2021/22 Plusliga semi-finals best-of-three series started today with a great upset: No.4 Aluron CMC Warta Zawiercie defeat on the road regular season winners and CEV Champions League titleholders Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kedzierzyn-Kozle by 1-3 (25:22, 17:25, 22:25, 25:25).
Thus the winners are one step away from advancing to the final.
Led by Argentine Facundo Conte, MVP and top scorer of the match with 23 points (53% and 34% di efficiency in attack, 2 blocks and 1 ace), well supported by Kovacevic (20 points,
53% and 42% efficiency in attack), they had a huge lead during the 2nd set (18-11), 3rd set (21-16), and 4th set (13-7) before ultimately staging their upset.
To remain in contention for entering the series for the title again, ZAKSA will have to take Game 2, otherwise, Aluron will advance to the grand finale.
Among the hosts, bad day of Kaczmarek, ended to the bench with only 11 points, 32% and only 4% efficiency in attack and 2 blocks, and Sliwka (41% in attack, but only 12% efficiency).
In details, thanks to a collection of errors in attack from Konarski,
Kovacevic and Niemiec, for the point of 10-6, ZAKSA start better in first set. Aluron managed to recover but, also due a negative start of opposite Konarski, only 2/9 in attack, suffered the comeback of the hosts who put down the ball of 20-15. The set end 25-22.
In second set Aluron started in a perfect way, with Konarski who put down the balls of 0-2 and 0-3.
ZAKSA recover, 4-4, but Tavares from the service line is decisive: counterattack from Kovacevic, 6-8, a direct ace that is worth the 6-9 and an error from Kaczmarek, 6-10. ZAKSA, already in trouble in attack in first set, continue to struggle and, the 11-18 lead of the rivals is too big, and the set ended 17-25.
ZAKSA start better in third set with a 5-2 lead, but nothing to do: counterattack from Kovacevic, 5-
4, an error by Semeniuk 5-5, a bomb by Konarski (5-6), and an error from Sliwka that is worth the 5-7.
Another error from Semeniuk give the 8-11 to Aluron, and then the ace from Conte, 10-14, and the one from
Konarski on Sliwka, 15-20. ZAKSA try a desperate comeback until a dangerous 19-21 thanks to a couple
of winning blocks, but Kovacevic don’t agree and signs the point of 20-24. Close the set an error from the service line by Janus, 22-25.
A great Aluron open fourth and decisive set: winning block of Niemiec on Kaczmarek, Kovacevic signs the 3-6, and Zniszczol blocks Sliwka for the point of 4-8. Semeniuk send out the ball of 7-12, and error also for Kaczmarek who, on 9-15 is replaced by Kluth, who rips off his jersey! 15-21 and it seems that the game is over, but an error from Konarski (17-21), a counterattack from Kluth (18-21), and a counterattack from Huber is worth the 21-23. The comeback continue with a counterattack from Semeniuk, the point of 22-23, and a monster block from Kluth on Conte, that level the score: 23-23. Rejno however miss the serve, and MVP Conte returns the block to Kluth
for the point of 23-25 that definitely close set and game.
🏐| PLUSLIGA 2021/22 | Playoffs Semifinals
• Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kedzierzyn-Kozle (1) – Aluron CMC Warta Zawiercie (4) 1-3 (25:22, 17:25, 22:25, 25:25)
Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kedzierzyn-Kozle:
Janus 4, Sliwka 7, Smith 5, Kaczmarek 11, Semeniuk 11, Huber 13, Shoji (L); Rejno 1, Kluth 4, Kalembka. Not entered: Staszewski, Kozlowski, Zalinski, Banach (L). Coach: Cretu.
Aluron CMC Warta Zawiercie: Tavares, 3, Kovacevic 18, Zniszczol 5, Konarski 13, Conte 23, Niemiec 5, Zurek (L); Malinowski 1, Orczyk. Not entered: Depowski, Cavanna, Makos (L), Rajsner, Szalacha. Coach: Kolakovic.
• Jastrzebski Węgiel (2) – PGE Skra Belchatów (3) 3-0 (25:14, 30:28, 26:24) Serie: 1-0
• Aluron CMC Warta Zawiercie (4) – Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kedzierzyn-Kozle (1) 0-3 (20:25, 21:25, 21:25) Serie: 1-1
• PGE Skra Belchatow (3) – Jastrzebski Wegiel (2) 0-3 (18:25, 22:25, 19:25) Serie: 0-2
• Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kedzierzyn-Kozle (1) – Aluron CMC Warta Zawiercie (4) 3-1 (19:25, 25:21, 25:19, 25:13) Serie: 2-1