Arkas Izmir arrived in Belchatow looking for revenge, and boy, did they get it. Not only did PGE Skra Belchatow beat Izmir 3-1 at home last week in the first leg of the Playoff 12’s, Belchatow was also the team to knock Izmir out of the CEV Champions League last year in the semi-finals.
Arkas Izmir, who is coached by Canadian National Team Head Coach Glen Hoag and also features Canadians Gord Perrin, Justin Duff, and Adam Simac, defeated PGE Skra Belchatow 3-2 (25-14, 21-25, 25-22, 18-25, 20-18) to force a winner-takes-all Golden Set to 15. Un-phased by the massive home crowd of almost 14,000 Skra supporters, Arkas pushed forward to take the deciding set 15-12.
Our trios of Canadians were a huge factor in the match, combining for 28 points over the first five sets. Gord Perrin chipped in with 11 kills and a block, Adam Simac with six kills and a block, and Justin Duff led all blockers with three blocks, as well six kills on eight attempts for a huge .750 hitting percentage.
Of course, the match was led by Arkas’ dynamic Columbian right side who was the top scorer of the match with 29 kills. He is also currently leading the Champions League in scoring with 171 points. Another familiar face, Gord Perrin, sits in 9th on that same list, with 110 points.
Next up, Arkas will face Zaksa Kedzierzyn-Kozle, who is currently sitting in second place of the Polish Plus Liga, considered one of the toughest leagues in the world. Skra Belchatow also plays in the Plus Liga, and they are currently in fifth.
Missed the match and still want to watch it in all its glory? No problem! Check it out here.
Trentino’s Golden Set Breakdown
Trentino, another member of last year’s Final Four teams, lost their Golden Set against Dinamo Moscow in what could be called one of the most colossal team break-downs we’ve seen in a while.
The Russian squad won last week’s match up in a 5-set thriller at home. In the second match in Trentino, the home team went to work with a thorough 3-0 win (25-19, 25-18, 25-12) in a match that took barely an hour. Somehow, with all that momentum, they still managed to find themselves on the wrong end of a 15-12 Golden Set score, preventing the 3-time defending World Club Champions from returning to the Final Four. Is their a better reason to love Golden Sets!?
You can watch the crumbling of a giant for yourself, here.