Noliko MAASEIK caught a good start (4:2) but then Marek Union-Ivkoni DUPNITSA took over the lead (4:5). In a nervous game Noliko MAASEIK fought back (8:6) and took the lead with a margin of four (12-8) widening it steadily (16:10) eventually clinching the first set rather easily with the score of 25-15.
Noliko MAASEIK continued its impressive performance in set 2. The hosts stayed focused and kept Marek Union-Ivkoni DUPNITSA constantly under pressure (5:2). Noliko MAASEIK exhibited top form with well-placed powerful serves, fierce fast-tempo hits and a precise defense (10:7) to take a crucial lead (16:9). Noliko MAASEIK maintained its momentum (20:12) throughout the remainder of the set as the offensive efforts of youngsters Kevin Klinkenberg and Hermans Egleskalns anchored the home side to the provisional 2:0 (25-14).
Marek Union-Ivkoni DUPNITSA recovered from losing the first two sets and broke away in the third set (0:4; 2:7 and 3:8). Noliko started its comeback (7:9 and 8:11) but the Bulgarian team did not give in (11:13). Once again the roaring home fans helped their heroes through a difficult, but final comeback (17:17). Both teams sided out 18:18, and 22:22. Marek Union-Ivkoni DUPNITSA then took the lead (23:24, 24:25), before Noliko drew level at 26:26. Both teams fought bravely for a few more rallies but in the end it was Noliko MAASEIK to win the third set (32-30) and game.
“My young team was very nervous in the first two sets and made many mistakes, I’m happy that our performance was much better in the third set. I regret that we could not take this set,” the head coach of DUPNITSA, Nayden Naydenov, stated.
“This is a great performance, we played as a team again after two losses in the national league; we have the first place in our pool, so mission accomplished” said a very satisfied Noliko coach Brecht Van Kerckhove.
Latvian Hermans Egleskalns was Noliko‘s best scorer with 20 points while Kostadin Gadzhanov was DUPNITSA’s most prolific player with 11 points.
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