Russian teams shine in first round of Champions League Playoffs 6
Belogorie triple block starring Georg Grozer, Dmitriy Muserskiy, and Sergey Tetyukhin was too much to stand also for Trentino and Italy's national team rising star Filippo Lanza |
Luxembourg, February 7, 2014 - Russia’s Zenit KAZAN
and Belogorie BELGOROD plus JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel of Poland claimed this week the
first round of the Playoffs 6 in the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions
League – Men thereby making one step forward on their way to the Final Four
Tournament coming up through March 22-23 in Ankara, Turkey.
Italy’s Copra Elior PIACENZA and Diatec TRENTINO were downed in straight sets
by the Russian giants and should they miss on a spot in the Finals, this would
be the first time since 2005 Italy is not represented in the final act of
Europe’s elite club competition.
The winner of the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League will represent
Europe at the 2014 FIVB Men's Club World Championship which is due to take
place through May 6-11 in Betim, Brazil.
After dominating the scene in the Final Six of the Russian Cup last week,
Belogorie prolonged their winning streak also in the Playoffs 6 where they
easily routed Italy’s champions and CL three-time winners Diatec TRENTINO in
straight sets 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 25-18). TRENTINO had travelled to Russia
without their Bulgarian-born opposite Tsvetan Sokolov who had suffered an
injury during the last match of the national league that Diatec lost 3-0 to
their arch-rivals of Lube Banca Marche MACERATA. This way the team around head
coach Roberto Serniotti did really not stand a chance to stop the Russian
machine and Belogorie needs now to take only another two sets next week in
Italy to book their spot in the Final Four Tournament.
“We really wanted to seize the night and make a step forward on our way to the
Final Four” said Belogorie head coach Gennady Shipulin.
“It is never that easy to play a team like Belogorie but this turns into a
mission impossible when they perform as strong as they did tonight” commented
TRENTINO head coach Roberto Serniotti.
JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel claimed on Wednesday the first round of the Polish derby
with Asseco Resovia RZESZOW delighting more than 3,000 home fans with a
straight victory 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-23) to move closer to a spot in the
Final Four Tournament. The last Final Four appearance for the team from Upper
Silesia dates back to 2011 as they ended their campaign in fourth place by the
time the last act of the competition was held in Bolzano, Italy.
“We are very happy with our performance tonight but we still have to win also
the second game next week in Rzeszow” commented JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel team captain
Michal Lasko. “We only made a first step on our way to the Final Four” added
head coach Lorenzo Bernardi.
“We shall not forget what happened in the Italian derby opposing PIACENZA to
MACERATA in the Playoffs 12 where Copra Elior lost the first game in straight
sets but then came back strong winning the return match as well as the golden
set. Next week we must play with glowing hearts and a cold mind.”
Zenit KAZAN confirmed once more the status of the Russian teams as major forces
to be reckoned with as the players from the capital city of Tatarstan downed
Italy’s Copra Elior PIACENZA in straight sets (25-23, 25-22, and 25-22) in the
first round of the Playoffs 6. This also turned into the first home defeat for
Italy’s vice champions since February 24, 2013. The hosts were evidently
side-lined by the absence of their team captain Hristo Zlatanov while another
pillar of their roster, Alessandro Fei, joined the game but was soon replaced
by Luca Tencati due to illness.
“Even though we won tonight we have to keep our feet on the ground” said
Russian mentor Vladimir Alekno. “We will play the return game at home but this
does not mean that we have already booked our ticket to the Final Four
Tournament. We still have to wait for the second game which is the one that counts
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