Kamnik, Slovenia. Calcit Volley KAMNIK qualified on Wednesday night for the 8th Finals of the CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup 2021 – and they did so in emphatic style after recording a second 3-0 victory (25-16, 25-17, 25-17) in as many matches they have had with OK Vardar SKOPJE of North Macedonia. Their next opponent in the competition will be Italy’s heavyweight Allianz Powervolley MILANO.
Calcit Volley started the second match with a slightly different line-up. Mitja Gasparini returned to play as their opposite, Žan Beravs as setter, while the young 19-year-old talent Rok Jeron?i? started the game for the first time in a Calcit jersey – eventually recording as many as three blocks in the opening set alone. Just like the night before, Diko Puri? helped move Vardar away from the net and Calcit broke away for a six-point lead (13-7). Gasparini helped the hosts extend their advantage even further (22-12) and despite some little flaws in the late stages of the set, Calcit ran away comfortable winners at 25-16.
The home team started the second set somewhat condescendingly, as their attack was no longer effective, and the visitors forced Gregor Jeron?i? into his first time-out after scoring three consecutive points for 8-7. This woke up the Slovenian team, as the hosts changed gear and imposed their supremacy again (21-15). The overall winner was decided at the end of the set (25-17) with two spikes from Gasparini, combined with one by young middle blocker Jeron?i? and an ace by Puri?.
Although the third set was just a formality, the home team took the lead (13-7) after a well-played first tempo by Puri? and two consecutive aces by 16-year-old Nik Mujanovi?. Even after a time-out called by OK Vardar, Calcit did not slow down their pace and after Gal Kos’s point, they were leading with a margin of eight points at 18-10. With that, the fate of the third set was clear and Kos eventually sealed a second 3-0 victory for Calcit in as many matches.
Gregor Jeron?i?, Calcit Volley’s head coach: “We are pleased with securing our spot in the 8th Finals. The difference in the quality between one team and the other was obvious, so we were able to give the opportunity to play to all members of the team and prepare them for what lies ahead. We are happy with the overall performance that we delivered – mainly because we had problems with the virus and for a long time, we did not even know if we were able to host and play these two matches. The next step is Milan. We know that this is a top team, in which a member of the Slovenian national team [Jan Kozamernik] plays. So far, we are not dealing with this problem. It is certainly a match that we are looking forward to and we will try to play it as good as possible and compete with them on a high level.”
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