Men's Olympic Volleyball: The Five Keys That Led the Reds and Whites to Win the Challenge Cup - Sportish
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Men’s Olympic Volleyball: The Five Keys That Led the Reds and Whites to Win the Challenge Cup



Sportish records what has changed at Olympiacos and what led to winning a European cup from last year’s bad year.

On Wednesday night, Olympiacos celebrated their third European title in men’s volleyball history after beating Maccabi in the Challenge Cup.

The Red and Whites confirmed the title of favorites and scored the first goal of the year, but there’s more to come.

Sportish records what has changed at Olympiacos and what led to winning a European cup from last year’s bad year.

He gave Giuliani the keys

The Red-Whites’ first and fundamental step was the trust they placed in Giuliani. The Italian came with a rich CV but last year he managed a team that wasn’t his own.

He started building this year’s team around this time last year. Regardless of the outcome of the rest of the year, his decisions are successful as Olympiakos’ data has improved.

Having an image of the material that was on the roster, he decided to rely on players he knows from the foreign market but also support players from the existing team.

The upgrade trio to become a foreigner

The first major change Giuliani made concerned the positions of foreigners. Unlike previous years, the Italian opted for a foreign passer, with one of the two main wingers being a Greek.

Therefore, the design began with two key positions, that of the passerby and the diagonal. There he chose two players he knew well. Of course we’re referring to Travis and Stern. The former may not be in his prime but he remains an excellent passer with a great personality.

The latter isn’t a diagonal killer, but it does its job and more than that, helping in many areas of the game. He then had to decide what to do with the extremists.

The options he had in the Greek market were specific as Raphael Koumendakis won his return ticket to Rentis. For second base, he wanted a player with more offensive ability and a good serve.

After considering several options, he ended up at Hidalgo. The Cuban may have been 37 years old, but he was a proven solution and that’s why he was chosen.

The emptiness of Zisi and investing in Greeks

The big problem that arose from the Greek tribe concerned Zisi who moved to Panathinaikos. The Red-Whites brought in Gara, who was having a good season with the Greens, to form a duo with Dziavra.

Greeks have also been taken on who can give more to the red-whites in the future, like Chandrinos and Linardos, but also more experienced players like Papaggelopoulos.

To the Greek body, we must add Zoupani and Dalakouras, which are left behind.

The roles and work that led to the improvement

This is how the puzzle Giuliani had in mind was born. The Italy coach now had a side of his own choice and what he had in mind had to come out on the Taraflex.

Gara’s injury created new circumstances after Giavras fell straight into the deep end. The 24-year-old libero is the best example of what hard work can achieve.

His improvement over the season is great and given that Olympiacos have acquired a libero they can count on for years to come.

Each red and white has a clear role, and all seem to trust Giuliani’s work.

The Match of Liberation

Regardless of how the Olympiakos year unfolds, with the Reds and Whites featuring in all three national titles, there is one game that is the point of reference.

What is meant, of course, is the rematch with Panathinaikos for the Challenge Cup. From that game to date, Giuliani’s players have played with tremendous confidence.

This was also evident in the derby that followed a few days later. After Olympiakos made it 2-0, Panathinaikos turned things up and sent the game into a tie-break in which the Reds and Whites managed to secure victory and effectively joint first place in regular time.

How the year will unfold for Olympiakos isn’t easy to predict, but given the difference in the team’s image compared to last year, it’s chaotic.

Source: sport 24

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Raptis and Milenkoski supporters gave the title to PAOK




Kostas Holidis writes about the great performance of Alexandros Raptis, who however had the valuable help of his teammates to lead PAOK to the title against Olympiakos.

PAOK lifted their fifth trophy in their history on Saturday night after beating Olympiakos 3-1 in an impressive final.

However, Dikefalos took that particular trophy, and whoever wins it later in the year, well before that. When Josko Milenkoski was ready to leave, the team management decided to support him and the result justifies it.

Since then, PAOK have steadily improved and confirmed in Kalamata that they are the best team in Greece this season.

The Tailor’s Rhapsody

We couldn’t start the finale’s commentary from anything other than MVP. Last summer, Alexandros Raptis left Panathinaikos for PAOK.

The reason; To find a stable and important role in a team that is aiming for the title. At the age of 23, Alexandros Raptis performed like a dream.

He held the slot, attacked with 76% spatiality (25/33 attacks with just one miss) and three aces. What more could Milenkoski ask of his winger, who stopped at 28 points.

The team turned the tables

As the MVP, Alexandros Raptis said in his statements, the whole team had to do a lot of work for him to make this appearance.

In particular, Kokkinakis and Giorna swept the back zone, Walsh did an excellent job splitting the game after the first set, Skrentau and Voulkidis helped with blocking and attacking, while Den Dries’ contribution was also important.

The stats might say that the Belgian had 30% attacking with 12/40, but he helped with his serves as well as his blocks (4).

Everyone worked to ensure PAOK could turn the tide of the first set and claim the title.

The decisive point of the final

The final was undoubtedly decided in the second half of the third set. Olympiacos entered first 17-13, but the rest belonged entirely to PAOK.

Dikephalos managed to run away 12-4 at this point, with Dan Dries and Rapti doing an excellent job on offense. A pressing serve and an excellent block defense led PAOK to surprise.

PAOK essentially confirmed the image it had shown us in the game series against Panathinaikos, playing excellently and having many protagonists.

Shorted from Travica, low flying from Hidalgo

Now we come to the defeated Olympiakos. Giuliani’s players traveled to Kalamata in high spirits, just as they did after qualifying against Panathinaikos in the Challenge Cup semifinals.

However, in the final against PAOK, only in the first set did they show the image we’ve been accustomed to seeing them for the last month or so. In the third shot on goal, they simply took advantage of Dikefalos’ many mistakes, but also their excellent block.

But what was the big problem of Olympiacos? The main thing was that it clouded Travis’ mind. The big passer saw that Stern was having a good day (Slovene had 17/37 attacks) and attacked him.

In fact, he overwhelmed him as he took more balls than Pagenk (11), Koumentakis (15) and Linardos (7) combined. At the same time, Hidalgo appeared to be fully read by the PAOK block, breaking many balls in his attacks, with the Cuban counting disappointing 8/26 attacks.

Both titles the next day

The Cup Final Four concluded as PAOK received a huge psychological injection for the sequel. Dikefalos and Olympiacos are likely to be the couple in the championship final.

Both lead 2-0 each against Panathinaikos and Milos, so they only need one win to clinch the title, with Olympiakos having the home field advantage.

At the same time, we must not forget that the Red-Whites also have the League Cup final with Panathinaikos, which may have less prestige, but especially when the Greens are no longer fighting for the championship, they will want it more.

Anyway, for about 45 more days we will watch great duels in men’s and women’s volleyball.

Source: sport 24

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Kokkinakis: ‘We had a hard time, we got a big trophy’




Kokkinakis, in his testimony after PAOK won the cup, referred to the difficulties his team had endured during the season.

PAOK defeated Olympiakos 3-1 to win the Greek Cup. This is the seventh trophy in the institution for Kokkinakis, who spoke about Dikephalos’ troubles this year.

The statements of Kokkinakis:

“It’s the seventh trophy for me. I’m proud and happy for my team. We had a difficult time, we didn’t play the volleyball we wanted, we didn’t give up.

We got a big trophy, well deserved. We played hard as a team. That is the most pleasant, the most touching. That’s what all athletes live for. I’m glad God deserved that I won seven trophies. Congratulations to Olympiakos for the European Championship. He needs it, he wants it.

We have achieved something big with PAOK. We don’t have time to party, that’s professionalism. The team didn’t start well. You know how it is in Greece. Everyone is in a hurry. We believed in our abilities. But we have it, so I’ll remember it.”

Source: sport 24

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Giuliani: “PAOK played very well, they are in excellent form”




Olympiacos coach Alberto Giuliani argued after the conclusion of the cup final against PAOK that Thessaloniki side are in excellent form and won fairly.

Olympiacos coach Alberto Giuliani congratulated the Thessaloniki team on winning the title after the cup final against PAOK, arguing that PAOK are having an excellent season.

Characteristically, the Italian technician emphasized:

“PAOK played very well during the game, we suffered a lot. I think the counterattack made the difference. PAOK was good at the rallies that were in the game. They played well. There is a team in form in every period .This is the moment of PAOK who is in great shape now.

Now we must come back. Let’s quickly finish the semi-finals of the championship with Milos and have time to prepare for the final.”

Source: sport 24

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