The Polish club showed a lot of character recovering from the 2-1 deficit and winning the intense fourth set before dominating in the tie-breaker.
It was the third podium position for PGE Skra Belchatow in the history of the competition after finishing second in the 2009 and 2010 editions also held in Doha.
Aleksandar Atanasijevic led the winners with a match-high 22 points followed by Wytze Kooistra who finished with 12, including two blocks and four aces. Mariusz Wlazly and Michal Winiarski added 11 and 10 respectively with three blocks apiece.
Maxim Mikhaylov topped the defeated side with 21 points as four other teammates finished with double digits in the scoring charts. Evgeny Sivozhelez registered 17, Alexander Abrosimov charted 14, Matt Anderson had 12 and Nikolay Apalikov tallied 11.
Zenit Kazan took an 8-6 lead behind the spike and ace of Mikhayklov. PGE Skra’s Cala hit off the block and Atanasijevic evened the score at 8-all. Two blocks of Wlazly against Mikhaylov gave PGE Skra a 14-10 advantage. Kooistra scored for 15-11 and Atanasiveic hit a good parallel shot for the 16-11 score at the second TTO. Cala capped a good defensive play with an accurate soft shot and PGE Skra had a commanding 20-13 advantage. Mikhaylov and Plinski exchanged spikes and the Cala killed out of bounds. Mikhaylod reduced the distance to 21-16 but Cala scored with a massive cross-court right-hander. The Polish club took the set 25-18 with spikes by Atanasijevic and Wlazly.
Zenit’s Sivozhelez broke a tie at 4-all with a soft touch but Mikhaylov’s spike was too long. The Russian club was in front 8-5 thanks to an ace by Sivozhelez. Zenit led 16-12 at the second TTO following the ace by Apalikov and a block executed by Abrosimov. Apalikov blocked Cala for a six-point gap at 20-14. Apalikov expanded the gap to 24-17 with spike and ace and Sivozhelez sealed the set for Zenit 25-18 with a thundering shot.
It was a seesaw event for the first part of the third set. Sivozhelez crashed his serve into the net for an 8-7 lead in favor of PGE Skra Belchatow. However, Zenit Kazan dominated for the rest of the frame and led 16-11 at the second technical time-out. They increased the margin to 21-14 and closed the set 25-15 when Vermigilio blocked Cupkovic.
Atanasijevic broke a tie at 4-all with a massive hit and then Wlazly scored an ace. PGE Skra was in front 8-5 at the first technical time-out. At 10-6, Anderson scored with his spike and then blocked Winiarski to cut the lead to 10-8. Wlazly hit one out of bounds and Zenit was within one point at 12-11. Apalikov tied at 12-all following a strong serve by Anderson. Mihhaylov send Zenit in front 14-13 but Kooistra tied up again. Kooistra blocked Mikhaylov and the serve of Atanasijevic was just a little bit long. PGE Skra led 16-15 following the bomb. Zenit equalized the score and teams engaged in a tough battle. PGE finally prevailed 26-24 with attack of Kooistra and the block of Winiarski against Mikhaylov.
Teams were tied at 4-all in the tie-breaker. Winiarski scored for PGE with a spike from the back court but Sivozhelez evened the score again. Atanasijevic answered back with a cross-court shot and Winiarski blocked Mikhaylov for a 7-5 advantage of the Polish club. Kooistra blocked Mikhaylov for an 8-5 lead. Wlazly served too long but Atanasijevic planted a big parallel shot followed by an ace by Kooistra. Zenit Kazan’s coach called time-out trailing 10-6. Kooistra missed with his next serve and Abrosimov won a net battle to cut the lead to 10-8. Sivozhelez served out of bounds for 11-8 to PGE Skra but Abrosimov scoed again. Atanasijevic hit a crossed shot from the left side and followed with another from the right hand Bakiewicz blocked Mikhyalov. Winiarski missed with the serve and Bakiewicz closed with his spike 15-11 for PGE Skra Belchatow.
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