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Poland: ZAKSA win final Game 1! Jastrzebski defeated in straight sets. Aluron stun Belchatow in final for 3rd place

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The last chapter of 2021/22 Polish Plusliga, the playoff series for the gold medal, has started today.

The opening of Grand Finale was successful for the regular-season winners Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle, who defeated the 2nd-seed and defending champions Jastrzębski Węgiel 3-0 (25:21, 27:25, 25:23) in Game 1. The encounter was far from a dramatic spectacle, as ZAKSA was better in all sets against the same rivals with they faced for the title last season too.

In the second set the visiting side tied at 24-24 after trailing 22-24, defending also a couple of set balls before the hosts reached 27-25.
In the third set, ZAKSA had 23-20, Jastrzębski leveled but suffered two consecutive blocks to lose the set as well as the match. Thus, ZAKSA increased the advantage in head-to-heads with these rivals this season to 6-1.

Kamil Semeniuk was the man of the match, scoring 15 points, while Czech Jan Hadrava scored 14 points on the losing side.

The match starts well for ZAKSA: after Hadrava’s counterattack, regular season winners surpass with counterattacks by Huber (4-3) and Sliwka (5-3). Gladyr scores 2 aces in a row, 5-6, but Smith attack the ball of 8-7. Ace by Semeniuk, 14-12, and then also by Sliwka, 18-15. Semeniuk put down the ball of 19-15, and Kaczmarek a heavy 20-15. Jastrzebski try to reopen the set with Wisniewski (ace, 21-17), Gladyr and Boyer with a block on Semeniuk (22-19) and the counterattack by Szymura (22-20), but Semeniuk put down the ball of 24-20, and Kaczmarek close 25-21.

Second set: Semeniuk blocks Hadrava, but Kaczmarek attacks out: 2-3. Hadrava put down the ball of 9-10 and, after a counterattack by Semeniuk, 11-10, Gladyr reply with an ace, 12-13, and with the winning block over Sliwka that is worth the 14-16. Error, however, for Gladyr himself for 17-17, and Smith scores the ace of 18-17. Janusz blocks Wisniewski, 24-22, but Jastrzebski managed to tie again the score with a counterattack by Hadrava, 24-24, after a good Fornal from the service line. Close ZAKSA at fourth set point, 27-25, thanks to an attack out by Szymura.

Third set: Wisniewski blocks Smith, 0-1, but Szymura is blocked twice, 2-1 and 3-1. Kaczmarek signs the 5-2 and, at 7-4, enters Clevenot in place of Szymura. Nothing to do as ZAKSA fly to 9-4. Out also Toniutti and in Tervaportti. Two aces by Gladyr reopen the set, 9-7, and Wisniewski signs the -1 with a counterattack, 10-9. But Hadrava is blocked, 12-10, and a block by Smith on Fornal is worth again the +3, 16-13. Ace by Kaczmarek, 21-18, but then misses in attack, first with a ball out and then he is blocked by Tervaportti, 23-23. Smith, however, definitely stops the guests, first with a point in attack, 24-23, and then he blocks Hadrava for the decisive 25-23.

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In final for third place, so for a spot in next edition of Champions League, in a match with something different in both starting six (Taht in place of Ebadipour for Belchatow; Orczyk instead of Conte on the other side) and bad percentages of key players (0/10 with even -60% di efficiency in attack for Atanasijevic, and -17% efficiency in attack through 18 attempts for Kovacevic on the other side), Belchatow wasted a possibile victory: first 22-20 in fourth set, and then 14-12 and 15-14 in decisive fifth. Decisive the final of fourth set: attack on the net by Atanasijevic (22-22), a block by Niemiec on Kooy (22-23) and an ace by Konarski (22-24) reverse the situation.
In fifth set, marked with a comeback of the hosts from 5-8 to 11-8, Klos wasted the ball of a possible 15-13, closed by Konarski, 14-14, who then blocks Schulz, 15-16, while the final error come from Sawicki (on the field in place of Taht).
23 points by Bieniek (67% and 62% efficiency in attack, 5 blocks and 4 aces) were not enough. MVP award to Konarski, who ended the game with 24 points, 41% and 28% efficiency in attack, 5 blocks and 2 aces.

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🏐| PLUSLIGA 2021/22 | Playoffs Finals

| Game 1 | May 4, 2022
• Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kedzierzyn-Kozle (1) – Jastrzebski Węgiel (2) 3-0 (25:21, 27:25, 25:23) Serie: 1-0
ZAKSA: Janusz 1, Sliwka 9, Smith 7, Kaczmarek 13, Semeniuk 15, Huber 7, Shoji (L); Kluth. Not entered: Rejno, Staszewski, Kalembka, Kozlowski, Banach (L), Kaciczak. Coach: Cretu.
Jastrzebski: Toniutti 1, Fornal 7, Wisniewski 5, Hadrava 14, Szymura 10, Gladyr 11, Popiwczak (L); Boyer 1, Clevenot 1, Tervaportti 1, Biniek. Not entered: Cedzynski, Granieczny (L), Macyra. Coach: Giolito.
MVP: Sliwka.

| Game 2 | May 7, 2022
Jastrzebski Węgiel (2) – Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kedzierzyn-Kozle (1) 2-3 (25:20, 16:25, 25:22, 12:25, 16:18) Serie: 0-2

| Game 3 | May 11, 2022
Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kedzierzyn-Kozle (1) – Jastrzebski Węgiel (2) 1-3 (24:26, 25:20, 23:25, 22:25) Serie: 2-1

| Game 4 | May 14, 2022
Jastrzebski Węgiel (2) – Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kedzierzyn-Kozle (1) 0-3 (23:25, 17:25, 21:25) Serie: 1-3

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🏐| Final 3/4 Place

| Game 1 | May 4, 2022
• PGE Skra Belchatów (3) – Aluron CMC Warta Zawiercie (4) 2-3 (23:25, 25:21, 25:19, 23:25, 15:17) Serie: 0-1
PGE Skra Belchatów: Lomacz 4, Taht 2, Bieniek 23, Atanasijevic 1, Kooy 18, Klos 18, Piechocki (L); Sawicki 11, Schulz 4,
Ebadipour 1, Mitic. Not entered: Adamczyk, Milczarek (L), Czerwinski. Coach: Kolanek.
Aluron CMC Warta Zawiercie: Cavanna 1, Kovacevic 6, Zniszczol 7, Konarski 24, Orczyk 12, Niemiec 11, Zurek (L); Malinowski, Conte 11, Szalacha. Not entered: Depowski, Tavares, Makos (L), Rajsner. Coach: Kolakovic.
MVP: Konarski.

| Game 2 | May 7, 2022
Aluron CMC Warta Zawiercie (4) – PGE Skra Belchatów (3) 2-3 (22:25, 25:16, 23:25, 27:25, 13:15) Serie: 1-1

| Game 3 | May 10, 2022
PGE Skra Belchatów (3) – Aluron CMC Warta Zawiercie (4) 0-3 (22:25, 23:25, 21:25) Serie: 1-2

| Game 4 | May 13, 2022
Aluron CMC Warta Zawiercie (4) – PGE Skra Belchatów (3) 3-2 (25:21, 21:25, 25:16, 20:25, 15:11) Serie: 3-1

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