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Belarus’ national leagues enter deciding stage


Minsk, Belarus, April 14, 2014 The teams of Minchanka Minsk and Pribuzhie Brest are currently playing the Championship series of Belarus’ women’s national league. The best-of-five final started over the weekend with matches played on Saturday and Sunday. Minchanka claimed the opening round (3-1) before Pribuzhie bounced back to score a 3-2 victory to tie the count.

Minchanka Minsk is the pre-favourite going into the finals but the team mentored by Serbian-born coach Branislav Moro has been going through ups and downs lately and could not impose their rule on the matches played over the weekend.

As for Pribuzhie, the team from the city of Brest is back in contention for the title after many years where it did not play a major role in domestic competitions.

This season, however, a few experienced players have joined forces with the club, with Aksana Kavalchuk – a long-time member of the Belarusian national team – being their undisputed leader on as well as off the court.

Minchanka, on the other hand, is anchored by the duo comprising home star Ekaterina Skrabatun and Serbian wing-spiker Katarina Jovanovic.

On Sunday Minchanka lost the first and second set of their match with Pribuzhie (17-25, 21-25) before they stormed back to win
the third and fourth set (25-20, 25-23). The tie-break that followed turned into a real drama with Minchanka’s coach Branislav Moro receiving a red card before Brest could start their party after a 15-12 set victory.

The Championship series will now continue on April 19-20 with two matches which are due to take place in Brest.

The teams fighting for bronze have also shared victories at the end of the first weekend, with Zhemchuzhina Polesia and Atlant Baranovichi now going to prolong their rivalry on April 18-19 in Baranovichi.

The men’s national league is also approaching its end with four teams – Stroitel Minsk, Kommunalnik Grodno, Bate-Bsu Borisov and Shakhtior Soligorsk – still in contention for the title. The final stage will get started in Grodno on April 18-20 but the winners will be known only after a second round robin which is due to take place in Minsk on April 25-27 with matches to be broadcast live on the sports channel Belarus-5.

Shakhtior Soligorsk is the team that represented Belarus in this year’s Russian Superleague, while Stroitel made the
quarterfinals of the CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup losing there to eventual winners Fenerbahce Grundig Istanbul of Turkey.


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