MEVZA: Calcit Volley defeated SK Zadruga Aich/Dob

KAMNIK – Calcit Volley defeated SK Zadruga Aich/Dob for the fourth time this season in the first semi-final match of the Mevza League, but they needed at least two sets won to qualify for the final of this competition. 

The only time they have played in the semi-finals was five years ago, when they were beaten by SK Zadruga Aich/Dob, who were eliminated in the semi-finals this time. In the final, Kamnik will play ACH Volley, who also beat Merkur Maribor in the return leg, this time without losing a set. The Ljubljana team will also defend last year’s trophy.

The match started with the home team leading 10:6 with a block by Daniel Apozna, but after some poor reception and an ace by Stefan Kaibald, the  SK Zadruga Aich/Dob  tied the score on the 12th point. Their joy didn’t last long, as Calcit Volley, with a more composed game and two consecutive successful attacks by Nik Mujanovic, entered the playoffs with a four-point lead (21:17). Zlatan Jordanov brought his team back to within two points (20:22 and 21:23), and in the playoffs Uroš Pavlovic and Miloš Arsenoski secured the opening set win for Kamnik with blocks.

Although Calcit Volley was the first to score two points in the second set – after a 3:1 block by Uroš Pavlovic – it was the  SK Zadruga Aich/Dob who took a 10:8 lead with a block by Kaibald. Home coach Jurij Žavbi decided to take a time-out, but his team made four consecutive service errors, which was one of the reasons why the visitors led 15:12 after a successful attack by Jordanov. Žavbi took a second half-minute break, but after another point by Kaibald, the home volleyball team was already four points behind. This time it was the Kamnik players who had to chase their opponent. Pavlovic’s point quickly brought the score to 16:17, but again it was a better serve that was missing to turn the game around. What’s more,  SK Zadruga Aich/Dob escaped with another point by Jordanov at 22:19 and after a block by Kaibald, they tied the game at 1:1 in sets.

The second set ended in the same way as the home team started the third, as the visitors led 6:3 after a point by Lamprose Pitakoudis. After a time-out and two consecutive points by Aponza, the Kamnik players came within a point, but after their own mistake they were three points behind again (8:11). The trouble was not over for the Kamnik team, as after a block by the guests they were already down by four points (9:13). Mujanovic halved the deficit with an ace (11:13), but after another four-point deficit (13:17), Žavbi took his second time-out. After that, the visitors were the better team, leading 23:16 and the set was finally decided.

Calcit Volley needed a win in the fourth set to advance to the finals, because if they lost, the golden set would decide who would move on. Although the start of the set did not bode well, with the visitors leading 4:2, the home team quickly got back into the game and with two consecutive aces from Aponza, they themselves got a three-point lead (9:6). After a successful attack from Mujanovic, it was 11:7 and after a block from Aponza, it was 15:10 for Calcit Volley. This time, Zoran Kedacic took his second half-minute break, but after it the young opposite scored another ace. The home team was also leading 20:13, but  SK Zadruga Aich/Dob came close with three consecutive points to close the gap to four points (16:20). Before the playoffs started and Kamnik was leading 21:16, Alan Košenina of the home team and Jordanov of the visiting team received red cards, and after a break of several minutes, the match was resumed. In a tense playoff,  SK Zadruga Aich/Dob came back to within two points (21:23), but Luis Sosa Sierra and Aponza’s seventh block of the game only secured Kamnik’s qualification to the Mevza League finals.

The last set was just a formality. Calcit Volley had more motivation and desire for the final victory, leading 4:0 after two consecutive aces by Mujanovic, and they also had a four-point advantage at the change of sides. This was enough to give them the final victory in the return semi-final match of the Mevza League.