Paris, France, February 25, 2014. The Romanian champion Tomis CONSTANTA achieved a fantastic comeback in its away first-leg semifinal match against PARIS Volley in the 2014 CEV Volleyball Cup - Men. After being down by two sets against the French powerhouse, head coach Martin Stoev led his team to an eventual 3:2 (23-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-13, 15-9) victory.
In the first set, Tomis itself allowed a turnaround in favor of the opponent. The Romanians were in control of the scoreboard with their lead going as far wide as 10-5. However, at the very end of the set, after trailing by 22-23, the Parisians scored three in a row to flip it to a 25-23 win on an ace by Jeroen Trommel. This mishap probably affected the visiting players psychologically and they committed far too many unforced errors in the second set. The French side put more precision into their actions and deservedly finished it off at 25-20 to double the lead to 2:0. After multiple protests, Israel Calderon Rodriguez even received a red card late in the second set.
PARIS Volley thought it was time to go for the kill and broke away to a 7-3 lead in the third set aiming for the shutout. But this was not part of Tomis’s plans. The Romanian team gradually improved its reception and efficiency in offense to level the score. Prompting a very exciting second half of the set and exploiting a couple of mistakes by PARIS opposite Mory Sidibé, the squad from the Black Sea coast started its comeback with the eventual 25-23. The fourth set seemed like a summer breeze for the Romanians. The guys from Constanta showed better and better efforts on the court while nothing seemed to be working for the home squad anymore. Tomis shot up to close the set at a landslide 25-13 and tied the match at 2:2.
Martin Stoev’s players never looked back. In the crucial fifth set, they continued their complete domination on the court. Playmaker and captain Andrey Zhekov led his teammates - and especially MVP Dmitrii Bahov - to an early 5-2 lead that eventually bubbled up to another impressive score – 15-9, and the U-turn of the match was completed.
Israel Rodriguez Calderon was the best scorer of this match with 22 points for Tomis. Teammate Martin Nemec added 20. Mory Sidibe was the home team’s top point-maker, finishing with 21.
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