Disclaimer: this article it was written by me, Danilo, on April 23, and it’s protected by COPYRIGHT.
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After an exciting quarterfinal series, the next stage of 2022/23 Ligue A, best-of-three Semifinals, started today.
No problem for the second team in regular season Nantes, who eliminated Sète in the previous stage of the competition in just theee games in best-of five series.
Today they defeated in just three sets (25:21, 25:19, 25:23) a tired (and a quite disappointing) Chaumont, who close quarterfinals campaign in Game 5 on Wednesday, after a thrilling tie break against Saint Nazaire (now involved in Playoff for 5th Place, started yesterday, like the other eliminated Sète, Narbonne and Montpellier, together with Paris and Poitiers).
Despite a better performance in blocking (10 to 6) and in reception, nothing to do for No.3 in regular season, who showed something good only in third set, ended with the minimum gap.
Chizoba Neves Atu was once again the most prolific player for Nantes with 20 points through 58% in attack and 1 ace, while MVP Thibault also contributed with 16, 67% in attack, 1 ace and 1 block, the same number of points of Patrick Indra, the most efficient player on the losing side (with 45% in attack and 6 winning blocks).
If Chaumont suffered the quarterfinals series lasted five games, not the same for Tourcoing (who eliminated Narbonne, also last Wednesday).
On the field of regular season leaders and French Cup winners Tours, No.5 in Ligue A started the game very slowly, suffering the play of the hosts who managed to keep the control of the game in first two sets, both ended 25-22. However, they react and, from the second part of third set, they managed to take the lead and to re-open the game.
In fourth set, Tours again control the game until 16-14 but then the rivals’ comeback, and the subsequent 25-27 that is worth tie break.
But, ufortunately for Tourcoing, also with the help of more than 3.000 home fans, the hosts managed to win the fifth set without major problems, keeping the lead from start to finish, and 15-12 is the final result.
In what was a balanced game, looking at the numbers (with Tourcoing better in blocking and from the service line, with 9 to 4 winning blocks and 7 to 4 aces), Luciano Palonsky was named MVP with 20 points to his name through 53% in attack and with 2 aces, while Daryl Bultor (who missed the decisive quarterfinal Game 5 in Narbonne) was the most prolific player on the losing side and played an excellent game with 17 points, 3 blocks, 2 aces and 87% in attack.
Both Games 2 will be played on Wednesday, 8pm Local Time, in Chaumont and Tourcoing, respectively.
👉🏼 Sunday | April 23, 2023
• 18.00 (Local Time) | Nantes (2) – Chaumont (3) 3-0 (25:21, 25:19, 25:23) Serie: 1-0
• 18.00 (Local Time) | Tours (1) – Tourcoing (5) 3-2 (25:22, 25:22, 21:25, 25:27, 15:12) Serie: 1-0
| Wednesday | April 26, 2023
• 20.00 (Local Time) | Chaumont (3) – Nantes (2) 3-0 (25:22, 25:20, 25:21) Serie: 1-1
| PHOTOGALLERY OF THE MATCH
• 20.00 (Local Time) | Tourcoing (5) – Tours (1) 1-3 (19:25, 25:23, 20:25, 22:25) Serie: 0-2
| Saturday | April 29, 2023
• 19.00 (Local Time) | Nantes (2) – Chaumont (3) 0-3 (21:25, 19:25, 21:25) Serie: 1-2