ZAKSA two sets from hosting Club Worlds


Benjamin Toniutti sets the ball for Mateusz Bienek as ZAKSA Kedzierzyn-Kozle thunder through Lodz Arena to gain a huge advantage over PGE Skra Belchatow in the race for the Polish League title.

Lausanne, Switzerland, April 19, 2017 - ZAKSA Kiedzerzyn-Kozle made a huge leap towards defending their Polish men's PlusLiga title and earning a ticket for the 2017 FIVB Club World Championship next December, when they scored a very solid away win 3-0 (27-25, 25-21, 25-19) over PGE Skra Belchatow in the first leg of the final on Wednesday evening.

Kedzierzyn-Kozle now need just two sets before their own fans on Sunday to clinch the title - their worst case scenario being a 'golden set' to wrap up the home-and-away series.

The winner of the Polish League gets an automatic berth as hosts to the World Championship. They join the Asian champions Sarmayeh Bank Tehran, the South American and defending world champions Sada Cruzeiro Contagem and the European champions that will emerge from the Champions League Final Four 29-30 April in Rome. Two more tickets will go to the league champions of the top two countries in the FIVB World Rankings and a further two to wild cards.

Dawid Konarski, out on an unstoppable attacking spree with 21 kills in 29 swings for 72% and top scorer of the game with 27 points was the bovious choice for MVP of the game. The visitors set the foundations for their impressive win from the service line, producing ten aces to Belchatow's three.

One down, one to go in Italy
In Italy, meanwhile, twice Cucine Lube Civitanova led by a set and twice defending champions Azimut Modena levelled the score at the PalaPanini. But Lube outlasted Modena for a 3-2 (25-15, 19-25, 25-22, 22-25, 15-10) win that sees them through to the final of the Italian UnipolSai Superleague for the fourth time in their history.

It was the third tie-break in the best-of-five semifinal series which Lube won with three wins to one, and the first away win for any of the two sides.

Osmany Juantorena (21/31 for 68% in attack) for Lube and Earvin Ngapeth of France for Modena were joint top scorers of the game on 24 points each, as Tsvetan Sokolov of Bulgaria added 22 for the winners and Luca Vettori 21 for the losers. But Lube were just that little bit better in all skills, denying Modena the chance to defend their title.

But Lube will have to wait to find out their opponent in the final.

Sir Safety Conad Perugia thrashed Diatec Trentino 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-23) at home in the PalaEvangelisti before 4,000 fans to tie the best-of-five semifinal series at 2-2, with the fifth and deciding match set for Saturday in Trento.

Led by Serbia's Aleksandar Atanasijevic who scored 22 points (including three aces), Perugia totally outperformed Trentino in attacking, scoring on 47 kills from 77 swings (61%) to the losers' mere 33/70 for 47%.

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