After fourteen consecutive victories in Greek and European competitions, Olympiacos was defeated by Targoviste in tiebreak. In the first game of the round of 16, the ‘’Reds’’ didn’t have their best performance. Although the Greek team was ahead with 21-16 in the second set, tied in 2-2 and controlled the fifth one in the start, the large number of mistakes led to the first defeat of the year. However, the last year finalists have the chance to qualify in the rematch held in Romania on Tuesday 6 February (18:00). It needs to win with 3-0 or 3-1 to qualify directly. In case that Olympiacos won 3-2, the two teams will play a golden set.
Olympiacos was back with 9-12 in the first set. Then, it run a 5-0 streak with two points by Niemer and one by Giota to pass by 13-12. Targoviste replied with a 14-15 lead but the ‘’Legend’’ regained the lead and went ahead with 16-15 in the second technical timeout, thanks to Poll's attack. The two teams continued point to point until 18-18. The guests run a 7-0 streak and took the first set.
In the second set, Olympiacos began well and went ahead with +4 in the first timeout. The ‘’Reds’’ kept the lead steadily until 15-11, at the point where Targovište reduced. However, a point by Niemmer led Olympiacos to head in the second timeout. It kept the rhythm and preceded with 20-16 but Targoviste reacted and equalised to 24-24. The Romanian team went ahead with 25-26 and took the set with an ace by Fairs.
Olympiacos came back!
In the third set, Olympiacos improved his performance dramatically. The Greek team went ahead with 16-12 in the second technical timeout. Then, it continued with the same rhythm and led with 20-13 and finally, 25-16.
Continued and equalized!
In the fourth set, Olympiacos turned 6-7 to 11-8 firstly and increased the lead to +5 with a point by Niemer. The ‘’Reds’’ went ahead with 16-11 in the second technical timeout. Katerina Giota scored for 18-13 and increased the difference to +6 reaching 19-13 with a block. Hippe was the leader of the next phases doing 23-16 and finishing the set with an ace to tie the game and lead it to tiebreak.
Olympiacos started with a quick 3-0, followed by 4-1, but Targoviste reduced to 4-3, equalized for the first time in 5-5 and preceded with 5-6. After a difficult attack, Hippe equalled 6-6, but Targoviste answered replied for 6-7. Hippe scored again and Olympiacos overturned the set going ahead in the first timeout (8-7). The two teams continued point to point with Olympiacos preceding with 11-9. Targoviste reacted and run a 4-0 streak (11013). Niemer reduced to 12-13 but the Romanian players were more concentrated and won the tiebreak.
The sets: 18-25 (23'), 25-27 (30'), 25-16 (23'), 25-16, 13-15 (15')
1st set: 7-8, 16-15, 18-21, 18-25
2nd set: 8-4, 16-14, 21-16, 25-27
3rd set: 7-8, 16-12, 21-14, 25-16
4th set: 8-7, 16-11, 21-15, 25-16
5th set: 5-3, 10-9, 11-12, 13-15
Olympiacos (Branko Kovacevic): Giota 9 (5/14 attacks, 1 ace, 3 blocks), Niemer 20 (14/41 attacks, 2 aces, 4 blocks, 47% pos-40% exc.), Poll 10 (7/21 attacks, 1 ace, 2 blocks, 52% pos-36% exc.), Lamprousi 5 (4/11 attacks, 1 ace), Christodoulou 5 (3/6 attacks, 2 blocks), Hippe 25 (22/49 attacks, 3 aces), Konomi (L, 38% pos-14% exc.), Konstantinidou.
Targoviste (Gillermo): Hroncekova 8 (4/14 attacks, 4 blocks), Smith 3 (1/6 attacks, 2 blocks), Fairs 15 (13/32 attacks, 1 ace, 1 block, 47% pos-34% exc.), Trica 16 (14/46 attacks, 2 blocks, 47% pos-29% exc.), Otasevic 12 (3/8 attacks, 5 aces, 4 blocks), Collar 18 (16/44 attacks, 1ace, 1 block), Durr (L, 44% pos-33% exc.), Souza 1 (1 ace), Calota 1 (1 ace), Marciu 1 (1/2 attacks)
The Head Coach of the team, Kovacevic said: ‘’Obviously, I am not satisfied with the loss but I am happy that we had the opportunity to play a tough game like this against a strong and experienced opponent. From a psychological point of view, we weren’t good, maybe because we haven’t played games like these. Now, we have to calm down and if we play as we know in Romania, we have the chance to qualify.’’
Stella Christodoulou stated: ‘’It is clear that we did a bad start that cost us. It is important that we achieved to react after the 2-0, overturn the game and led it to tiebreak. I think the team can play better, we made a lot of mistakes that we do not get used to and we will definitely claim the qualification in Romania.’’