Orange Dragons win their first quarter-final match

ACH Volley Ljubljana

In the first quarterfinal match of the Sportklub First Volleyball League, the team from Krka Novo mesto and the Slovenian champions, ACH Volley Ljubljana, competed in the Tivoli sports hall. The entire match was dominated by the Ljubljana team, who celebrated a 3:0 victory.

Tivoli sports hall, Ljubljana,  95 spectators, referees: Daniel Atanasov, Blaž Markelj.

ACH Volley Ljubljana : Krka 3:0 (25-15, 25-11, 25-20).

ACH Volley Ljubljana: Marković, Kržič 1, Šket 19, Najdič 1, Marovt 3, Šen 2, Koncilja 6, Kovačič (L), Gjorgiev, Sešek, Pokeršnik 10, Videčnik 6. Coach: Radovan Gačič.

Krka: Jarvis 9, Medved, Erpič G., Kocjančič, Kosmina 8, Bregar 7, Verdinek (L), Kožar 1, Pulko, Erpič U., Lindič 1, Rojnik 1, Mejal, Laknar (L). Coach: Jernej Rojc.

The start of the first quarterfinal match went according to the plans of the Orange Dragons, with effective play from Šket, who played as an opposite hitter this time, and Pokeršnik with tricky serves, leading to a 7:4 lead. This was followed by a reaction from the visiting team's coach Rojc and a 30-second timeout. The ACH Volley players continued in their rhythm, effortlessly completing successful attacks. This was aided by Krka players making a large number of unforced errors (17:11). Towards the end of the first set, Videčnik served an ace to make it 23:15, followed by an excellent block by Šket for the first set point, and the set concluded with another mistake by Krka players (25:15).

The beginning of the second set saw numerous mistakes on both sides of the net, with the teams almost competing in the number of missed serves. The Slovenian champions soon regrouped and with a solid block successfully stopped the attempts of the guests. After Videčnik's ace, the scoreboard in Tivoli Hall read 16:7, making it clear that the second set would also go to the Ljubljana volleyball players. The end of the set continued to display the complete dominance of the Ljubljana team, who built a significant lead to win 25:11.

The initial advantage in the third set belonged to the guests from Novo mesto, who led 9:7 after an ace by Kosmina. The Dragons quickly balanced the score and took the lead in the second half of the set, never letting it go. Šket started the final part with a powerful attack for 22:19, and Koncilja concluded it with a first-tempo hit (25:20).

Statement from ACH Volley Ljubljana's coach, Radovan Gačič: "Before the match, we were aware that Krka could be a very uncomfortable opponent, as they proved in the semifinal match of the cup competition. Therefore, we wanted to play as well as possible and apply enough pressure with our serve. We succeeded in the first and second sets, but in the third, we made some errors in our serve, leading to a more balanced set. However, we are satisfied with our blocking and attacking play and are looking forward to the return match in Novo mesto with more peace of mind."

Statement from ACH Volley Ljubljana player, Nejc Najdič: "A good enough performance from our side for a convincing victory, which gives us peace before the return match next Thursday in Novo mesto. We had a good enough serve to keep the opponent away from the net, which made our work in the block and defense easier. Now we need to prepare well for the match in Novo mesto and qualify for the semifinals."