2nd-seed Cannes rise from ashes in decisive Game 3 vs no.4 Chaumont to become most-titled Ligue A club, ahead of RC France, Paris, and PUC (9 titles each).
In front of their own fans, an incredible Cannes came back from 2 sets down and rejected 3 match points of Chaumont in the 4th set before winning their tenth championship, 16 years after the ninth.
Chaumont, on the other hand, loses the third consecutive final after those of 2018 and 2019 (canceled championship and final not played in 2020).
Ahead first 0-2 and then 22:24 in the fourth set, the team coached by the Italian Prandi wastes a further championship ball at 24:25 and then collapses in the tie-break under Aciobanitei’s bombs from the service line, and in attack by Williams (MVP of the match with 30 points, 62% in attack, 2 blocks and 2 aces).
News in the starting six of Chaumont compared to the Saturday’s match: Alonso in place of Fernandez in middle-blocker’s position. Klyamar’s point (3-2) signs the first break of the match, but the guests overtake with the counterattacks of Herrera (6-7) and Lanza (6-8). The same Herrera extends further with an ace (10-13), but Cannes reacts, with Gelinski closing a prolonged action (12-14) and Klyamar blocks Herrera (15-15). Chaumont, however, immediately raises with the counterattacks of Mergarejo (15-17) and McDonnell (15-18). Detachment unchanged until 18-21, then Koncilja finds the ace of -1: 20-21, but Chaumont is no longer wrong, and at the second set point they close with the second line attack without block by Mergarejo (23-25) , 6/6 in attack for the young Cuban.
In the second set, after a very balanced phase, Cannes overtakes their rivals with Aciobanitei’s ace on Mergarejo (7-6) who is then blocked by Rodriguez (8-6). Prandi stops the game with a time out, his team ties with Herrera’s ace: 8-8, and overtakes with Alonso’s block on Klyamar (9-10), who also concedes the 10-12 error. Corre from the service line makes the Cannes reception wobble, and after a series of good defenses, Aciobanitei’s third net touch arrives: 11-14. Marquet stops the game, but Williams attacks out: 11-15. Lacassie on the field instead of Aciobanitei, but Chaumont continues to hammer from 9 meters with Mergarejo. Annicette also on the field in place of Williams, and Cannes gives up definitively, conceding 4 consecutive points: 2 points for Alonso (15-22 and 15-25) and, in the middle, 2 errors of the hosts.
In the third set, immediately a break for Chaumont with the block of Alonso: 0-2. The foul (with protests) by Lanza, however, stops the positive moment (1-2), and Rodriguez blocks Mergarejo: 2-2. Controversy also for the ace given to Herrera (Aciobanitei had arrived in reception): 2-4. Rodriguez does not regret the absence of Averill and blocks also Herrera: 5-5. Williams’ counterattack is worth the overtaking (6-5), Aciobanitei finds the ace on Mergarejo (7-5), and Lanza’s error in reception gives Williams 9-6.
Cannes extends again with Aciobanitei’s great block on Herrera (12-8), Herrera’s error in attack (15-10) and Rodriguez’s attack (16-10) after a prolonged exchange. The reaction of Cannes is perfect, the hosts no longer make mistakes and fly to +7 with an attack by Williams which is worth 18-11. Set practically on file, with Chaumont conceding another 2 errors in attack (19-11 and 21-12) and ends 25-16 on McDonnell’s error from the service line.
Fourth sets, and it is immediately a break for Chaumont, with Aciobanitei who does not find the hands of the blocks (0-1), and the rivals who punish Gelinski’s inaccurate pass to Williams: 0-2. Mergarejo capitalizes on an excellent defense for +3 (2-5), but the net gives Rodriguez the ace of -1 (5-6), Williams also scores an ace that is worth 7-7. Chaumont wasted an opportunity to make another break with a mess in defense (8-8) and then Gelinski made the overtaking block on Lanza (9-8). Chaumont reacts, but the point to point is not unlocked and the break comes with McDonnell from the service line, who gives a free ball closed in counterattack by Fernandez (who took over from Alonso during the partial): 17-19. On 19-20 Cannes defends Mergarejo but an invasion is whistled on Klyamar’s attack (19-21). The video check called by Marquet reveals that there is no touch of the net, but the referees ask to repeat the point, and it goes back to 19-20, causing protests from the Cannes bench. An excessive red card arrives, and fixes the score at 19-21. Chaumont holds the lead until 22-24, but Williams cancels both match points (24-24), the second after a great defense on Lanza, who wastes the most important ball for the title of the match. Aciobanitei cancels also the third match point (25-25) and Alonso returns to the field for Fernandez. Herrera (forgotten in attack in the set) does not find the hands of the block after the bomb from the service line by Aciobanitei, and the situation is finally reversed (26-25). Another 9-meter bomb for the Romanian outside-hitter, Mergarejo is blocked twice on an obvious ball and Williams closes 27-25.
It will therefore be the fifth set to assign the title, and the partial starts again with the same Aciobanitei on the serve. Mergarejo is blocked, and Lanza and Herrera mess in defense: 1-0. Another ball defended on Mergarejo and Williams signs the 2-0. Chaumont returns to the game with Mergarejo’s counterattack (2-2) and goes ahead with Herrera’s (3-4). Balance until the change of field, when Cannes overtakes thanks to Williams’ block on Herrera, which is worth 8-7. Aciobanitei is on fire from 9 meters, and Williams’ counterattack is favorable, which is worth the double advantage (10-8). Klyamar flies twice in defense on Mergarejo and Williams scores again (11-8). History repeats itself and the Australian strikes the final knockout blow: 12-8. On Chaumont’s field Repak instead of Corre, but Cannes defends everything and still scores with Williams (13-8) and Klyamar (14-8). Herrera cancels a match point, but Williams closes with a clear 15-9.
| LIGUE A 2020/21 – PlayOffs Final
Game 3 – April 25
• Cannes – Chaumont 3-2 (23:25, 15:25, 25:18, 27:25, 15:9)
| PHOTOGALLERY OF THE MATCH