Haching Blocked Out
Posted by Salman Mitha
Posted in Volleyball
Generali Sport Arena, Unterhaching – When two teams meet that are evenly matched, the only element that separates them are timely breaks. For Generali Haching, the breaks went against them at the most inopportune times.
ACH Volley Ljubljana were able to get the breaks and thus move on in the CEV Volleyball Champions League after a 3-1 (30-28, 25-20, 17-25, 28-26) victory against Haching, who now will play in the CEV Cup.
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Coming into the final Pool D match, both teams were out to win. Ljubljana needed any victory, while Haching needed either a 3-0 or 3-1 win, and some help from other teams in the Champions League competition. And both teams came out hungry.
Back-and-forth they went in the first set, exchanging points like boxing fighters and punches. There were thirteen ties during the opening round of this heavyweight fight. At 19-19, Christian Dünnes and Matias Raymaekers blocked shots, and Jan Willem Snippe a kill. Haching held a 22-19 lead and looked like a team finally would break away. But a block and a Uroš Kovačević kill later, it was tied again at 22-22.
Raymaekers and Dünnes teamed up again, consecutive blocks and the 1,031 home fans were screaming for set point. But ACH would fight each point, in fact they would face four set points. Milan Rasic would score to hold off Haching the last time, he finished the set with seven points, and Kovačević earned the Volleys their final set point. Kovačević would score eight points.
Haching seemed deflated, knowing they blew a huge opportunity. Despite the slim chance to stay in the Champions League was still alive, they allowed ACH to control the second set. It was close, but not enough, as Haching lost the second set, and were officially eliminated. However, pride was at stake for Haching, plus ACH still had to win to move on without help.
The one set that any one team controlled was the third and it was Haching with a renewed sense of purpose. Simon Hirsch and Konstantin Shumov each tallied 5 points in the 25-17 beat down in the set. But clearly ACH used the set to take a step back and breathe.
The fourth and final set was an exact replica of the first, as the clubs would go down in a flurry. Fourteen times the set was tied, Haching obviously wanting to take the match to the limit, Ljubljana wanting to go home. Finally, costly errors by Haching and ACH won out 28-26. Kovačević led all scorers with 21 points, Rasic added 19, and Borislav Petrovic 14 points.
Haching were led by Branislav Skladany’s 15 points, Shumov tallied 14 points, while Alexandar Shafranovich contributed 13 points.
The draw for the next round of the CEV Champions League and Cup competitions are expected later this week.
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