Slovenian champions finish the regular season with a win and first place

ACH Volley Ljubljana

In the last game of the regular season in the blue group of the Sportklub Volleyball League, i-Vent Maribor and ACH Volley Ljubljana faced off at the Tabor Arena in Maribor. In a match that didn't decide anything, the orange dragons, with a shuffled lineup, avenged their midweek defeat to Maribor and returned to the capital with a full set of points.

Maribor – Tabor Arena, spectators: 240, referees: Jure Vrenko, Daniel Atanasov

i-Vent Maribor: Fužir 2, Vodušek 3, Pernuš 2, Adžović 1, McConnel 8, Valenčič 4, Bračko 12, Kumer (L), Kržič 10, Donik 11, Fink 5, Novak. Coach: Sebastijan Škorc.

ACH Volley Ljubljana: Marković, Kržič 13, Šket, Najdič 2, Marovt 15, Šen 1, Koncilja 13, Gjorgiev, Sešek 12, Pokeršnik 17, Videčnik 2, Song (L). Coach: Radovan Gačič

The Slovenian champions started the match with a completely shuffled lineup, and Coach Gačič had announced before the game that those who usually play less would get a chance.

Despite this, the Ljubljana volleyball players opened the match excellently, taking a 4-1 lead after two consecutive aces by Koncilja. The advantage melted in the continuation, and the Maribor volleyball players leveled the score after Bračko's ace at the 12th point. In the second half of the set, the rhythm of the game was dictated by the home team, and with the blocking of the in-form Bračko and the ace by Captain Donik, they secured a four-point lead before the end of the opening set. This was enough for a win in the first set, and the older of the Kržič brothers succeeded with the first pace for 25:20.

After a series of unfavorable initial serves, this time by the younger of the Kržič brothers, the Ljubljana team took an 8-4 lead, and a timeout was called by the home strategist Škorc. After two unforced errors by the orange dragons in the attack, the advantage shrunk to two points, prompting Gačič to call a timeout. The guests maintained a two-point advantage after a new block, this time stopping McConnell, before the start of the final phase of the second set. After a series of missed serves in the closing of the second set, Jošt Kržič first took matters into his own hands with a block and then with an ace, leveling the set score to 1:1 (21:25).

We witnessed the most balanced action in the third set, and the first significant lead was gained by the Ljubljana volleyball players after Sešek's effective attack for 16:13. Bračko equalized with a new ace at the 20th point, and Marovt responded with an attack for a lead of 23:21. In the tense ending, we saw a fierce battle for every ball, and after a series of set points on both sides, the set ended in favor of the Slovenian champions after a block by the in-form Jošt Kržič (28:30).

Similar to the first set, in the fourth set, Koncilja shone with the initial serve, securing a substantial lead with three consecutive aces right at the beginning (1:5). In this rhythm, the current national champions persisted in the continuation. i-Vent's volleyball players closed in after Vodušek's block to two points behind (13:15), but the guests responded powerfully and, on the wings of young and extremely promising volleyball players, quickly took the lead to 19:14. They maintained the advantage until the end, and in a calm ending after Marovt's attacking action, they deservedly celebrated another championship victory.

Statement from ACH Volley Ljubljana Coach Radovan Gačič: "All praise to the guys who took advantage of the opportunity today and proved that they can be counted on in the final stages of the championship. We stuck to what we agreed upon, and in the crucial moments of the game, we remained calm and focused. It paid off today. Now we have enough time to prepare for the quarterfinals against Krka from Novo mesto."

Statement from ACH Volley Ljubljana player Jošt Kržič: "I am happy for today's win and the opportunity given. It's excellent that the younger ones got a chance because we see that hard work in training pays off. Finishing first in the regular part of the championship gives us additional confidence before the start of the playoffs."