 in Belgorod, Russia. The best four teams of the womenís Indesit European Champions League will play their Final Four on March 20-21, 2004 in Tenerife, Spain. Both the hosts of the Finals Lokomotiv Belgorod (men) and Tenerife Marichal (women) are directly qualified for the Final Four.
Results Tuesday December 9, 2003:
Menís Indesit European Championsí League.
PARIS Volley (FRA) Ė Crvena Zvezda BEOGRAD (SCG)
3-1 (25-16, 25-17, 23-25, 25-19)
Lube MACERATA (ITA) Ė Iraklis THESSALONIKI (GRE)
1-3 (23-25, 20-25, 25-22, 18-25)
Dukla LIBEREC (CZE) Ė Lokomotiv BELGOROD (RUS)
0-3 (16-25, 15-25, 20-25)