|Luxembourg, December 6, 2017. The eagerly anticipated Italian derby featuring Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA and Sir Colussi Sicoma PERUGIA lived up to the expectations with the ‘Match of the Week’ producing a real drama – and ending in a come-from-behind victory for the ‘Block Devils’ of PERUGIA in a replay of the 2017 semi-final. Zenit KAZAN surprisingly lost one set to rookies Spacer’s TOULOUSE VB but eventually swept the following three to start their quest for a fourth straight CEV Volleyball Champions League crown in style. Newcomers CHAUMONT VB 52 Haute Marne produced the sensation of the night with their 3-1 away victory over PGE Skra BELCHATOW but JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel promptly restored Poland’s honour as they stormed to a 3-0 home victory over the BR Volleys. Zaksa KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE pulled out a 3-0 victory over Arkas IZMIR to open the second night of play in the group stage of the 2018 CEV Volleyball Champions League – Men. The visitors from Poland claimed three almost equally close sets to take the top spot in the current standing of Pool E.
JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel (POL) vs. BERLIN Recycling Volleys (GER) 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 26-24)
• As many as 1,700 people came together for this eagerly anticipated match.
Salvador Hidalgo Oliva, outside hitter of JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel: “It was a dream coming true. Actually, it was my first game in the group phase of the Champions League. I was very excited, because I played against my former team. I know these guys very well, and a lot of them are my friends. I have no words to describe how I feel right now.”
Luke Perry, libero of the BR Volleys: “We are really disappointed with how we played. We give credit to JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel, but we are not satisfied with our performance. They took all the chances. On the other hand, we couldn’t take our chances in the right moments.”
Sir Colussi Sicoma PERUGIA (ITA) vs. Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA (ITA) 3-2 (28-30, 20-25, 25-23, 25-19, 15-9)
• In the first set, PERUGIA had an extraordinary winning streak thanks to Atanasijevic. During the second set, Atanasjievic scored three times in a row, including an ace measured at 119 km/h.
Aleksandar Atanasijevic, player of Sir Colussi Sicoma PERUGIA: “This evening we demonstrated our character, we showed that we are a big team and that we can play as a real collective. This win is extremely important for us because it allows us to keep working with the right spirit and focus. We will have a long way to go in this competition, but we are determined to achieve further success and we want to win again.”
Giampaolo Medei, head coach of Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA: “This was an extremely important match. We had to show more determination and concentration. It is important to maintain our concentration also during the second part of a match. This evening we paid a high price as we failed to do so and because of our own mistakes. All of my congratulations to PERUGIA.”
PGE Skra BELCHATOW (POL) vs. CHAUMONT VB 52 Haute Marne (FRA) 1-3 (25-19, 18-25, 19-25, 27-29)
• The clear favourite of this game eventually lost it despite winning the opening set in emphatic style. The French rookies making their first ever appearance in the CEV Champions League showed great determination and they caught a perfect start to their campaign in the very competitive Pool C.
Silvano Prandi, head coach of CHAUMONT VB 52: “I could not recognise my team in the first set, we played very negative. Fortunately, in the next sets we started to play our Volleyball – it is not the greatest in the world, but it is a really good one. We are a decent team and showed how to fight for every ball and how to defend. The serves? The serve is an artwork; you cannot know in advance that you will serve perfectly. We practiced a lot and it paid off. We deserved to win.”
Spacer’s TOULOUSE VB (FRA) vs. Zenit KAZAN (RUS) 1-3 (31-29, 20-25, 23-25, 19-25)
• Spacer’s TOULOUSE VB caused a real sensation by taking the first set of their matchup with Zenit KAZAN (31-29) on a block of their rising star, 19-year-old middle blocker Barthélémy Chinenyeze.
Nicolas Burel, player of Spacer’s TOULOUSE VB: “Even though Zenit KAZAN are the strongest team in Europe at the moment, we prepared very thoroughly for this match. We received very well and as a result, our setter Miguel de Amo could play with our middle blockers too. The first set we were trailing by two, three points, nevertheless we maintained the pressure high with our side out and we edged them at the end. It felt truly great! In the second and in the fourth sets, we put up a fight and were close too but we were not able to cause again the same sensation as we did in the first set. We hope that our supporters had a lot of fun with this match.”
Arkas IZMIR (TUR) vs. Zaksa KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE (POL) 0-3 (23-25, 28-30, 23-25)
• Arkas IZMIR claimed an early lead in the first set (8-7), which they kept for most of the time (16-15) before Zaksa edged ahead towards the end (25-23).
Glenn Hoag, head coach of Arkas IZMIR: “We played ok certain times but we have many young players and when you make several execution errors as we did, it is hard to play against a team like Zaksa. We need to take our lesson from this loss. We will focus on the next match against Noliko MAASEIK.”