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General Volleyball : Polonia lose; volleyball wins
Posted by Media Team on 2019/10/31 11:20:00 (130 reads)

IBB Polonia London lost to HAOK Mladost Zagreb (CEV Champions League) 9:25 12: 22:25
Mountainous blocks thwart London enterprise
Open in new windowSuperbly co-ordinated blocking and low strong serving were the strengths used by Croatia's champions Mladost Zagreb to overcome the pride of London and English champions at the Copper Box in the Olympic Park last night (30th October) before a partisan crowd which cheered its heroes to the final whistle and afterwards.

In due course, Polonia got the measure of the serving but it took them to 2:17 in the first set to do it. However, the excellent way in which they adjusted was illustrated in the rest of the set when they were outscored only by sixteen points to fifteen.

The first part of the second was very even and the teams scored point for point up to 7:all. Then the visitors grabbed a three point lead at 7:10, before gradually moving further in front to 11:16 before extending their advantage including a blocking master class to finish with a surprisingly large thirteen point lead.
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Two sets down, Polonia could not now make the next round of the competition and both sides looked to have relaxed a little. The quality of Zagreb's play fell off slightly in the early stages of the third set. Polonia's improved and when a service ace from Mihail Stoev pushed Polonia's lead to 16:10 it looked as though the evening's entertainment would be extended. Instead it proved the stimulus for revival by the visitors. Gradually they drew closer, eventually tying the scores at 19:all. We were still hoping for a for another set at 22:all but a prolonged substitution by the home side seemed to increase the concentration of the server rather than distract him and Zagreb finished off the match very much as they had started it.

The crowd of around the thousand mark which included Volleyball England's new CEO Susan Storey, had both enjoyed and participated in a wonderful evening of volleyball: One on which the sport needs to build was the view of London association president, Charlie Orton. Polonia's organisation of the event was very professional. The atmosphere in the stadium was electric and the fans were whipped into a frenzy by the entertainment and DJs showing that. London could become a new hotbed of volleyball in the world and is certainly able to stage a world class event.

“The team from Croatia played unbelievable volleyball, but we will keep going. We need to train more, find more sponsors and keep promoting this beautiful sport. Its super important that IBB Polonia London are doing this. The atmosphere was just like in Brazil where they party hard and don’t stop until the end,” said Polonia player and Brazilian star Giba,

“We have to realise that we are at the transition from amateurs to professionals. We played against a super professional team and we can see the result. During training today, only half the team were available, as they were working. Im very happy for the great set that we played. It was not that the other team gave us points. Believe me this was amazing: listen to my voice,” added Evangelos Koutouleas, the team's head coach.

“We came here for victory and this is what we achieved. We will play the champions of Austria next. In London we played an excellent match and in two sets we performed solidly. In the third set we lost concentration, but despite this, we won. The atmosphere was amazing; I hope we will come back to play IBB Polonia London again some time and hope that they will continue to improve. Let’s see each other again in the Champions League,” Ravic Ivan, Mladost Zagreb graciously said after the game.

“The match in Zagreb was hard, because this was the first time that we saw this English team. After the first match, we did our scouting and had a solid match plan organised ahead of today. The first two sets were good for us, because technically we are a better team. The third set gave us some technical problems and I had to make some changes; but finally we won the match 3:0 and we enjoyed the atmosphere in the hall. The organisation was very, very good from the home team. I want everything good for this club. I think England must have a good team in the Champions League because England is a big country. I think they have the possibility,” added Radovan Malevic, Head Coach of Mladost Zagreb.

IBB Polonia London announced that it has a chance to play in CEV Cup. More about this tournament will be published soon. This weekend, IBB Polonia London has a match in the English Super League. It is away fixture against Richmond Docklands at Kingston Arena, first serve at half past four.

Contributor, Douglas Barr-Hamilton

Additional material, Katarzyna Strag

Picture, sandsphotos

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