Winner in the thriller with Panathinaikos and the steely Olympiacos are champions again!

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Olympiacos made it back to back and is celebrating the 32nd championship in its volleyball history! The “red and whites” in a sensational final at Rentis closed 2-0 ahead of Panathinaikos, lost Djuric in the middle of the third set and became disorganized, saw the “greens” equalize, but with the spirit of a champion in the tie break they prevailed 3-2 set and took the title!

Shocking variation in the title set, with consecutive reversals and with Hidalgo emerging as the leader of the 4th final which he decided with his ace for 15-12.

The match:

Absolute balance at the start of the first set, with Olympiakos and Panathinaikos starting strongly, but also incorrectly from the service line with two lost on each side. Voulkidis and Protopsaltis brought the “greens” for the first time to +3 (3-5) a difference which was restored immediately, with Olympiacos finding solutions and taking a lead of four points (14-10). The “clover” tried to counterattack with a small 2-0, but Dimitris Andreopoulos’ team suffered an offensive blackout at the moment when the “red and white” block cut off every attack with Jurich and Hidalgo to essentially win the set with 25-17 for 1-0.

The 3-3 start in the second set was not enough to keep Olympiacos closed in its “shell” and with “maestro” Travitsa serving and executors of Stern Hidalgo, the “red and white” escaped immediately with the reception of Panathinaikos to be tragic and face many problems in all attacks of the home team. However, the “headache” for Olympiakos came in the middle of the set after Djuric felt discomfort in his hamstring and was knocked out. This did not prevent Daniel Castellani’s team from reaching +9 (20-11). There was no turning back for Olympiakos and despite Panathinaikos’ two short runs from points by Frankos, the set became “red and white” again with 25-19 for 2-0.

Panathinaikos made its best start in the derby in the third set, taking a three-point lead (5-8) with Olympiacos reacting temporarily, but paying for Djuric’s absence by losing ground again for -3 (6-9). The short head of the “clover” was maintained and the difference even widened up to +6 (10-16). However, the “red and white” with a partial 6-2 brought the match to 15-18 and forced Dimitris Andreopoulos to call a timeout. Fragos turned into the “X-Factor” of Panathinaikos and with consecutive points brought the “clover” to a set ball position and a winner point from Stern’s bad serve for 20-25 and 2-1.

Explosive start of Olympiakos in the fourth set with the score immediately going to 4-1 thanks to a crucial point by Koumendakis and a great block by Pagenk. A great effort by Hidalgo brought the “red and white” to +4 (5-1, 6-2). But Panathinaikos made a complete comeback with Hernandez, Voulkidis, Hidalgo’s mistake and Petraea’s ace to level the match at 6-6 and Daniel Castellani’s timeout. The team of Dimitris Andreopoulos may have drawn, but Hernandez was pivotal in some attacks bringing the “clover” to +3 (12-15). Castellani immediately called a timeout and this benefited Olympiakos, with Stern winning two aces and Hidalgo with three points to put his team ahead 16-15!

From that point on, the match turned into a real derby with three lead changes that brought Olympiacos to 19-18 after an unimaginable defense and a block won by Stern.

However, at that point a bottle landed on the taraflex with the referee Mr. Gerothodoros asking for the evacuation of the organized platform, after a discussion he had with the commissioner, but also the representatives of the teams.

This stoppage did a lot of damage to Olympiakos, since Panathinaikos, with Hernandez as the main scorer, made a full recovery, sending the match to the tie break with 21-25.

There Olympiacos got off to a terrible start looking to impose their law taking a 5-1 lead from Hidalgo attacks and an excessive Stern overstepping penalty. Olympiacos reached 7-2, but the “greens” with a partial 3-0 reduced to two (7-5). But Panathinaikos made a big team reaction and at the most crucial turning point of the match they equalized at 9-9! A terrible surge by Olympiakos, with a block and a block out, brought Olympiakos to +2 (12-10) at a very crucial point in the derby! There, the soul of Piraeus counted in the outcome of the match, with Hidalgo giving the trigger for the fiesta with an ace (15-12).

The sets: 25-17, 25-19, 20-25, 21-25, 15-12

More in a while…

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