Volleyball: ZAKSA cruises to Champions League final in dramatic fashion

Grupa Azoty ZAKSA is the fourth Polish team in history to reach the final of the volleyball Champions League. Photo: PAP/Krzysztof Świderski

Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle made history, advancing to the final of the CEV Volleyball Champions League. Although they suffered a defeat from the Russian side Zenit Kazan 2:3, the Polish team prevailed in the golden set, reaching their first-ever final of this competition.

A week earlier in Russia, Grupa Azoty ZAKSA won 3:2. Even before the Wednesday rematch, it was certain that in order to advance, the Polish team had to win to knock out the Russians, and avoid defeat 0:3 or 1:3. In case of a 2:3 loss, the players from Kędzierzyn-Koźle would face the so-called golden set.

In the fourth and fifth sets of Thursday's game, the Polish team wasted a total of seven match balls. After Zenit won the tie break 20:18, the golden set decided everything. The Polish team built an 11:7 advantage, and, despite the fact that it slightly decreased, they managed to win 15:13 and advance to the finals of the most prestigious club volleyball tournament.

Grupa Azoty ZAKSA is the fourth Polish team in history to reach the final of the volleyball Champions League. So far, only Płomień Milowice has won this competition, in 1978.

The achievement of ZAKSA is even greater because on their way to the final, they saw off the two best teams in the world which have dominated the club competition in recent years: Cucine Lube Civitanova and Zenit.

The final rival of the team from Kędzierzyn-Koźle will be determined by a rematch between Sir Sicoma Monini Perugia and Itas Trentino. The latter side won the first match 3-0.

The final of both the men’s and women's Champions League is scheduled on May 1 in Verona.

Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle – Zenit Kazan 2:3 (17:25, 25:16, 25:21, 28:30, 18:20); Golden set – 15:13.

source: