Montpellier are crowned Champions of France, outplaying Tours in 2 matches of playoff finals.
Interestingly, it was a wait of almost half a century!
Montpellier, victorious also in Game 2 of 2021/22 Ligue A playoff finals at home in front of packed stands at Chaban Delmas hall, with about 3,000 supporters, celebrayed the 8th title in club history, but the first since 1975. So, Montpellier have been waiting for this for 47 years!
The players commanded by Olivier Lecat, after a hard fought tie break win in Game 1, defeated regular season winners Tours in straight sets (25:17, 25:21, 30:28) after a performance in style in the post-season (undefeated, 7-0), and not so brilliant in regular season (18-8) which they closed at 3rd position. It was Tours who dominated the regular season but even so, they lost their third final of the season after, in chronological order, CEV Cup against italian side Vero Volley Monza, French Cup against Chaumont and now also French Championship.
Argentine Nicolás Lazo was Montpellier’s most prolific player with 15 points. He also made 71% reception (14 digs, 1 error, 57% excellent), while Nicolas Le Goff had an 83% attack (10/12).
Cuban setter of the winning side, Javier González, was named MVP of the finals. He allowed the team attack at 65%, and also decisive from the service line.
In first set a great start for the hosts who, with 6 points from Lazo (4 in attack, 1 block and 1 ace), fly to 12-4 with a lead that remain basically until the clear 25-17 that close the set.
Also in second set Montpellier escape with Gonzalez from the service line, 1 ace for him, and with Lazo very efficient in first line (3 points in attack): from 3-4 to 8-4. This time, however, Tours react, able to level the score at 13-13, and to remain in this set until the 18-18, when a counterattack from Palacios that is worth 20-18 and an error by Derouillon for the 21-18 make the decisive break, completed by Lazo with the block of 24-20 and the attack of 25-21.
Third set is the most interesting one: Tours seems intent on reopening the game, taking a 7-12 lead. But the hosts don’t agree, with the break of 10-12. Two blocks in a row
from Faure are worth the 15-16, and Tillie attacks out the ball of 17-17. Le Goff surpasses with the winning block of 19-18, but Tours regains the lead with the counterattacks of Leandro, 20-21, and Palonsky, 20-22. Lazo levels the score, and Montpellier cancel 2
set points, to regain the lead with Palacios, who put down the ball of 26-25. Close the winning block from Le Goff on Palonsky, also confirmed by challenge video: 30-28!
🏐| LIGUE A 2021/22 – Final – Best-of-three
Game 1 | May 7
• Tours (1) – Montpellier (3) 2-3 (23:25, 16:25, 25:23, 25:17, 12:15) Serie: 0-1
👉🏼 Game 2 | May 11
• Montpellier (3) – Tours (1) 3-0 (25:17, 25:21, 30:28) Serie: 2-0
Game 3 | May 15
• Tours (1) – Montpellier (3)