Grupa Azoty Kędzierzyn-Koźle, better know in world of volleyball as ZAKSA, again rule the men’s club volleyball in Europe.
They wrote the history of the Polish volleyball following the straight-set triumph against Italy’s Trentino Itas (3-0: 25:22, 25:20, 32:30) in the Super Finals of the CEV Champions League Volley 2022 held in the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana.
The defending champions didn’t give the rivals a chance in the first-ever men’s Super Finals replay and defended the title from last year. Thus, ZAKSA wrote another chapter of their country’s volleyball.
Last year, they went down the history of Poland as the first club to climb on top of Europe, and now they became the first club to win back-to-back titles Europe.
In addition, the guys around coach Gheorghe Crețu enrolled in a narrow pantheon of only 4 teams so far, which were able to win the Champions League at least two seasons in a row!
Before them, such an achievement was made by Russia’s Belogorie Belgorod (2003, 2004), Trentino (2010, 2011), and Zenit-Kazan (2015-2018).
The 3rd set staged the biggest fight of all sets today as Trentino managed to save 5 match points before succumbing to the 6th, failing to convert 2 set points and extend the match to, at least, one more set.
Kamil Semeniuk top-scored ZAKSA with an impressive 27 points, making 74% attack (26/35), while Bulgarian Matey Kaziyski put down 17 points on the losing side.
It was a great ZAKSA from the very beginning of first set: 1-4. But with Kaziyski Trentino recover,
putting down the ball of 6-7. However, Polish powerhouse is almost perfect and with Kaczmarek regain the lead with a great ball that signs the 8-11, until the 10-15 thanks to attacks and serves by MVP Semeniuk, next season in Superlega, with Perugia’s jersey. But, about Superlega, Italian side doesn’t agree and, with Michieletto and Kaziyski, manage to level the score: 16-16. Once again Poles are better, with Kaczmarek who puts down tje ball of 18-20 and, despite a 20-23 lead, Kaziyski tries again (22-23), but closes the same Kaczmarek 22-25.
Second set, with Trento who try to escape wotht a 8-6 lead, once again with veteran Matey Kaziyski who make the difference. However, ZAKSA react, level the score 10-10 and regain the control of the match.
Semeniuk is the leader, able
to score 8 points only in this set, well supported by American middle-blocker Smith and, in addition to Kaczmarek, is present also captain Sliwka, who close the set with a clear 20-25.
Third set is the most exciting one, with a balance until 9-9, with an injury of libero Shoji who, however, and luckily for Polish fans, remains to the field. Break for Trento, with
Podrascanin’s ace on Sliwka, that is worth the 11-9. A point by Semeniuk on one side and an error by Kaziyski on the other level the score again, 11-11, until a new break for Italians, with a block by Lavia on Sliwka: 15-13. Two errors for Trento, with Kaziyski and Michieletto, are worth the lead of ZAKSA, 15-16, who sign a new double advantage with a block by Kaczmarek on Michieletto: 15-17. Same story in next action, Semeniuk put down the ball of 18-20, but Sbertoli sets up the ace of 21-21. Error by Sliwka, 22-21, but then he level the score: 22-22. First set point is for Trento, with the attack by Michieletto for the 24-23, but Lisinac misses the serve. Semeniuk put down the ball of 24-25, but first match ball of ZAKSA is canceled by Kaziyski from the second line. Smith put down the ball of 25-26, but second match ball canceled by an error from Semeniuk. Third is an error by Kaczmarek from the service line, fourth is canceled by Kaziyski (28-28), with a great attack. Fifth is another error from the service line, and sixth is an easy attack by Lavia, who attack without rivals’ block: 30-30. ZAKSA close with Semeniuk after a defense on Michieletto, and they are again European Champions!
“Today such a day came out, everything was hot in my performance. Not only I was on the court, but the whole team also played a great match. It wasn’t easy for us, we expected to sweat. If the match was extended, we would’ve looked for the new jerseys, they were all wet. We prepared ourselves very well for this match, it’s a phenomenon that the opponent is playing without a nominal opposite hitter. We had to be prepared for every variant,” said MVP Semeniuk after the match.
🏐| 2021/22 CEV Champions League Volley – SUPERFINALS
• MEN Trentino Itas – Grupa Azoty Kędzierzyn-Kozle 3-0 (25:22, 25:20, 32:30)
| PHOTOGALLERY OF THE MATCH
Trentino Itas: Kaziyski 16, D’Heer 0, Michieletto 13, Sbertoli 1, Pinali 0, Lavia 6, Zenger (L), Podrascanin 5, Lisinac 9. N.E. Cavuto, Albergati, Sperotto, De Angelis. Coach. Lorenzetti.
Grupa Azoty Kedzierzyn-Kozle: Kaczmarek 13, Rejno 3, Janusz O, Kluth O, Sliwka 7, Semeniuk 27, Smith 10, Shoji (L). N.E. Kosian, Staszewski, Kalembka, Kozlowski, Zalinski, Banach. Coach. Cretu.