The Halle Georges-Carpentier in Paris is ready for the Coupe de France finals scheduled this weekend, Cannes – Béziers on Saturday, at 8.30pm for women, and Tours – Nice on Sunday at 3.30 pm for the men’s edition.
The guys around head coach Marcelo Fronckowiak, ten times winner of the event, solid leader of Ligue A regular season, they defeated Nice twice this season, in Round 1 on October 1st in a game ended at tie break on the field of the rivals, and in the last one, one week ago, in a match ended with a clear 3-0 (25:21, 25:19, 25:20).
Defeated in the final of the Coupe de France last year by Chaumont, Tours arrive in country’s capital to play a fourth consecutive final, with the ardent desire to erase the three failures in a row of the last season (CEV Cup, Coupe de France and championship) and to begin with the right charge for the upcoming Play-Offs after elimination in Champions League after an unsuccessful campaign (second in Pool C behind Italian Powerhouse Cucine Lube Civitanova and eliminated by Friedrichshafen in the next stage of the competition, 1/8 finals, with a clear 0-3 home defeat in first leg and at tie break in second leg in Germany.
For Nice, the story is quite different.
Already this is a great success, because this is the first final in the club history of the club for team coached by Rafael Redwitz.
But this match is also a magnificent challenge for them, penultimate in Ligue A and who arrive without pressure for their last match of the season still without expert setter Javier Gonzalez, replaced by young Hugo Mora, in a season in which they suffered lot of injuries.
But did you know that between Nice and Tours this will be the match No. 24?
The first one, won by Tours in straight sets, has been played on October 17, 2009 and it was a match valid for Round 3 of French top division in that season. In the second leg Nice took revenge by winning 3-1.
Interestingly, the second match won by Nice was on November 18, 2016, ended at tie break (16-14), and this was the last one, because, yes, in these 23 games Tours collected 21 victories compared to Nice’s only 2!
These two faced each others also in Playoffs Quarterfinals of the last season. In best-of-three series, Tours easily won in Game 1 (25:18, 25:19 and 25:19) while, Game 2 in Nice was a battle ended at tie break, solved only at 17-19 of fifth set, with libero Luke Perry (now in Poland, with the jersey of Trefl Gdańsk, and the one of Aluron CMC Warta Zawiercie in 2023/24) named MVP of the match with a solid performance in reception (63% positive and 44% perfect) and defense.
In Coupe de France, Tours defeated Tourcoing after a thrilling tie break in 1/8 Finals, Montpellier after a hard-fought 0-3 in quarterfinals, and Narbonne again on the road with the same result.
Nice, on the other hand, defeated Cambrai in 1/8 finals with a clear 3-0, then they went to Ajaccio, a Ligue B team that, surprisingly eliminated Paris, where they won at tie break and then they claimed the ticket for final on the field of Poitiers, after an exciting battle ended at tie break too.
But, if in the previous season Tours reached the final (as already mentioned above, then defeated by Chaumont), Nice had been eliminated by a Ligue B side, Saint Nazaire (then promoted in Ligue A), and the game ended in just three sets.
Either way, Nice is the perfect outsider, nothing to lose, everything to gain, it’s trivial, but in a single match, and in volleyball, everything is possible.
Tours should be on guard on Sunday, and this is also for this reason why we love this sport!