Maribor volleyball players in the final

KAMNIK – Calcit Volley lost the return semi-final match of the Mevza League at home against Nova KBM Branik 1:3 (-17, 14, -21, -17). Calcit Volley won the first match 3:0 (-21, -13, -19), so the golden set decided that the Maribor volleyball players, who won the set 15:7, will advance to the finals. On Saturday, 11 March, the two teams will compete in the final of the Slovenian Cup in Velenje.

On Saturday, the home volleyball team lost to Maribor for the second time in a week. Both times by 2:3, which was a big enough reprimand for them, even though they outplayed Bruno Najdic’s team in the first semi-final match in Maribor a week ago. The Kamnik players would have needed only two sets to advance to the final, and join the Hungarian team Bekescsaba, who beat Mladost Zagreb only after the golden set 15:11 – 3:2 for Mladost in Zagreb and 3:2 for Bekescsaba in Hungary. They stayed with one, three were won by the Maribor players, who also won the golden set convincingly.

In the first set, Maribor volleyball players dominated in reception, with 64%, and especially in attack, with 76%. On the other hand, the Kamnik players were only 27% successful in reception, and their attack was a bit better, 46%, but it was not enough to threaten the lead of the guests, who led 8:3 with a point by Lorena Lorber Fijok, and 12:6 after an attack by Iza Mlakar and 18:11and another point by Maribor’s setter. Although Gregor Rozman took his second half-minute break, it did not change the course of the set, which Mlakar ended with her eighth point.

The Kamnik players entered the second set in a completely different way, with the visitors still leading 5:4, but a reversal came on the serve of Nina Stojiljkovic. A block by Sara Hutinska gave the home volleyball team a five-point lead (10:5), and Najdic took his second half-minute break. After that, Neneh Sillah was successful in attack and only Mlakar broke the streak of seven consecutive points for Kamnik. The home team reached a new high (16:7) on Hutinski’s serve and the guests’ own mistake, and after a block by Lucille Charuk and a 19:9 lead, it was finally clear that the set would be tied. The last point was scored by the home team, who continued to be better on the receiving end, where players from Maribor were only 20% on offence, but the Kamnik players were 47%, and they also scored four blocks.

But the start of the third set was again in Maribor’s favour, as they escaped the home team by four points (7:3) on the serve of Klara Milosic and a point by Mlakar. Although the Kamnik players tied the score on the seventh point on Stojiljkovic’s serve and Hutinski’s block, the Maribor players responded with a 12:4 split and a 19:12 lead. In the playoffs, the visitors took advantage of a fourth final ball through Mlakar. Kamnik’s offence was again weak, with only 30% of the offense and Maribor’s 53%, but Mlakar contributed nine points on 69% shooting.

In the very important fourth set, which already decided whether the golden set would be needed to qualify for the finals or whether the home volleyball players would qualify, the Maribor players got their first big lead with an ace by Pogacar (9:6). The Kamnik players were in even more trouble after another ace, this time by Mlakar and a block by Milosic, as they were already five points behind (14:9). After an ace by Tali Lekse and then a block by Milosic for 17:10, the golden set was more and more in sight. On a serve from Ana Marija Vovk, the Kamnik players closed to within three points (15:18), and that was more or less all they did in this set. After two errors of their own, they were again seven points behind (16:23). The last point of the fourth set was scored by Isa Rami?.

Two aces by Ronja Stampar gave Maribor a 3:1 lead in the golden set, and a point by Lorber Fijok made it 6:3, so Rozman was forced to take a half-minute break. With a poor reception from the home team, the bankers went into the changeover with a five-point lead, and after the changeover Milosic was already successful in the block. The Maribor players did not squander the advantage, the win was confirmed by the best player of the game, Mlakar, and on 17 March they will return to Kamnik once again, only to play the Mevza League final against Bekescsaba.

In the end, the home players were only 36% on reception and 39% on attack, while the visitors were 57% on reception and 51% on attack. They had six aces and seven blocks, while the Kamnik players had four aces and ten blocks.