Allianz MTV: Close to causing sensation
Allianz MTV Stuttgart have never claimed Europe's most coveted Volleyball crown, the one which virtually goes to the eventual winners of the CEV Volleyball Champions League. However, there are some similarities between Germany's national cup winners and their opponents in the quarterfinals of the 2017 CEV Volleyball Cup - Women, Italy's standout Pomì Casalmaggiore.
Both teams are currently trying to show their best performance since they are about to start their campaign in the playoffs of their respective national leagues. However, that is all about it, as far as similarities are concerned. The big difference was already obvious, when the reigning CL champions from Italy were coming to town - in an own pink-coloured team bus, with twelve international experienced players, an eleven-people staff including a living coaching legend, Giovanni Caprara.
Looking back at the 121-minute thriller, you had to shake your head several times to believe at what was happening on the court. Allianz MTV Stuttgart forced the 'Champion of the Champions' to play a tiebreak, leading 7-2 in the deciding fifth set, to eventually lose just by three points (19-25, 19-25, 25-22, 25-21, 12-15).
Both teams, although differing in many ways, played at the same level. Casalmaggiore had many experienced players on the court like Carmen Marinela Turlea, who scored 26 points in the end, as Stuttgart compensated this fact with grit, a lot of enthusiasm and a great team spirit, almost succeeding in causing a real sensation. Home star Michaela Mlejnkova, only 20 years old, signed 24 points, and Aiyana Whitney 19, the latter being also still 23.
Guillermo Naranjo Hernández, head coach of Allianz MTV Stuttgart: "We played on an amazing level, very solid. It is not, that they were performing badly. We made it very difficult for them. I am absolutely proud of the girls."
Giovanni Caprara, head coach of Pomì Casalmaggiore: "First of all I have to congratulate the home team, since especially in the second part of the game they put us under a lot of pressure. We are not having a great time recently. Thus, this win is very important for us and I am very satisfied. The difference was that we have players like Lucia Bacchi, who always comes from the bench and brings a lot of power and experience to change the course of the game."
Click here for more info including detailed stats of the match.