By Adanoos

Some new contract information. Wojciech Ferens joins Jastrzębski Węgiel. He will replace Salvador Hidalgo Oliva, who moves to Fenerbache in Turkey. Paweł Zatorski signed new contract with Zaksa, he will stay in Kędzierzyn for at least 2 more seasons.

The first really interesting game of the week took place a bit earlier (on Wednesday) in Katowice, where GKS was visited by Aluron. The match between the 6th and 7th team is always pretty important for the play-offs battle, so stakes were quite high. But you couldn’t see it during 1st and 2nd set, both were easily won by GKS. In the 3rd set, neither team could build a lead bigger than 2 points for a long time. It changed after Malinowski went to serve, scored an ace and his teammates followed up with a block on Butryn. The score was 22:19 in favour of the guests. But as quickly as they got this lead, Warta lost it immediately due to errant spiking and GKS went up 23:22. Aluron was still fighting however, and won along rally to retake the lead (24:23), but moments later got another hit blocked and ended the game with out spike. Zawiercie didn’t look good, almost every player looked worse than usually. Only Masny, Koga and Rejno were allright. The best player of this game was Tomas Rousseaux (18 points, 2 blocks, 1 ace, 58% kills), who was later awarded with MVP, but Gonzalo Quiroga (8 points, 50% kills, 50% positive and 31% perfect reception) and Marcin Komenda also played a huge part. Emmanuel Kohut and Bartłomiej Krulicki didn’t show up in offense (only 33% kills combined), but made up for that with 8 blocks.

In the 2nd match, Cerrad Czarni Radom beat Cuprum 3:1. If the home team didn’t lose concentration after winning 2 sets, the game would be over earlier. Only Damian Boruch (10 points, 3 blocks, 78% kills) and Masahiro Yanagida (14 points, 2 aces, 60% kills) can be proud of their performances from the losing side. A long overdue good performance from Fornal (17 points, 1 block, 2 aces, 52% kills with 50% positive and 40% perfect reception), a great Żaliński (11 points, 1 ace, 67% kills) and a solid Pajenk (10 points, 1 ace, 75% kills) were all outshone by Michał Filip, who scored 20 points and ended the game with 82% kills and 82% efficiency (18/22). Of course he was MVP of this match. Maxim Zhigalov didn’t start for the first time this season and if Filip keeps this form, Maxim might not get a chance to reclaim his spot for quite some time.

Later the same day the cameras were in Zawiercie. Onico came to this difficult terrain after few victories in a row, while home team fans were worried after their players lost 2 games in disappointing fashion. This time Mark Lebedew set Ferreira and Waliński as the starting duo of OHs, but kept the rest of the team unchanged. Meanwhile, Stephane Antiga decided to start without Bartosz Kwolek, who was recently injured. Aluron was first to take the lead (12:9), but Onico answered immediately. First Penchev scored 2 points with his service, moments later Ferreira was blocked and the score was 14:14. Then Kurek caused havoc with his services and Warta was losing 19:15. That lead was enough for Onico to win the 1st set of the game.

The second set started the same way, Aluron led 9:6, but the score was even (11:11) just a moment later. But this time, it was Zawiercie that took the lead again after a few errors made by guests. The gap stayed small (2 points) for a long time. But when it was 21:19, Grzegorz Bociek went to serve and demolished his opponents, ending the set 25:19 with his 2nd ace.

The third set was high level and very even. Neither team could get ahead by more than 1 point. Finally, Aluron managed to block Kurek for the 1st time in this match, when it was 22:21 and after Łukasik made service error home team won 25:23 and was leading 2:1. Antiga decided to replace Penchev with Kwolek for 4th set, but it wasn’t really helping, because, after another block on Kurek, the score was 9:5. Then, it was 15:11 and 18:15, so it looked like Zawiercie was on a way to score 3 points. But after Kurek’s effective spike and a block on Ferreira it was 18:17. After a block on Bociek Onico equalized (20:20), but Ferreira immediately got his team to 2 point lead with an ace. Aluron didn’t let go of this lead and after some emotions and challange, they won 25:23. MVP went to Waliński (19 points, 3 blocks, 3 aces, 59% kills) who was the most reliable player of his team, but Bociek (16 points, 3 aces, 45% kills) and Ferreira (17 points, 2 blocks, 2 aces, 46% kills) played a big part too. Onico relied mostly on Kurek (22 points, 4 blocks, 48% kills), Brizard sent over 40% of his passes to Bartek. Very poor service and (only 3 aces, but 21 errors), a disappointing Penchev (5 points, 1 block, 3 aces, 10% kills) with the addition of Kwolek still recovering from injury definitely didn’t help Onico.

Later, the same day, Zaksa was in Bydgoszcz to face Chemik. Home team was completely destroyed by injuries. Vinhedo, Sieńko (both setters), Lipiński and Gryc were not available. Club was forced to sign new setter (Marcin Karakuła) and use one of youth players (Paweł Cieślik) for that game, so their tiny chances of beating Zaksa were decreased even more. As it is easy to predict, team from Kędzierzyn-Koźle won easily 3:0, but Chemik at least has no reason to be ashamed of scoring 54 points in those circumstances. Bartosz Filipiak (20 points, 54% kills) deserves praise for his performance, but his teammates struggled to keep their usual level, which is understandable, because they were playing with a new setter, who joined few days earlier. MVP went to Paweł Zatorski (84% positive and 53% perfect reception, 0 errors), who was great, but whole team played well. Kaczmarek (15 points, 3 blocks, 2 aces, 59% kills), Deroo (14 points, 1 block, 62% kills) especially.

On Sunday we had probably the most interesting game of the weekend. GKS Katowice, a team that joined the playoff battle and after Quiroga’s recovery became a dangerous team was visited by Asseco Resovia Rzeszów, a team that has had chances at the playoffs but has suffered from some internal struggle. It was a very important match for the standings. Resovia came into the match with 14 points, GKS with 21, while Skra and Zawiercie (5th and 6th) had 24. A victory would make GKS a strong contender for top 6 (the same amount of points, but more matches played than Skra and Zawiercie) while decreasing Resovia’s chances massively (10 points behind 7th team). Cretu decided to start with Shoji, Jarosz, Smith, Możdżonek, Rossard, Mika, Perry and Masłowski (2 libero system to avoid foreign players rule). The first set began well for GKS. They went up 10:7, but Rossard went to serve and Resovia equalized immediately. But Katowice were ahead again in a moment (13:10), only to lose their advantage quickly (14:14). Then, Karol Butryn went to serve and got his team to another lead, the score was 19:15. But this time, GKS led by their opposite increased the gap to 6 points (22:16). Guests tried to battle back again (23:20), but it wasn’t enough and GKS won 1st set.

The second set was closer, as neither team could build a lead. Butryn (especially) and Rousseaux were very effective, but Rossard, Jarosz, and Mika were answering and it looked like this set might be long. After another successful spike by Butryn GKS had first set ball (24:23) and Piotr Gruszka had an ace up his sleeve. Dawid Woch was subbed in to serve and his killer float was what ended 2nd set. Losing set in this way was a heavy blow for Asseco and Katowice took advantage of that, taking 5:1 lead, later increased to 14:7. This is when Buszek replaced Mika and Resovia woke up, the score changed to 14:10. When it was 17:14 it looked like the guests were fighting back, after another dig, Kozub set the ball to Rossard, who was in a difficult situation, but he took a risk and missed. The challenge showed that the ball almost touched block, but almost is not enough. After this error, Rzeszów collapsed and GKS easily won the set and the match.

Once again Kohut and Krulicki were bad in offense (only 22% kills, 2 spikes finished), but 2 aces and 3 blocks improved their stats a bit. Quiroga (5 points, 1 block, 1 ace, 38% kills) and Rousseaux (11 points, 44% kills) were a bit worse than usual, but Karol Butryn (20 points, 2 blocks, 2 aces, 70% kills) was on fire and got a deserved MVP award. Good performances from Komenda and Mariański are worth mentioning. Meanwhile, Resovia is still struggling. Mika looked a bit better (10 points, 48% kills, 47% positive reception), Jarosz was solid (16 points, 1 ace, 50% kills), but Rossard’s first game back after his injury was very poor (10 points, 1 block, 2 aces, 33% kills). Time is running out, if this team wants to finish in top 6, they must improve quickly.

The last game was between MKS Będzin and Indykpol AZS Olsztyn. There were no surprises there, Indykpol finally won (after 5 defeats in a row) and MKS remains with only 1 victory and 6 points in dead last position. After a very one-sided first set, Guido Vermeulen finally gave Jan Fornal his chance and 2nd set was a lot longer than expected, but Jan Hadrava finished the set 38:36 with an ace. The following set was easily won by Olsztyn and the game finished 3:0. Once again Lincoln Williams (16 points, 1 block, 1 ace, 52% kills) was keeping MKS competitive, but Jan Fornal (17 points, 2 blocks, 1 ace, 48% kills) helped him quite a bit, but when 3 other OHs ends with 29% kills and both middles with 18%, then there is not a lot 2 players can do. Solid games by Kapelus (15 points, 1 ace, 50% kills) and Hadrava (18 points, 2 blocks, 2 aces, 44% kills) with a very good Zniszczoł (11 points, 3 blocks, 1 ace, 70% kills) was more than enough to win this game.

GKS Katowice 3:0 Aluron Virtu Warta Zawiercie

25:20, 25:19, 27:25

GKS: Krulicki (10), Butryn (14), Komenda (3), Rousseaux (18), Quiroga (8), Kohut (4), Mariański (libero) and Woch, Sobala

Warta: Rejno (10), Ferreira (2), Gawryszewski (4), Bociek (6), Semeniuk (8), Masny, Koga (libero) and Waliński (9), Malinowski (6), Andrzejewski (libero)

MVP: Tomas Rousseaux

Cerrad Czarni Radom 3:1 Cuprum Lubin

25:20, 25:20, 15:25, 25:17

Czarni: Pajenk (10), Żaliński (11), Vincić (4), Filip (20), Huber (5), Fornal (17), Ruciak (libero) and Ostrowski (2), Giger, Wasilewski (libero), Zhigalov (5), Kwasowski

Cuprum: Boruch (10), Gorzkiewicz (2), Patucha (4), Smoliński (3), Smith (13), Yanagida (14), Gruszczyński (libero) and Toobal, Grobelny (6), Biegun (1), Ziobrowski

MVP: Michał Filip

Aluron Virtu Warta Zawiercie 3:1 ONICO Warszawa

22:25, 25:19, 25:23, 25:23

Warta: Waliński (19), Rejno (4), Ferreira (17), Gawryszewski (9), Bociek (16), Masny (2), Koga (libero) and Dosanjh, Semeniuk, Andrzejewski (libero), Malinowski

ONICO: Brizard (4), Łukasik (10), Wrona (4), Vigrass (9), Kurek (22), Penczew (5), Wojtaszek (libero) and Kwolek (3), Janikowski, Nowakowski (3)

MVP: Marcin Waliński

Chemik Bydgoszcz 0:3 Zaksa Kędzierzyn-Koźle

14:25, 20:25, 20:25

Chemik: Kovacević (5), Szalacha (2), Filipiak (20), Lesiuk (4), Morozau (6), Cieślik, Kowalski (libero) and Siwicki, Akala, Bobrowski, Karakuła (1), Witek

ZAKSA: Kaczmarek (14), Toniutti (1), Wiśniewski (8), Bieniek (8), Śliwka (9), Deroo (14), Zatorski (libero) and Stępień, Jungiewicz (3), Koppers

MVP: Paweł Zatorski

GKS Katowice 3:0 Asseco Resovia Rzeszów

25:21, 25:23, 25:18

GKS: Krulicki (2), Butryn (22), Komenda (3), Rousseaux (10), Quiroga (5), Kohut (6), Mariański (libero) and Woch (1), Depowski (2), Fijałek, Sobański

Resovia: Shoji (2), Jarosz (15), Rossard (9), Mika (11), Możdżonek, Smith (5), Masłowski (libero) and Kozub (1), Lemański (4), Perry (libero), Schulz, Buszek (1)

MVP: Karol Butryn

MKS Będzin 0:3 Indykpol AZS Olsztyn

14:25, 36:38, 19:25

MKS: Williams (16), Buchowski (7), Grzechnik (4), Tichacek (1), Peszko (1), Ratajczak, Potera (libero) and Fornal (17), Faryna (6), Langlois (3), Kowalski, Gregorowicz (libero)

Indykpol: Hadrava (18), Kapelus (15), Zniszczoł (11), Andringa (11), Pietraszko (6), Woicki (2), Żurek (libero) and Warda (1), Kańczok

MVP: Miłosz Zniszczoł

League table:

1. Zaksa Kędzierzyn-Koźle 14-0, 41p

2. ONICO Warszawa 11-4, 32p

3. Jastrzębski Węgiel 11-3, 31p

4. Cerrad Czarni Radom 10-5, 29p

5. Aluron Virtu Warta Zawiercie 9-6, 24p

6. PGE Skra Bełchatów 8-6, 24p

  1. GKS Katowice 8-8, 24p
  2. Indykpol AZS Olsztyn 5-10, 18p
  3. Chemik Bydgoszcz 5-10, 16p
  4. Trefl Gdańsk 5-8, 15p
  5. Asseco Resovia Rzeszów 4-10, 14p
  6. Cuprum Lubin 4-11, 11p
  7. MKS Będzin 1-14, 6p

Top scorer:

  1. Karol Butryn – 299
  2. Maciej Muzaj – 282
  3. Jan Hadrava – 277
  4. Lincoln Williams – 257
  5. Tomas Rousseaux – 255

Most aces:

  1. Jan Hadrava – 34
  2. Bartosz Kwolek – 33
  3. Karol Butryn – 32

Most blocks:

  1. Andrzej Wrona – 40
  2. Grzegorz Kosok – 39
  3. Maxim Morozau – 39

Next matches (30.01 – 03.02):

Aluron Virtu Warta Zawiercie vs Chemik Bydgoszcz *

Curpum Lubin vs GKS Katowice

Asseco Resovia Rzeszów vs Aluron Virtu Warta Zawiercie

Indykpol AZS Olsztyn vs PGE Skra Bełchatów

ONICO Warszawa vs Cerrad Czarni Radom

Chemik Bydgoszcz vs Trefl Gdańsk

Jastrzębski Węgiel vs MKS Będzin

Quick reminder.

Polish Cup will continue this wednesday with quaterfinals and will end this weekend with final four in Wrocław. Here are the QF:

Zaksa Kędzierzyn-Koźle vs PGE Skra Bełchatów

Cerrad Czarni Radom vs Aluron Virtu Warta Zawiercie

BBTS Bielsko-Biała vs Jastrzębski Węgiel

Stal Nysa vs ONICO Warszawa

Zaksa/Skra will face Cerrad/Aluron in 1st semifinal, BBTS/Jastrzębski will play Stal/Onico in 2nd.

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