24. 04. 2019

FRA M: Chaumont surprisingly go to semis over Montpellier, Tours and Ajaccio sweep quarterfinal series

Source: lnv.fr; Photo: Arthur Brousmiche

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Chaumont made a huge upset by eliminating Montpellier in the 2018/19 French Men’s Volleyball Championship playoffs.

 

The sixth seed Chaumont, titleholders in 2017 and runners-up in 2018, upgraded the success from Game 1 of the 2018/19 Ligue A Masculine playoff quarterfinals against No.3 seed Montpellier (3-0) with another straight-set win (25-20, 25-21, 25-19), this time on the road, to secure their spot in the semifinals. Julien Winkelmuller led Chaumont with 17 points while Spaniard Jorge Fernández made seven kill blocks.

Chaumont will play the second seed Ajaccio in the semifinals. The side from the island of Corsica kicked No.7 seed Poitiers out of the playoffs with a 2-0. After struggling to prevail in Game 1 (3-2), Ajaccio were much more convincing in Game 2 (3-0) thanks to the team’s defensive effort (81% positive reception). Timothée Carle top-scored for the winning side with 13 points. The veteran libero Jean-François Exiga made 92% positive reception (12 total, 67% excellent). The Poitiers officials had to face a bizarre situation before the playoffs as Moroccan outside hitter Zouheir El Graoui decided to compete in the 2019 Africa Nations Beach Volleyball Cup despite having a valid contract with the club! The German opposite hitter Jochen Schöps returned to the Poitiers roster after being sidelined for a while due to injury but it did not help his team avoid playoff elimination.

The top seed and also the reigning champions Tours ensured the continuation of their playoff journey with a 3-0 (25-20, 25-15, 25-21) win over No.8 seed Nantes-Rezé in Game 2 to close the series with a sweep. As usual, Latvian Hermans Egleskalns was the best scorer for Tours, leading the team to the 22nd straight win in the championship, with 15 points (four aces). Cameroonian Nathan Wounembaina made 79% positive reception (14 total, one error, 64% excellent).

The fourth seed Rennes returned the suspense in the series against No.5 Nice by tying the series at 1-1 to leave the vacant spot for the semifinals.

2018/19 Ligue A Masculine playoff quarterfinals – Game 2:

(1) Tours – (8) Nantes-Rezé 3-0 (25-20, 25-15, 25-21), series 2-0

(4) Rennes – (5) Nice 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-21), series 1-1

(3) Montpellier – (6) Chaumont 0-3 (20-25, 21-25, 19-25), series 0-2

(2) Ajaccio – (7) Poitiers 3-0 (25-23, 25-18, 25-17), series 2-0

 

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