PRESS RELEASE 12.03.2005


Piraeus climb their own podium!

Men's Austrian Airlines Top Teams Cup 2004/05 Piraeus, Greece, March 12, 2005. 10'000 Piraeus fans helped their team Olympiacos PIRAEUS in red-and-white striped shirts to become Austrian Airlines Top Teams Cup champion 2004/05 defeating Dutch Ortec VC Nesselande ROTTERDAM in the Peace & Friendship stadium in Athens, Greece in three exhilarating close sets.

Following a special awards ceremony where CEV Vice President Mr. Philip Berben bestowed the President of the organising club Olympiacos PIRAEUS, Mr. Leonidas Theodorakakis, with a present in the name of the CEV the much awaited final between home favourites Olympiacos and the challenging team Ortec VC Nesselande ROTTERDAM began.

Outstanding blocks by ROTTERDAM gave the Dutch a first advantage (5-8) but the awakening of local number 10 Antonios Tsakiropoulos and number 12 Marcos Milinkovic forced the opposing team to increasing errors. Good team communication whilst defending allowed the home team to fight back to equal the score at 15-15 and even charge ahead (19-16, 21-19). Tight referee calls near the end of the set created a tense atmosphere (21-21, 23-23) from which the hosting team came out stronger, deserving the first set win after rescuing several attacks against them (25-23).

Clever play by American Riley Salmon, Konstantinos Christofidelis and a strong Olympiacos captain Antonios Tsakiropoulos was countered by Kristian Van der Wel and captain Marko Klok pointing for ROTTERDAM (7-7) until Argentinean Marcos Milinkovic brought out his strong serves, acing twice for a 13-10 home lead. Two consecutive mistakes by the guests from the Netherlands gave PIRAEUS a six-point advantage (18-12). It was mainly thanks to Tsakiropoulos that Olympiacos retained this important lead up until set point (24-18). Hitting the ball into the net Dutch Allan Van de Loo couldn't stand the pressure, allowing the Greek team to secure a 2:0 set lead (25-18).

Several exciting net duels followed before three amazing blocks by Claudio Cuello's squad and unforced errors on Dutch side gave PIRAEUS a 12-9 lead. Successful spikes and strong serving by left-hander Marko Klok kept ROTTERDAM's hopes high (13-12) and they managed to turn the tables at 15-15 (15-16). Following a brave rescue by libero Christos Dimitrakopoulos Marcos Milinkovic unfortunately spiked the ball outside the court (16-18), but made up for his mistake straight after (17-18). Two stable blocks, a successful attack by Christofidelis as well as Milinkovic brought the local team back into the lead (21-19), on their way to victory. Milinkovic attacked and Christofidelis blocked (23-20). The first match point came at 24-21, but was successfully defended by ROTTERDAM (24-22), followed by an attack from Riley Salmon that landed outside the court. Nevertheless, the third match point finished the final with Konstantinos Christofidelis choosing the right corner for the final spike and his team Olympiacos PIRAEUS (25-23).

In the earlier match Czech Dukla LIBEREC secured the bronze medal after yesterday's straight set defeat against later winner Olympiacos PIRAEUS (GRE), beating Dutch Omniworld ALMERE in a tiebreak set. Taking a 1:0 set lead (20-25) the Czechs in black and white uniforms were close to winning the second set but thanks to strong performances by Kay Van Dijk and Canadian Brett Gordon Youngberg in attack as well as in block the team from the Netherlands secured the third set point, drawing a 1:1 set balance (27-25). Leading with a maximum of six points during the second set (21-15) Omniworld ALMERE profited from accumulating unforced errors on the Czech side, especially on serve, finally deciding the important third set to a 2:1 set lead to their favour after Kay Van Dijk's smash forced the Czech block to a mistake (25-20). The team coached by Piotr Brom, the youngest in the Final Four with an average age of 24, didn't give up however, dominating the fourth set from the start with secure attacks and effective blocking (17-25). The tiebreak was clearly in Dukla's favour, showing the more complete game with very few mistakes. Even though Kay Van Dijk saved the first match point against Omniworld ALMERE with a tremendous spike (6-14) his block just a second later unfortunately missed the court (6-15).

The European Cups competitions final phase will conclude in Tenerife (ESP) from 19-20 March 2005 with the women's Indesit European Champions' League, whilst the strongest men's club teams will battle for the Indesit European Champions' League 2004/05 title in Thessaloniki (GRE) from 26-27 March 2005.

Further information including match reports, results and statistics can also be found on the competition's website at www.volleyball.gr/topteams2005/index.html

Austrian Airlines Top Teams Cup 2004/05 Final Four in Piraeus (GRE) Results

Final Olympiacos PIRAEUS (GRE) - Ortec VC Nesselande ROTTERDAM (NED) 3 :0 25-23, 25-18, 25-23

Bronze Medal Match Omniworld ALMERE (NED) - Dukla LIBEREC (CZE) 2:3 20-25, 27-25, 25-20, 17-25, 6-15 116 mins

Semifinals Ortec VC Nesselande ROTTERDAM (NED) - Omniworld ALMERE (NED) 3:0 25-19, 25-20, 25-23 80 mins Olympiacos PIRAEUS (GRE) - Dukla LIBEREC (CZE) 3:0 25-22, 25-17, 25-20 78 mins

More on the web at www.cev.lu

Enjoy & Be There:

19-20 March 2005: Indesit European Champions League, Final Four Women, Tenerife, Spain. 26-27 March 2005: Indesit European Champions League, Final Four Men, Thessaloniki, Greece. 29 March-03 April 2005: Youth European Championships 2005, Boys Final Round, Riga, Latvia. 29 March-03 April 2005: Youth European Championships 2005, Girls Final Round, Tallinn, Estonia.

23-24 July 2005: European League, Final Four, Kazan, Russia. 26-31 July 2005: FIVB Grand Prix Qualification, Baku, Azerbaijan. 02-11 September 2005: Men's Senior European Championships 2005, Rome (ITA) and Belgrade (SCG). 16-25 September 2005: Women's Senior European Championships 2005, Pula and Zagreb, Croatia.