Schweriner proves too strong for Maritza in Plovdiv

Schweriner SC made a giant step towards the quarterfinals of the 2016 CEV Volleyball Cup - Women.  The German standout proved too strong for its opponent Maritza Plovdiv in the first leg of the eighthfinals and defeated the Bulgarian champion by 3-1 (25-15, 16-25, 25-17, 25-16)* disappointing the volleyball fans in Plovdiv that came to support their home heroines.

After a very long first rally with some great defensive effort on both sides of the net, deservedly applauded from the full stands at the Plovdiv University sports hall, SSC showed an almost perfect precision in offence with Ariel Turner leading the spikers.  The German team quickly piled up a solid advantage before an elegant tip by Lousi Souza Ziegler finished the set off at 25-15.

Maritza stepped up its serving in the second set and helped itself from the many errors the visiting side began to make.  Inspired by the enthusiastic fans, the home side broke away in the score leading up to the final 25-16 shaped with a brilliant back-row hit by Radosveta Teneva.

With the next switching of the halves, the balance on the court was also flipped again.  The third set was very similar to the first one.  SSC’s setter Denise Hanke was well in control of the goings-on by the net and this resulted in another wide gap at the end of the set – 25-17 Schweriner SC’s way.

The home fans were disappointed to see that the fourth period did not bring yet another change in the control.  The visiting squad continued to dominate, especially due to their blocking performance, and did not leave Maritza any chance to attempt a comeback. Tabitha Ashly Love was the author of the last point that finished it all off at 25-16 in the set and 3-1 in the match.

The Canadian opposite herself became the best scorer of the match with 16 points.  Love’s American teammate Ariel Turner and Maritza’s Radosveta Teneva scored 14 points each.

Immediately after the match, Maritza’s captain Ana Radicheva, who celebrates her nameday today, was surprised by her two-year-old son Georgi, who presented her with a beautiful bouquet of flowers, accompanied by his father, assistant coach Ivan Radichev, and applauded by the spectators.

“I am satisfied that we could not only win this match, but also win the three points,” said SSC’s coach Felix Koslowski.  “It is not an easy job for us, because we are just running from match to match.  We have a lot of away matches and a lot of trips to do, which is really tough for us.  Of course, we do not see ourselves in the next round yet.  I think in the second set Maritza showed what they can play and what kind of potential they have.  We will be very careful at home.  We want to win, but we have to stay 100% focused.”

“We did not have the good serving and the good defense, which would have made this game easier for us,” Maritza’s head coach Ivan Petkov commented.  “Even after a good defense, we had weaknesses in the organization of our game in offence.  This result is far from favorable to us, but we will travel to Schwerin with our heads held high and we will give our best to achieve our goal, which is to advance to the next round.”

The return match at Schwerin’s Palmberg Arena will take place on Tuesday, December 15, at 19:00 CET (local time).

*Stats: Vladimir Karakashkov

Photos: Kostadin Andonov