Fakel NOVY URENGOY rally to compelling home victory over Vikings
2017 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup - Men
Novy Urengoy, Russia, February 16, 2017. Fakel NOVY URENGOY made it a step closer to qualifying to the semi-finals of the 2017 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup – Men after rallying to a 3-0 home victory (25-15, 25-14, 25-22) over Norway’s Viking TIF BERGEN in the first round of the quarterfinals.
Some 1,000 fans came together on Thursday night in Novy Urengoy to support the home team as they attempt to progress to the semis of the Challenge Cup for the second straight year. The visitors from Norway played with a lot of determination but Fakel clearly had an (physical) edge, especially at blocking and in attack as well.
Viking TIF BERGEN put up a fight in the opening set as Fakel relied chiefly on their middle blockers. After an ace from Denis Bogdan, the hosts claimed an 8-6 lead at the first technical time-out; after the break, the Norwegian players made more and more mistakes, thus making it easy for Fakel to rally to a comprehensive 25-15 win propelled by the first tempo attacks from Ilia Vlasov and Vadym Likhosherstov and the spikes from Dmitrii Volkov.
Fakel NOVY URENGOY controlled the match also in the second and third sets even though the Vikings tried hard to change the course of the game. BERGEN even claimed an 8-3 lead in the third set but Fakel fought their way back and sealed a compelling 3-0 victory.
Scott Olsen, head coach of Viking TIF BERGEN: “We knew that we would play a strong team. The players of Fakel are physically incredibly strong and very tall. They serve and block extremely well. Every time we spiked, we had to try to find a way to pass through their blockers. We do not have a fully professional team – most of our players study or work. Therefore, it becomes a challenge to play against a team such as Fakel. As a coach, I do not like to lose, but today I will tell my players that I am proud of them since they played with a lot of energy and passion.”
Igor Chutchev, head coach of Fakel NOVY URENGOY: “Today we could afford some kind of an experiment towards the end of the match where we played with three outside hitters. However, after trying this out for the first time, I realised that we have to test this strategy again in practice in order to make it work. Of course, in the re-match in Norway we will not make any such tests because I am sure that at home our opponents will be showing a different level and kind of performance. Today they were missing two of their key players who had a pivotal role in their victory over OK SIP ŠEMPETER. Therefore, I am sure that the matchup in Bergen will be a completely different story.”
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