In the first MEVZA League played after a short break due to the holiday season, table leaders OK Merkur MARIBOR (SLO) came back from one set down to celebrate a 3-1 (22-25, 25-17, 25-18, 25-19) win over Final Four tournament hosts Union Raiffeisen WALDVIERTEL (AUT) on home soil. As a result, they increased their points to 23 on a 7-3 win-loss record, while the ‘Nordmänner’ suffered their fifth loss in eight MEVZA League matches they have contested this season so far.
Rok Mozic and Ahmed Ikhbayri top scored for OK Merkur MARIBOR with 18 and 16 points, respectively. URW’s Marek Sulc managed to put 13 points to his name and his teammate Maciej Borris scored nine times. The hosts were clearly better in attack (52% vs 33%). On top of that, they hit three aces more than their opponents did (9 vs 6) and made three own mistakes less (33 vs 36). Last year’s bronze-medallists were slightly better at blocking (9 vs 8).
“We have worked hard during the break but every restart is difficult. After the first set, we managed to regroup and finally we brought the win home safely. I would like to congratulate my team on the victory, but on the other hand there are still a lot of reserves in the game,” OK Merkur MARIBOR’s head coach Sebastijan Skorc explained after his team had cemented the top spot in the standing
URW’s sports director Werner Hahn said: “As expected, it was a difficult start to the new year for our team. We were able to surprise them in the first set, but after that they made full use of their physical superiority.”
The MEVZA League main round is going to continue this coming Wednesday, when bottom of the table UVC Holding GRAZ (AUT) will lock horns with OK Calcit KAMNIK (SLO) and Union Raiffeisen WALDVIERTEL will face defending champions ACH Volley LJUBLJANA (SLO).
MEVZA League main round
09.01.: OK MERKUR MARIBOR (SLO) vs Union Raiffeisen WALDVIERTEL (AUT) 3-1 (22-25, 25-17, 25-18, 25-19)
13.01., 19:00: UVC Holding GRAZ (AUT) vs OK Calcit KAMNIK (SLO)
13.01., 19:00: Union Raiffeisen WALDVIERTEL (AUT) vs ACH Volley LJUBLJANA (SLO)