LP Salo wins sixth straight crown in Finnish national league
LP SALO stormed back after losing the third match to bring the best-of-five series to an end by 4-1. All previous matches had ended at the tie-break but this time LP Salo’s supremacy was never in danger. The multiple champions of LP Salo easily won the first and second set but had to stand the challenge brought by their opponents in the third where Oriveden could not capitalize on three set balls before Noora Kosonen finished it off with a terrific spike.
Sini Häkkinen is the only player of LP Salo who has contributed to each of these six titles. She shares this honour with Sports Director Tomi Leminkäinen and with Trainer Auno Lindh. Setter Viktoriia Polishchuk and middle-blocker Dubravka Rakic (Stojanovic) were voted best players of the Championship series. The setter of Oriveden Ponnistus, Annina Antikainen, received the award for the best player of the losing team. Oriveden Ponnistus could be happy with their performance this season for they improved from last year’s bronze medal to settle this time for silver.
“I think that these matches were worthy of a Championship series right from the moment it got started,” said the head coach of LP Salo, Kari Raatikainen. “The level was really high and the audience got what it wanted to see. They have seen that we are strong and that we were able to raise the level of our performance towards the end. We had to take on the Championship series in difficult conditions because we were missing Noora Kosonen. Today she joined the game and she definitely made the difference as she is used to.”
This year LP Salo lost only two matches in the national league, won silver in Finland’s national cup and made the 1/4 finals of the 2014 CEV Volleyball Cup losing there to Turkey’s heavyweight Fenerbahce SK Istanbul.
“Congratulations to LP Salo, I think they had a fantastic season,” commented the head coach of Oriveden, Laszlo Hollosy. “Maybe they are still too strong for us but we have made it a little closer to their level. However, I have to admit that in the last couple of matches they were much stronger than us. They have played international matches, and this makes the difference. I am nevertheless proud of my team and have to thank our management. We have been working really hard and I think that we have improved a lot along the way to these Finals.”
Oriveden’s only title in the Finnish national league dates back to 1997 but this was the eleventh medal in history for the side mentored by Hungarian-born Hollosy who just spent his first season in Finland.
Bronze went to HPK Hämeenlinna that edged past LP Kangasala in the classification matches for places 3-4.
Last year LP Salo wrote history by becoming Finland’s first female club to make the semis of the European Cups. They did so after reaching the next-to-last stage of the 2013 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup where they lost to eventual winners Dinamo Krasnodar of Russia.