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Skra, Kazan build momentum in Europe ahead of Club Worlds

 
David Fiel Rodriguez on the attack against the block of Trefl Gdansk's Ruben Schott and Piotr Nowakowski as PGE Skra Belchatow open their European Champions League campaign with a win, ahead of hosting the FIVB Club World Championship next week.
Lausanne, Switzerland, November 21, 2018 - Both PGE Skra Belchatow of Poland and defending champions Zenit Kazan of Russia head off to the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men's Club World Championship after opening their European Champions League campaigns with wins this week.

Skra, hosts of the Club World Championship as reigning Polish champions, were led by Mariusz Wlazy who scored 20 points in their win 3-1 (21-25, 35-33, 25-19, 26-24) at home over PlusLiga rivals Trefl Gdansk. Skra put on pressure from the service line, including five aces by Karol Klos alone.

Kazan, the reigning Russian, European and world champions, destroyed United Volleys of Frankfurt 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-13) in just over an hour before 2600 fans in the Tatarstan capital, as coach Vladimir Alekno got the chance to rest some key players for all or some of the game. Andrey Surmachevskiy with 12 points was top scorer of the game, as Kazan put up a solid block that yielded 11 stuffs.



The Club World Championship features eight teams starting on Monday in two pools of four across Poland.

Pool A in Plock includes both Skra and Kazan, alongside the second Russian entry of Fakel Novy Urengoy and last year's runners-up Cucine Lube Civitanova of Italy.

Pool B in Rzeszow sees the local side of Asseco Resovia come up againt South American and Brazil champions Sada Cruzeiro Contagem, Asian champions Khatam Ardakan of Iran and Italy's Itas Trentino of Trento.

The top two of each pool will advance to crosswise semifinals followed by the medals matches, all in Czestochowa.

Lube are also in the European Champions League, but play their opening game on Thursday when they host Azimut Leo Shoes Modena in an all-Italian derby.



In Europe's second-tier CEV Cup, meanwhile, Trentino thundered past Lausanne UC in Switzerland 3-0 (25-18, 25-14, 25-20) in the first leg of their home-and-away Round 2 tie. Coach Angelo Lorenzetti also got the opportunity to rest some of the players he counts on for the World Championship next week, as Maarten Van Garderen emerged his side's best scorer with 11 points. Aaron Russell and Luca Vettori added another 10 each.

Elsewhere, Resovia finally registered their first win in Poland's PlusLiga last weekend, when, inspired by Damian Schulz (26 points) and Rossard Thibault (23) they beat Trefl Gdnansk 3-1 (25-16, 22-25, 25-20, 25-22) on the road - though they still sit at the very bottom of the standings after eight matches.

And in Brazil, Sada Cruzeiro scored yet another win in their latest match before embarking on their trip to Poland. Kevin Le Roux scored 11 points and Rodrigo Leao 10 as Sada Cruzeiro swept Caramuru Volei 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 25-20) at home in the Riachao.

Sada Cruzeiro lead the Superleague standings, but have played two matches more than the only undefeated sides in the competition, Sesc Rio de Janeiro and Sesi Sao Paulo.



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