Czech volleyball cup – final: Liberec – Karlovy Vary, February 27, 2023, Kutná Hora.
Kutná Hora – Dukla Liberec volleyball players won the Czech Cup for the thirteenth time. In the final in Kutná Hora, they beat Karlovy Vary 3-0 in sets, which did not convert five set balls in the match. The champion team from the west of Bohemia did not succeed in the final of the Czech Cup even on the fifth attempt. He also lost to Liberec in 2021.
Karlovy Vary smoothly defeated defending champion České Budějovice in the semi-finals, but the all-rounder Kewin Sasak in particular looked in vain for the semi-final offensive form today. He only scored two points in the first set. Because of this, the North Bohemians erased the loss from the beginning of the set and went to the end with a favorable score of 20:18. Karlovy Vary equalized at 22:22, but after a block on Martti Juhkami, Liberec scored two set points. He converted the second one for free, because Karlovy Vary's smasher Jakub Ihnát spoiled the serve at 23:24.
In the balanced second set, Karlovy Vary reached for victory at 24:21, but did not use a single set point. When served by Lukáš Demar, Dukla scored five points in a row, with two blocks at the end to make it 26:24.
Even in the third set, Jiří Novák's men entered the final in a more advantageous position. They led 21:18, and even though the fighting Liberec caught up again, they gradually worked out two set points. But then there were service failures and especially two missed attacks by Juhkami, the second of which meant a 28:26 win for Liberec and the end of the match.
The best player of the match was declared Liberec's all-rounder Lukáš Gavenda, who scored 17 points. Dias Nivaldo and Demar, who had 15 and 13 points, ably seconded him in the attack. On the other hand, Sasak collected 16 points, which was nine points less than in the semi-finals. None of his teammates got over ten points.
The difference in offensive efficiency was abysmal. Dukla attacked with a success rate of 52 percent, Karlovy Vary had a thirty-nine percent success rate. The coach of the winners of the Czech Cup, Martin Demar, praised how his team managed to learn from the performance of České Budějovice in the semi-finals. “We analyzed Budějovic's game well and told ourselves that we had to do everything the other way around. We succeeded. We defended Sasak. The boys defended well at the net and in the field today,” he told Czech Television.
Český the cup is the last trophy missing from Karlovy Vary's collection. The current coach Novák will no longer see her on the bench of this elite Czech club, as he will leave after the season to devote himself fully to the men's national team.
Czech Volleyball Cup – final in Kutná Hora:
Liberec – Karlovy Vary 3:0 (23, 24, 26)
Most points: Gavenda 17, Nivaldo 15, L. Demar 13 – Sasak 16, Juhkami 9, Ihnát 8.