In the semis LP SALO will be playing Russia’s Dinamo KRASNODAR that edged twice Turkey’s Ilbank Sports Club ANKARA in another 1/4 final fixture.
“This is just amazing. We have been going through a series of ups and downs in this match and we played superbly in the golden set” a euphoric head coach Kari Raatikainen says. “I still can’t realize we have made it” team captain Kaisa Jokinen adds. “This match took us a lot of energy but we were able to keep cool up to the very end. It’s just great”.
The guests from Ukraine had caught the better start leading the way 8:4 at the first technical time-out of the opening set but LP SALO clawed back to level the score at 13. A series of three aces scored by Tetyana Khyliuk restored Khimik leadership (14:19) and though YUZHNY went up 19:24, great serving by Dubravka Stojanovic powered back LP SALO that eventually cashed the set at 26-24.
The second set was extremely close too and turned into a real marathon where both teams could not capitalize on various opportunities to finish it off before LP SALO did so at 33-31.
Khimik YUZHNY regrouped in set 3 (5:9) and though LP SALO fought their way back (12 all), this time the guests could impose their quality and rhythm (14:19) and did not lose composure even in the final rush (18-25).
Set 4 started with the Ukrainian players clearly imposing their supremacy and good serving by Olena Novgorodchenko contributed a 0:5 that set the tone for the remainder of the set (12-25).
One of the young players included in the roster of LP SALO, Noora Kosonen, helped the home side get off to a flying start in the tie-break (6:2) and captain Kaisa Jokinen then could widen the gap (9:3). Khimik stormed back (10:8) but it was not enough as LP SALO finished it off at 15-9 to call for the golden set.
There Khimik could get a provisional lead (1:4) and kept it until teams changed sides of the court (3:8); via great blocking and superb actions in defense LP SALO could find their way back into the game (7:8) and then did a terrific job to wrap it up at 15-13 with a spike killed – curiously – by their Ukrainian hitter Olena Kozyriatska.
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