ZAKSA retain Polish title and earn ticket to Club Worlds


ZAKSA Kedzierzyn-Kozle top scorers Mateusz Bienek and Dawid Konarski celebrate the 2017 Polish national title and a ticket to the FIVB Club World championship.

Lausanne, Switzerland, April 23, 2017 - ZAKSA Kedzierzyn-Kozle successfully defended their Polish men's PlusLiga title Sunday night, when they came back from a set down to beat PGE Skra Belchatow 3-1 (21-25, 25-23, 27-25, 25-18) in the second leg of the home-and-away finals series, at home before a sellout crowd of almost 3,500.

The title gives them an automatic ticket as hosts to the 2017 FIVB Club World Championship next December in Poland.

ZAKSA join Asian champions Sarmayeh Bank Tehran and South American champions Sada Cruzeiro Contagem in the Club World Championship. The winners of the European Champions League, 29-30 April in Rome also qualify. Two more tickets go to the league champions of the top two countries in the FIVB World Rankings and a further two wild cards will be granted.

Having won the first leg on the road in straight sets, ZAKSA actually clinched the title on Sunday after going 2-1 up against Belchatow in a thrilling third set - after which both coaches brought on their reserves.

Setter Benjamin Toniutti of France masterminded ZAKSA's play and earned the MVP award, with Dawid Konarski and Mateusz Bienek each scoring 12 points, plus another 11 from Belgium's Sam Deroo. Mariusz Wlazly with 16 points for Belchatow was top scorer of the game, but that was small consolation for the losers.

It was ZAKSA's fifth title since the introduction of the Polish volleyball League and the seventh time overall that they are crowned national champions.

Trentino through to Italy final
In Italy, meanwhile, Filippo Lanza and Jan Stokr scored 16 points each and pushed Diatec Trentino through to the final of the men's UnipolSai Superleague with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-21) sweep of Sir Safety Conad Perugia in the fifth and deciding game of their semifinal series.

For the title Trentino will face Cucine Lube Civitanova in the best-of-five final series which begins on Tuesday with home advantage to Lube.

Sesi Sao Paolo extend semifinal series
Defending champions and reigning world champions Sada Cruzeiro Contagem became the first team to advance to the final of Brazil's Superleague, after sweeping Brasil Kirin Campinas 3-0 (25-12, 25-18, 26-24) before 2,000 fans at home in the Riachao.

Led by match MVP Filipe Ferraz and top scorer on Yoandy Leal on 15 points, Sada Cruzeiro pressed their opponents from the service line and overwhelmed them in attacking to wrap up the best-of-five semifinal series in three matches.

But Sada Cruzeiro will have to wait to find out who their opponent will be in the final. Sesi Sao Paolo, trailing by two wins to none in the other semifinal series, edged Funvic Taubate 3-2 (37-35, 21-2, 19-25, 25-21, 15-10) at the Abaete Gymnasium and extended the series.

Theo Lopes scored 31 points for Sesi, picking up the MVP award on the way, to cocunter the 26 points of Taubate's Wallace Souza.

The two sides meet again on Thursday at Sao Caetano and if needed on 1 May back in Taubate.

Bolivar retake the throne after six years
Personal Bolivar put an end to six years of domination of Argentina's Banco Nacion League by UPCN San Juan, after thrashing their archrivals 3-0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-19) in the last match of the best-of-five final series.

Australia's Edgar Thomas scored 20 points to lead Bolivar who dominated on the net.

It is the seventh title (first since 2010) for Bolivar in the history of the competition, compared to six for UPCN.

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