PRESS RELEASE 19.03.2005


All-Italian fina

Tenerife, Spain, March 19, 2005 - On the semifinal day of the women's Indesit European Champions' League 2004/05 Final Four in Tenerife (Esp) Italian Foppapedretti Bergamo defeated Tenerife Marichal (3:0) and Sant'Orsola Asystel Novara (Ita) beat French Rc Cannes 3:1.

The hosting team of Tenerife Marichal started off the semifinal day meeting Italian champion Foppapedretti Bergamo in the sports hall Santiago Martin. Following a nervous beginning of the Italian guest team who committed several unforced errors (4-1, 6-3) Bergamo managed to draw balance again (6-6, 14-14) thanks to Francesca Piccinini's and Paola Paggi's safe spiking skills as well as effective blocking by Croatian middle blocker Maja Poljak. Although Tenerife gained a six-point lead with successful attacks by Magaly Carvajal and Yelena Pavlova (20-14) they didn't manage to retain this lead and Bergamo equaled again at 21-21.

21-year old Maja Poljak was the most outstanding player of the Italian guests during the final phase of the first set, scoring points at block as well as through spikes in order to secure the first set points (21-24). After defending three set points Tenerife finally had to accept the first set defeat (24-26). Gaining a quick advantage in the second set (0-4) Bergamo continued strong with Russian-Turc Lioubov Kilic scoring most (5-13). Not wanting to disappoint their 5'000 fans the local team fought hard saving several attacks against them (8-13).

Even though Magaly Carvajal and Cosiri Rodriguez from the Dominican Republic pointed for Tenerife Marichal several times, Foppapedretti coached by Giovanni Caprara didn't relinquish their lead (14-20), finally securing a 2:0 set lead (18-25). Bergamo led by Piccinini and Kilic continued to dominate (4-8, 5-11) but Tenerife came back (9-11). Following a time out at 10-16 and the substitution of Piccinini, who injured herself on the ankle, by Manuela Secolo (14-19) Maja Poljak secured the first two match points for the Italians (16-24). Kilic's forceful smash forced the home block to make the mistake so that Foppapedretti Bergamo qualified for the big final as the first team (0:3).

Best scorer of the encounter was Lioubov Kilic (Foppapedretti Bergamo) with 16 points closely followed by her team mate Maja Poljak (12 points from which 5 blocks). Brasilian Rosangela Correia scored most points for Tenerife Marichal (9 points). "We didn't expect this match to be easy as Tenerife is one of the best teams in Europe", commented Bergamo's head coach Gianni Caprara after the match, "our opponents played well in defense, fighting for each ball, but finally the technical difference in serving as well as blocking decided the match in our favour." "Even though we lost we still played well", stated Tenerife's captain Goya Dorta proud of her team's collaboration.

The first few points of the second semifinal between 2002/03 Iecl titleholder French Rc Cannes and Iecl novice Italian Sant'Orsola Asystel Novara showed that the final opponent of Foppapedretti Bergamo wasn't going to be a piece of cake. Both sides shared the points with strong spikes (5-4) until Victoria Ravva committed the first unforced error of the match (5-5). Whilst Ravva, Karine Salinas and Katerina Buckova scored for Cannes, Polish Malgorzata Glinka, Belgian Virginie De Carne and Serbian Anja Spasojevic booked the points for Novara (18-18).

The score was balanced up until 21-21 when Ravva as well as Yelena Shabovta both successfully blocked and attacked twice in order to secure the first set for Cannes (25-22). Following a long rally in the second set at 6-6 and Ravva once again smashing successfully (7-6), Novara turned the tables, taking the lead for the first time with Glinka, Spasojevic, Sara Anzanello and Laura Nicolini impressing (8-11, 9-13). At 19-21 Novara gained the important next points (20-24) with top scorer Glinka finishing off the set (1:1). Clever play and an enormous block by De Carne gave Novara a three point advantage(5-8) which they retained up until 14-17 before Cannes broke back (19-19). Keeping strong nerves during the crucial phase of the third set Novara booked the last four points to gain a 2:1 set lead.

The French got off to a better start (6-3), also profiting from increasing errors by the opposition (9-5). But even the amazing saves by Japanese libero Yuko Sano couldn't help Cannes retain their advantage (9-9, 11-11). Following a two point lead by Novara (12-14) Victoria Ravva aced her team back into the game (16-14), aiming for the deciding fifth set. But at 18-18 Novara came on strong with Anzanello and De Carne pointing (20-23). Although Ravva did her best to keep her team from losing (24-22) Belgian De Carne scored the final spike to bring her team into the final, meeting their fellow compatriots from Bergamo.

Best scorer of the match was Victoria Ravva with 29 points followed by Malgorzata Glinka (21 points). "We played a good game", stated Novara's team captain Virginie De Carne, "even though we are playing better with each match we still need to improve by tomorrow's final." On the other side Victoria Ravva congratulated Novara, stating "We played very well, but unfortunately our opponents played better."

Women's Indesit European Champions' League 2004/05 Final Four in Tenerife (Esp)

Semifinal results Tenerife Marichal (Esp) - Foppapedretti Bergamo (Ita) 0:3 24-26, 18-25, 16-25 79 mins Sant'Orsola Asystel Novara (Ita) - Rc Cannes (Fra) 3:1 22-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-22 101 mins

Further match schedule Sunday, 20 March 2005

13.30 Classification match 3-4 Tenerife Marichal (Esp) - Rc Cannes (Fra) 16.00 Final Foppapedretti Bergamo (Ita) - Sant'Orsola Asystel Novara (Ita)

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