It’s been an emotional and intense evening at the Atlas Arena in Łódź as the volleyball ladies of Grot Budowlani Łódź made a big step towards the final of the 2016 / 17 Orlen Liga championship. The Łódź team defeated visitors Impel Wrocław by 3:1.
Finishing the regular season in 3rd spot of the Orlen Liga table, the volleyball team of Grot Budowlani Łódź faces Impel Wrocław in the semi-final play-off matches for the 2016/17 championship. Last night (04.04.), Budowlani played host to Impel for the first of the two-match round between the two teams.
This is not the first time the two teams have met in a crucial and decisive match this season. In early February, Budowlani met Impel in the Polish cup semi finals which, following a dramatic turn of events, Budowlani managed to win by 3:2 in tie-break, having come back from trailing the lower Silesian side by 0:2.
This time round, the intensity of the match was no different than the cup semi-final in Zielona Góra. The first set finished in favour of the guests as Impel took the first set point home by 18:25. The second set started off similar to the first as Impel gained a small advantage, leaving fans worried that the dream of the heading to the championship finals might already be over. However, Budowlani managed to find their way back into the game as at the end, the Łódź team secured the second set by 25:22, equalizing 1:1 on set points.
Following their comeback in the second set, players and fans alike seemed to have worked themselves into a frenzy. The atmosphere throughout the arena was already intense but it reached boiling point when Budowlani suddenly increased their pace, pulling away from the visitors by comfortably securing the third set with 25:20.
The fourth set would be crucial for Budowlani. Going into tie-break and having to play the return leg in Wrocław next week, would not have been the most favourable option, however, this scenario looked very likely as the set went on. The visitors gained an early advantage but Budowlani came back and both teams exchanged point for point, adding suspense and intensity to the already 1800 hyped fans at the Atlas Arena. However, when the hosts suddenly found themselves trailing Impel by 18:21 points, finishing the match in tie-break was going to be the very likely outcome.
However, despite trailing by 18:21, the team of trainer Błażej Krzyształowicz looked confident. After all, throughout the season, they have faced bigger disadvantages from which they managed to recover and turn things around. For example, trailing Muszyna by 18:24 in the second set and eventually winning the set by 24:26.
Though it is difficult to compare Muszyna with Impel Wrocław, the Budowlani ladies and their fans kept believing that the set was not yet lost and they were right. Coming back from 18:21, Budowlani once again increased their pace, starting a scoring series and eventually winning the fourth and decisive set by 25:22 as emotions of players and supporters were running high sending shockwaves throughout the arena.
Besides the 3:1 win in the first semi-final match between the two teams, another victory was celebrated by Budowlani’s Kaja Grobelna. The young Belgian (of Polish descent) talent netted her 11th MVP (most value player) trophy of the season, equalizing Rachel Rourke’s record, who won 11 MVP trophies in the 2012 / 13 season during her spell at Atom Trefl Sopot.
Next up, Budowlani Łódź will travel to Wrocław to take on Impel on Monday (10.04.) in the second and decisive match of the semi-final play-off series. The match at the Orbita Arena in Wrocław starts at 18:00 and will be broadcasted live on Polsat Sport.
Grot Budowlani Łódź – Impel Wrocław 3:1 (18:25, 25:22, 25:20, 25:22)
MVP: Kaja Grobelna
Venue: Atlas Arena, Łódź