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Narrow victory against Lüneburg: The BR Volleys move into the cup semi-finals

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It’s been a little less than a year since BR Volleys manager Kaweh Niroomand described the trophy as “not our competition”. At that time, the volleys were eliminated in the semifinals against Friedrichshafen. He must have been correspondingly tense on Thursday evening when the team faced SVG Lüneburg, who are second in the Bundesliga, in the quarter-finals of the cup. But in the end he seemed visibly relaxed, because in a closely fought duel the Volleys showed fighting spirit, won 3:2 (25:22; 22:25; 22:25; 25:23; 27:25) and took the trophy with it a bit far to their competition.

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In the first set it was announced that it would be a game at eye level. Lüneburg put a lot of pressure on the serve, put the Berlin acceptance under pressure and Jordan Schnitzer equalized 12:12 thanks to an ace. But Berlin’s attackers Marek Sotola, Ruben Schott and Tim Carle were also able to excel again and again and Carle gave the hosts a lead of 19:18. The Berliners then did not give them out of their hands, a service error by the hosts sealed the set victory.

Yellow card for Carle

Lüneburg apparently wanted to prevent the second sentence from having a similar outcome at all costs. Right from the start they showed real fighting spirit and full concentration and took a 5:1 lead. A referee’s decision caused dissatisfaction with Carle in particular, who expressed his frustration a little violently and received a yellow card for it.

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But he knew how to use his frustration in a sporting way, hammered the ball into the opposing field and gave Lüneburg few chances. Shortly thereafter, assistant coach Lucio Oro, who replaced the head coach Cédric Énard, who tested positive, took a break and brought calm into the game. Successful: Schott reduced the deficit to one point and equalized a little later. However, it wasn’t enough to win a set.

Things went a little better at the beginning of the third set, in which the Berliners fell behind early on by 3:7. Due to some referee decisions, emotions boiled up on both sides. The Berliners seemed increasingly unfocused and made mistakes, while Lüneburg was combative. When Schott hit the opposing block, the score was 12:17. After that they fought back and fended off a set ball, but in the end they lost to the opposing block.

Kessel brought points and mood

In the fourth set, assistant coach Oro then brought in Cody Kessel, who not only gave his team crucial points but also spread a positive mood. It was he who took the 6-2 lead and after that the momentum was on the hosts’ side. They cheered each point loudly and motivated each other. When Sotola scored to make it 11:6, the 4187 spectators made a lot of noise with clapboards and drums. The volleys didn’t give up the lead until the end. A ball from Lüneburg, which went wide, sealed the Berlin set victory.

In the tie-break, the volleys were able to win a long rally right at the start. After that, they were three points down at times, but gradually closed in and Sotola equalised. Lüneburg saved ten match points and one from Berlin, after which an opposing ball went wide and the volleys were in the semi-finals.

“It was a very exciting game,” said Niroomand afterwards, “and the quality was very good. We didn’t play well all the time, but we can be happy that we still won. We had problems in some phases and you can tell that we haven’t quite settled in yet.” But will the cup still be a volleyball competition after all? “Only when we hold a trophy in our hands in Mannheim,” says Niroomand and laughs.

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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