With a five-set effort, the Berlin Volleys qualified for the quarter-finals of the Volleyball Champions League for the third time in a row. "Despite a few setbacks, we never lost faith in ourselves," said coach Cedric Enard after the 3:2 (24:26, 25:21, 25:20, 18:25, 15:9) win over the Turkish champions Ziraat Bank Ankara on Wednesday, with which his team secured progress.
In the round of the last eight teams, the Berliners now meet club world champion Sir Sicoma Monini Perugia. The game will be played in Berlin on March 8th, with the second leg taking place in Italy a week later. "We're expecting a fantastic opponent. But we want to show what makes us different against them, too," said Enard.
The game against Ankara in front of 5134 spectators in the Max-Schmeling-Halle immersed the volleys in an emotional roller coaster. Strong fluctuations in the performance of players such as Timothee Carle, Marek Sotola and Ruben Schott during the two-hour encounter prevented an unchallenged victory.
"It makes us strong that one can rely on the other. This also allows us to bridge phases of weakness in individual players," said the outstanding middle blocker Anton Brehme about the team spirit. "It was a difficult match, also because we made it unnecessarily difficult for ourselves," Enard stated and quarreled: "We gave the first set away."
In this opening set, the BR Volleys were already comfortably leading 24:20 when Ankara's captain Arslan Eksi served and his team scored six points in a row to win the set. Amazing how the hosts put away this severe setback. "Our team is young. To have mastered the critical situations in such a way deserves respect," said Enard.
Volleyball Champions League, qualification quarterfinals iPlay-offs Volleyball Champions League, fixtures quarterfinals Sir Sicoma Monini Perugia, Team BR Volleys, Team