Rookies United Volleys secure ticket to semis after three sets in rematch with Belgian rival
2017 CEV Volleyball Cup - Men
Aalst, Belgium, March 15, 2017. In the second round of the quarterfinals of the 2017 CEV Volleyball Cup – Men, Belgium’s Lindemans AALST had to rally to a 3-0 or 3-1 victory and take the eventual Golden Set as well in order to outplay Germany’s United Volleys RHEINMAIN in the race for a spot in the semis. The home side delivered a very solid performance and managed to win the first set, but the Germans hit back in the following two and thus secured their progression to the semis. Lindemans AALST did their best to win the match in front of their home crowd, but the United Volleys eventually celebrated a 3-2 victory (21-25, 32-30, 25-17, 22-25, 15-9).
After the home side trailed 1-4 in the early stages of the opening set, the game turned into a close affair and the score remained tight up to 20-19. Lindemans AALST scored a few points in a row to make it 23-20 in their favour and the first set finished at 25-21 for the home side with a point scored by Lou Kindt.
After an early 3-1 lead for AALST in the second set, the United Volleys rallied back to claim a three-point advantage at 8-5. The teams exchanged the lead a few times more throughout the set before the visitors broke away at 24-22 in their favour. Lindemans AALST fought back to level the score at 24-all and a real battle followed, with AALST having their first set point at 28-27. Tobias Krick and Christian Dünnes helped RHEINMAIN strike back and two consecutive mistakes made by the Belgians eventually sealed a 32-30 win for the Germans.
The United Volleys set the pace of the game in the third set (8-4, 16-12, 18-13) and at 21-17 they could turn their sights on a spot in the semis of the CEV Cup since they needed to take ‘only’ two sets from the re-match to move on to the next round of the competition. Lindemans AALST were able to close in at 23-17 before a much contested point was given to the Germans; shortly afterwards Moritz Reichert secured a 25-17 win for the visitors and with it a spot in the semis for European Cups rookies RHEINMAIN.
The remainder of the match was more an opportunity for young players to experience the feeling of a European Cup match. Lindemans AALST fought back from an early deficit to edge ahead at the second technical time-out and eventually claim set four at 25-22 before the United Volleys resumed their triumphal march in the tiebreak where they broke away after the side switch to rally to a 15-9 win to celebrate a 3-2 victory.
The European adventure of Lindemans AALST ends in the quarterfinals, whereas the United Volleys RHEINMAIN will continue their journey in the competition. The team captain of the visiting team, Christian Dünnes played only for three sets, and still top scored in the match with 23 points. Reinis Pekmans tallied up 18 points for Lindemans AALST in their losing effort. Even though they lost the match at the tiebreak, AALST out-blocked their opponents 21 to seven, with Ivan Mihalj recording as many as eight blocks on his own.
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