Game 1: Women from Maribor without a losing streak until their first victory
Nova KBM Branik (SLO): Mlakar21, Milosic K. 9, Salamun, Stampar, Ulrih, Lekse 11, Senekovic, Cikac, Farkas, Ramic 7, Milosic N. 9, Potokar, Tisma 2
Coaches: Kozamernik, Kos
Oberbarnk Steelvolelleys Linz Steg (AUT): Duvnjak 3, Raab, Stivers 10, Maas 2, Mehlem 3, Zinger 7, Ubiparip, Nunez, Hohenuer 10, Deisl, Snape, Schmollmuller
Coaches: Morando, Kitzmuller
Referees: Horvath, Mezoffy
In the first match of the first tournament of the Central European League, the home team Nova KBM Branik hosted volleyball players from Linz, Austria, in the Lukna Sports Hall. The players of Nova KBM Branika started the match better, twice leading by three points (4:1 and 9:6), but the guests from Linz each time got closer to one point behind. At the 13th point, the two teams were tied, and then the guests took the lead with 16:14, mainly due to good service, which caused the most problems for the home women’s side, Ramic. After a half-minute break by the local coach, the local women managed to equalize the result, but with good service and defense they managed to escape again by three points. The second half-minute of the Nova KBM coach’s break brought a new surge to the home side, who reduced the score to one point behind (18:19). This was the signal for a half-minute break for the coach from Linz, but it brought more success to the home team, who managed to score two consecutive points. But the visitors stopped the attack and tied the score at 20:20. In the end of the set, the local players were more collected and won the set with a score of 25:22.
The beginning of the second set was equal until the fourth point, when Mlakar stepped on the serve and with strong serves prevented the guests from playing fast in the attack. The home team took the lead with a score of 8:4. After a half-minute break by the visiting coach, the guests managed to reduce the deficit to two points. But the home team again strung together a series of five points and took the lead with 13:6. In the rest of the game, the domestic volleyball players dominated the court as well, gaining a considerable advantage on Tisma’s serves. The guests couldn’t find a recipe for the attacking services of the home women, and the advantage soon amounted to an elusive 12 points (21:9). Nova KBM safely brought the set to the end (25:12) and took a 2:0 lead in the sets.
The home team also started the third set better, as they took a 5:2 lead. After a successful Linz attack, Hohenauer canceled out the advantage with two ace serves. Even a half-minute break did not break the streak of the Linza player, who scored two more direct points from the serve. It wasn’t until Linz’s ninth point that Mlakar took care of stopping the streak of the visiting team. Even in the continuation, the players of Linz did not give in and managed to hold an advantage of four points (16:11), when Mlakar first finished the attack and then Klara Milosic counterattacked. With strong serves, Mlakar started the reception of Linz and at 17:16 the home team took the lead again. The women from Maribor were more determined and scored two more points in a row and forced the visiting coach into another half-minute break. Mlakar continued to serve excellently and was also successful in finishing counterattacks. The women from Maribor won the set with a score of 25:18 and thus earned their first victory in this year’s MEVZA competition.
Game 2: In Maribor, Dinamo also reached their first victory
OK Dinamo Zagreb (CRO): Nincevic 2, Dugi 1, Deak 4, Sulic, Peric, Mlinar 5, Trcol 12, Kruhonja, Koller, Uzun, Vrbanc 15, Sola, Stosic, Babic 10
Coaches: Simuncic, Kvesic
Oberbank Steelvolelleys Linz Steg (AUT): Duvnjak 1, Raab 1, Stivers 4, Maas 5, Mehlem, Zinger 7, Ubiparip 9, Nunez, Hohenuer 3, Deisl, Snape, Schmollmuller, Trathnigg 3
Coaches: Morando, Kitzmuller
In the second match of the first tournament of the MEVZA Central European League, the team from Austria’s Linz was defeated for the second time. OK Dinamo from Zagreb defeated them without a loss, and tomorrow they will face the home team Nova KBM Branik.
The second match of the tournament in Maribor did not offer particularly high-quality volleyball, as Dinamo was too strong an opponent for Linz. The Austrian players had a better start to the first set, as they took the lead with a score of 8:6. However, the Dinamo players showed more in the continuation, who first equalized the result and then quickly escaped to a three-point lead. By the end of the set, the players of the Croatian club showed more especially in attacking actions, they were also better at receiving serves. They ended the series with a four-point advantage (25:21).
Right from the start of the second set, OK Dinamo dictated the tempo of the game, as they already had a five-point lead by the eighth point won. Linz Steg had problems receiving serves, while Dinamo easily finished off counterattacks. When Dinamo scored 16 points, the opponents managed to collect only five, and by the end of the set only 14 in total. In the second set, Dinamo’s players scored 12 points from attack and counterattack, Linz’s players only 7. In fact, Zagreb’s women were better in all volleyball elements and they deservedly won the series smoothly.
Despite this, the Oberbank Steelvolelleys Linz Steg team did not give up and showed more in the third set than the Dinamo players even expected. In terms of results, the latter could not significantly distance themselves from their opponents, who successfully kept the rhythm, as the gap did not depend on more than two points until the result 14:16. But the closer the series got to the end, the more determined the Dinamo players were to finish the match without losing a set. They took advantage of the opportunities offered and first increased the advantage to three points (21:18), and in the end they won the series with a score of 25:20 and registered their first victory in the MEVZA league.
The most effective player in the match was Vrbanc with 15 points, Trcol scored three less. On the side of the Austrian team, Ubiparip won the most points for her team, 9 in total.
Game 3: The players from Maribor completely outplayed Dinamo from Zagreb
Nova KBM Branik (SLO): Mlakar 23, Milosic K. 8, Salamun, Stampar, Ulrih, Lekse 8, Senekovic, Cikac, Farkas, Ramic 11, Milosic N. 7, Potokar, Tisma 5
Coaches: Kozamernik, Kos
OK Dinamo Zagreb (CRO): Nincevic, Dugi 4, Deak 1, Sulic 5, Peric 2, Mlinar, Trcol 3, Kruhonja 2, Kollert, Uzun, Vrbanc 2, Sola 1, Stosic, Babic 7
Coaches: Simuncic, Samardzic
Referees: Horvath, Mezoffy
In the third match of the tournament in Maribor, the two teams faced off, which before this meeting had not conceded a series to the Linz team. This is also why it was expected that the spectators will be able to see a significantly more even match than the first two matches of this tournament.
And that’s how the match began in the Lukna hall. Until the fifth point, the two teams were completely equal. Then the Nova KBM Branik volleyball players gained a two-point advantage, but only for a short time. The series of four points was provided by Dugi, who started the home team’s reception with decisive services from the jump. However, after a one-minute break, Nova KBM Branik’s players leveled the scores again. After all, they tied the score at 11 points, and then took the lead by a point. With the score 15:13, the coach of the visiting team took the first half-minute of the break, which did not bring Dinamo a turnaround. The home team played excellently in the block and defense and took the lead with a score of 18:14. Mlakar increased the advantage to five points with two aces (21:16), and Simuncic took another half-minute break. Even after two consecutive points from Dinamo, the home team did not panic and scored four consecutive points to win the first set.
At the beginning of the second set, the visitors from Zagreb took a 3:1 lead, but the home team soon caught them and took the lead 7:4. The visitors had a lot of problems with Nike Milosic‘s service, but the home team punished this with effective counterattacks and a block. Mlakar was unstoppable both in attacks at the net and from the second line. The advantage of the home team only continued to grow and soon the home team was leading by 16:9. Tisma played perfectly with its attackers, who were unstoppable until the end of the set, which ended with a score of 25:11.
The volleyball players of Nova KBM Branik also started the third set more decisively, successfully stopping the opponents’ attacks with a block and at the same time defending themselves perfectly. Along with Mlakar, Ramic, and the Milosic sisters, Lekse also added to her successful game on the net. Even with a few substitutions on Dinamo’s side, the game of the visiting team was not as coach Simuncic would have liked, as the advantage of the home team kept increasing. With 16 points for Nova KBM Branik, the advantage was already seven points. The guests were unable to break through the opponent’s block, and they continued to have problems receiving serve. Kozamernik replaced Tisma with Farkas, who did her job with distinction. Ulrih entered the game as a free player and Salamun instead of Leksa. The home team easily won the set with a score of 25:13.
With two victories, Nova KBM’s players opened the door wide to the final tournament. Of course, they will have to beat one of the participating teams of this year’s slightly shortened Central European League.