Lokomotiv Novosibirsk scored a straight-set win on Wednesday against Budvanska Rivijera Budva in what turned out later to be their last match in Europe before the Final Four tournament.
The last week in Pool B of the CEV Champions League crowned the “railmen” of Lokomotiv Novosibirsk as group winners. Not taking a gamble with their Montenegrin opposition, the Russian Cup holders used the potential of all key players to secure the win which guaranteed the eventual top position. With the advance of the match and with the good news coming from Ceske Budejovice, head coach Andrey Voronkov used all his substitutes to finish the job the main squad had already started.
Meanwhile, Budvanska Rivijera, having released themselves from the burden of high expectations, put on a decent performance. In the absence of their starting opposite Oliver Venno, who left the team to join Rennes Volley in the French Ligue A, Budva were mostly tantamount to their hosts in the first and the third set, but ultimately dropped all chances to score a set in their favour.
Lokomotiv provided 1200 spectators with a reason to cheer despite the freezing winter conditions in Novosibirsk (below -30 C). In addition to their next round qualification, the European Volleyball Confederation approved their bid to host the Final Four tournament in the middle of March. However, the city of Novosibirsk will not organize the event, but the honour will be given to a city situated 700 km west – Omsk.
Lokomotiv Novosibirsk – Budvanska Rivijera Budva 3-0 (25-22, 25-15, 29-27)
Lokomotiv Novosibirsk: Butko 3, Nilsson 8, Divis 2, Biryukov 12, Volvich 12, Gutsalyuk 6, Golubev – libero, Zubkov, Makhortov, Voronkov 3, Zhilin 10, Shulepov 3
Budvanska Rivijera Budva: Vujovic, Cuk 4, Cacic 10, Dukic 14, Suljagic 11, Markovic 7, Rasovic – libero, Petkovic, Maksimovic 2
The German champions were in a need of points in their visit in Czech Republic to stand better chances among all seven pool runner-ups (providing that Lokomotiv have no difficulties at home against Budva and secure the first position). It proved to be a tough task for head coach Mark Lebedew and his boys as the hosts Jihostroj would not sacrifice their efforts in vain – a victory for the Czech champions would, on the other hand, give them a theoretical possibility to advance to the Challenge Round of the CEV Cup.
The good start by Berlin Recycling Volleys (25-21) triggered the Czech emotions and after three exciting sets Jihostroj grabbed all three points. The result sent both teams exactly where they were heading to before the match itself – Berlin made it to the Play-Off 12 elimination phase, where the defending Champions League winners Zenit Kazan are standing on their way, whereas Jihostroj Ceske Budejovice gathered enough points to advance within the best 3rd-ranked teams block to the CEV Cup, where they will face the pleasant surprise Maliye Milli Piyango Ankara from Turkey in the Challenge Round.
Jihostroj Ceske Budejovice – Berlin Recycling Volleys 3-1 (21-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-23)
Jihostroj Ceske Budejovice: Zapletal 2, Krisko 1, Rojas 21, Platenik 20, Mach 12, Sobotka 6, Juracka – libero, Novotny 10, Michalek 1, Sukuba 1
Berlin Recycling Volleys: Shoji 3, Spirovski 7, Touzinsky 9, Kromm 8, Fischer 13, Kmet 5, Krystof – libero, Sikiric, Hoehne 5, Galandi, Kuehner 1, Carroll 14
1 – Lokomotiv Novosibirsk, 15 pts, 16-5
2 – Berlin Recycling Volleys, 11 pts, 14-10
3 – Jihostroj Ceske Budejovice, 7 pts, 9-13
4 – Budvanska Rivijera Budva, 3 pt, 6-17
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