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polsatsport.pl/ Martyna Szydłowska, fot. fivb.com, cev.lu, 7 October 2017

N'Gapeth, Mikhaylov and the Polish talents - the highlights of the 2017 international volleyball season!

N'Gapeth, Mikhaylov and the Polish talents - the highlights of the 2017 international volleyball season!

The 2017 men's international volleyball season is already over. That's why Polsat - one of the biggest TV stations in Poland and broadcaster of volleyball events decided to sum up the season preparing the ranking of the best matches of this summer.

This international season abounded in many events as the World League, LOTTO EuroVolley Poland 2017, Asian Championship and NORCECA Championship (only the African Championship are still ahead of us) and 2018 World Championship qualification being the highlights.

The starting line-up in volleyball consists of six players + libero, that's why Polsat has decided to select six matches and give one commendation. All these matches provided volleyball on the highest level and were the exciting clashes which sometimes ended with surprising results.

Commendation: Poland - Russia 3:2 (Memorial of Hubert Wagner)

It was a match played at the international friendly tournament, however players supplied fans with top volleyball and a lot of emotions. Poland lost two first sets, but they managed to come from behind and win.

This clash was the young players’ show - the substitute players entered a court and beat the great rival. Łukasz Kaczmarek, Artur Szalpuk Aleksander Śliwka and U21 World champion - Jakub Kochanowski impressed with their performance and proved that the Polish volleyball has a potential for future.

2017-08-13, Kraków (Tauron Arena).

Poland – Russia 3:2 (16:25, 19:25, 25:20, 25:22, 15:12)

Poland: Maciej Muzaj (6), Artur Szalpuk (22), Grzegorz Łomacz (3), Łukasz Wiśniewski, Mateusz Bieniek, Rafał Buszek (3) – Damian Wojtaszek (libero) and Fabian Drzyzga, Łukasz Kaczmarek (13), Jakub Popiwczak (libero), Jakub Kochanowski (10), Aleksander Śliwka (9), Bartłomiej Lemański (7).

Russia: Artem Volvich (9), Sergey Grankin (2), Dmitry Volkov (12), Aleksander Markin (2), Maxim Mihailov (23), Ilyas Kurkaev (14) – Roman Martynyuk (libero) and Maxim Zhigalov, Alexander Butko (1), Yury Berezhko (3), Aleksey Ostapenko, Valentin Golubev (libero).

#6 Turkey - Belgium 2:3 (European Championship - pool phase)

This match showed that we have many good teams in Europe. It shows that even middle-class teams like Belgium and Turkey can provide exciting match at a very good level. Turkey was just a one step from making a big surprise, they had in total five match balls (in the fourth and fifth sets), however they lost in key moments suffering a 16:18 defeat in the last part of match.

2017-08-27, Katowice (Spodek). Number of spectators: 3500.

Turkey – Belgium 2:3 (22:25, 25:22, 25:21, 25:27, 16:18)

Turkey: Burutay Subasi (14), Mert Marko Matic (10), Gokhan Gokgoz (18), Arslan Eksi (2), Samet Faik Gunes (18), Metin Toy (31) – Izzet Unver (libero) and Alperay Demirciler (libero),  Baturalp Burak Gungor (2).

Belgium: Bram van den Dries (15), Sam Deroo (25), Pieter Verhees (14), Simon van de Voorde (4), Stijn D’Hulst (1), Tomas Rousseaux (16) – Lowie Stuer (libero) and Jelle Ribbens (libero), Matthias Valkiers, Francois Lecat (2), Arno van de Velde.

#5 Serbia - Belgium 3:2 (European Championship - bronze medal match)

The teams entered a court in completely different moods. The Serbs, one of the main favourites of the tournament were deeply disappointed by the semi-final defeat to Germany. For Belgians being in top four was already the biggest achievement in the event.

Both teams had created a very interesting show. The Belgians played with great engagement, but the experience and the offensive strength tipped the scales in Serbia's favour. After winning 15:12 in tie-break, team guided by Nikola Grbić returned home with bronze medals.

2017-09-03, Kraków (Tauron Arena). Number of spectators: 9156.

Serbia – Belgium 3:2 (25:17, 22:25, 19:25, 25:22, 15:12)

Serbia: Urosz Kovacević (16), Nemanja Petrić (13), Nikola Jovović (2), Drażen Luburić (26), Marko Podrascanin (7), Srecko Lisinac (15) – Nikola Rosić (libero) and Milan Katić, Goran Skundrić, Aleksandar Atanasijević, Dragan Stanković (4), Aleksandar Okolić.

Belgium: Bram van den Dries (2), Sam Deroo (15), Pieter Verhees (9), Simon van de Voorde (16), Matthias Valkiers (1), Tomas Rousseaux (5) – Lowei Stuer (libero) and Jelie Ribbens (libero), Francois Lecat, Gert van Walle (16), Kevin Klinkenberg (4), Stijn D'Hulst, Ruben van Hirtum.

#4 USA - Canada 1:3 (World League - bronze medal match)

It was one of the biggest surprises of this season. The national team of Canada led by Stephan Antiga achieved a historic result winning their first-ever medal at major tournament. Before the Final Six in Curitiba, Canada was considered as the weakest team in the final round. Unexpectedly, they had advanced to the top four after winning in straight sets a match against Russia.

In the semi-final Canada suffered a defeat to Brazil, 1:3. However, they amazed and made another sensation in the bronze medal match beating their "eternal rival". The USA won the premiere, nevertheless three next sets were Canadian march for a well-deserved victory.

2017-07-08, Curitiba (Arena da Baixada). Number of spectators: 17000.

USA – Canada 1:3 (25:18, 20:25, 22:25, 21:25)

USA: Taylor Sander (14), Thomas Jaeschke (12), Benjamin Patch (12), David Smith (14), Daniel McDonnell (2), Micah Christenson (1) – Erik Shoji (libero) and Kawika Shoji (1), Garrett Muagututia, Torey DeFalco, Jeffrey Jendryk II (2), Carson Clark (3).

Canada: Sharone Vernon-Evans (12), John Gordon Perrin (13), Stephen Timothy Maar (3), Daniel Cornelius Jansen Vandoorn (1), Graham Vigrass (12), Tyler Sanders – Blair Cameron Bann (libero) and Ryley Brendan Barnes (11), Lucas Van Berkel (4), Jason DeRocco (1), Arthur Szwarc.

#3 Serbia - Germany 2:3 (European Championship – semi-final)

Serbia was a favourite of this match what was confirmed by first two sets won by them. The second set ended with crushing superiority of team led by Nikola Grbić 25:15, therefore everything could suggest that the match should be won in straight sets. However, the breakthrough came at 10:10, then Germany scored seven points in a row and took initiative on court. The fourth part was closed with the result 25:27. In tie-break at 9:10, Simon Hirsch served two aces and the Germans was in the lead, they kept it until the end of the match.

Germany are the second team in a row which Italian Andrea Giani led to the final of the European Championship. In 2015 he achieved it with the national team of Slovenia which had lost the gold medal match against France (0:3). This year with German team he claimed again silver after a defeat 2:3 to Russia.

2017-09-02, Kraków (Tauron Arena). Number of spectators: 8336.

Serbia – Germany 2:3 (26:24, 25:15, 18:25, 25:27, 13:15)

Serbia: Nikola Jovovic (3), Uros Kovacevic (19), Srecko Lisinac (11), Drazen Luburic (7), Nemanja Petric (10), Marko Podrascanin (10) – Neven Majstorovic (libero) and  Goran Skundric, Nikola Rosic, Maksim Bucujlevic, Aleksandar Atanasijevic (6), Nemanja Petric, Dragan Stankovic (1).

Germany: Lukas Kampa (4), Denys Kaliberda (12), Tobias Krick (10), Georg Grozer (20), Christian Fromm (11), Michael Andrei (2) – Julian Zenger (libero) and Marcus Boehme (9), Ruben Schott, Simon Hirsch (2).

#2 Germany - Russia 2:3 (European Championship - gold medal match)

Russia reached the final in impressive style - without losing a single set. For Germany it was the first ever gold medal match. The final certainly met the expectations of the most difficult to please fans. It was a festival of emotions, great rallies and turnabouts. Russia won two first sets without any major problems, but in the next two parts Germany showed their potential, although it was not enough to win in tie-break with such great opponent like Russia.

2017-09-03, Kraków (Tauron Arena). Number of spectators: 10592.

Germany – Russia 2:3 (19:25, 25:20, 22:25, 25:17, 13:15)

Germany: Lukas Kampa (3), Denys Kaliberda (13), Tobias Krick (14), Georg Grozer (27), Christian Fromm (11), Marcus Boehme (7) – Julian Zenger (libero) and Ruben Schott (2), Simon Hirsch, Jan Zimmermann.

Russia: Sergey Grankin  (2), Yury Berezhko  (3), Artem Volvich (7), Maxim Mihailov (19), Dmitry Volkov  (14), Ilia Vlasov (7) – Roman Martynyuk (libero) and Valentin Golubev (libero), Alexander Butko (1), Maxim Zhigalov (4), Egor Kliuka (4), Ilyas Kurkaev (6).

#1 Brazil - France 2:3 (World League - gold medal match)

The finals of big events are sometimes not the top-class matches, because teams are overwhelmed by stake and are not able to show their best. However, this season was totally different - both the World League and European Championship finals were top-notch and unforgettable matches.

The final of the World League in Curitiba was one of these matches with the best volleyball and a pinch of magic. It was a splendid perform of Lucarelli, Wallace, Benjamin Toniutti, Jenia Grebennikov and Kevin Le Roux, however Earvin N'Gapeth stole their show. He showed the top-class volleyball and this level is available only for few best players in the world. He scored 29 points with many phenomenal actions. In the fifth set, at 11:10 for Brazil, he scored probably the breakthrough point of this final - defending a ball from the 8th metre, when ball return on the rival side, the Brazilians were staggered and just looked at ball which was landing in the corner of the court...

N'Gapeth struggled with back injury this season and it was the biggest misfortune of France. Only during the Final Six in Curitiba he was injury-free showing his best shape

2017-07-08, Curitiba (Arena da Baixada). Number of spectators: 23149.

Brazil – France 2:3 (25:21, 15:25, 23:25, 25:19, 13:15)

Brazil: Ricardo Lucarelli Souza (22), Mauricio Borges Almeida Silva (5), Wallace De Souza (22), Maurício Souza (6), Lucas Saatkamp (8) Bruno Rezende (1) – Thales Hoss (libero) and Eder Carbonera (6), Renan Buiatti (1), Raphael Vieira De Oliveira, Tiago Brendle (libero).

France: Stephen Boyer (18), Earvin N'Gapeth (29), Trevor Clevenot (12), Barthelemy Chinenyeze (4), Kevin Le Roux (8), Benjamin Toniutti (2) – Jenia Grebennikov (libero) and Thibault Rossard (2), Julien Lyneel, Antoine Brizard

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© Polish Volleyball Federation, 2017