Sun. Jul 12th, 2020

IBB Polonia out of Europe

IBB Polonia lost to Draisma Dynamo Apeldoorn 14:25 20:25 20:25 (CEV Volleyball Cup)

Appeldoorn win in London

The first set score was the same as in the away leg a week before but Polonia raised their game for the next two sets without, unfortunately, turning greater success into a set won. London is proud to have such a progressive team in its midst. In addition to the standard of its play mention should be made of several things.

One is the feature included in the BBC London 6.30 p.m. news on Friday evening. Filmed while training at Crystal Palace earlier in the day, it included brief interviews with Bartek Luszcz, Chris Hykiel and player Philip Smith with continuous action on court behind them. Huge numbers will have seen our sport in an excellent light.

Another was a presentation to an opposing player. It was good to see Sue Storey, Volleyball England’s CEO, in attendance for the match and presenting Sean Cooke with his trophy from last season when playing for IBB Polonia even though he now plays for the opposition.

No doubt a result of atrocious weather conditions, one incident showed volleyball officials in a good light. Gabriel Dan was recruited on the day from the crowd to act as a line judge when the appointed official was very late arriving. Gabriel even had his referee kit in his car so was able to cover in a professional manner.

One outcome: the team avoided a trip to Siberia for the next round.

From the side lines

End of the European adventure IBB Polonia London: the champions of England, as they wave goodbye to the CEV Cup

Once again the next big event in London’s volleyball experience is consigned to history. On Thursday 19th December, 2019 IBB Polonia London played the first ever match in the CEV Cup for a British team. The National Sports Centre at Crystal Palace witnessed the arrival of numerous fans of volleyball, and they relished the opportunity to watch the match between the English and Dutch champions. Unfortunately, it was the visitors who, as they did three years ago, emerged the victors and eliminated the British club from Europe.

The first leg of the tie in Apeldoorn, ended 3:0 (25:14; 25:17; 25:20) and the Londoners knew they had to achieve something remarkable to stand a chance of progressing. Draisma Dynamo came to London with one aim: to make it through to the next round. Their dream came true and they won the tie convincingly 0:3 (14:25; 20:25; 20:25).

“We deserve something more. We can’t forget that we play against a fully professional team. In England we don’t have opponents on this level to play and practise with; we could see this difference today. Two sets were 20:25 and I think that if we were more focussed, we would have a chance to beat them. To compete on this level we have to practise on this level daily. Today we played better than in Netherlands, but we lost first set and then the second set, we knew that it is the end of our journey in this competition.” said Head Coach of IBB Polonia London, Evangelos Koutouleas.

“We definitely didn’t expect a result like this. We thought we had the ability to put up a better fight, but as usual, we take some positives away with us. We knew how the opponents would play, but we were not able to stay at that level for long enough. We played them a few years ago, and it is hard to say which of the two squads of theirs was the stronger. Draisma played very well today, and showed their collective passion. We congratulate them for their win and wish them well in the next round,” said IBB Polonia London, Captain Bartosz Kisielewicz.

“The second game is always more difficult, because you need to qualify and you are afraid of losing the game and playing a golden set. It was a pleasure to play in London. The environment here is nice, so I am very happy with the experience here and all of my stay in London. Next round we play in Russia, so we have to compete with one of the strongest team in the world, so we know our level and we are aware of the challenge we have to aim. If you are realistic, we have no chance to beat them, but we have to believe in our dreams and go for it.” Said Head Coach of Draisma Dynamo Apeldoorn, Redbad Strikwerda.

Despite the result, the fans enjoyed themselves. The pre-Christmas period resulted in fewer fans than normal: about 300 witnessed the game, but that was sufficient to make a great atmosphere. The volleyball fans warmly welcomed back one of their favourite players from last season: Seain Cook.

“It is nice to play against your friends like ex-teammates. There is a lot competitiveness and good fun, and always noisy supporters. Before coming here we didn’t expect this result, but I think we won because the league in the Netherlands is better. We have more teams on the same level. Right now the whole team is really excited to play with the Russian team, because we know they are a very good team,” said Seain Cook, ex-player of IBB Polonia London and player of Draisma Dynamo Apeldoorn.

Despite the lack of success in European competitions this season, IBB Polonia London is rightfully proud of other achievements. The existing Champion of England, thanks to its reputation and hard work, attracted a BBC reporting unit to the final training session before the CEV Cup match against Apeldoorn. The segment about the club and the imminent game was broadcast at peak viewing time on BBC1.

These events concluded the first half of the 2019/2020 season. Koutouleas’ players now have time to rest and recover over the festive period. Matches resume in mid-January; the details of when and where will appear on the official media pages.

Results of 1/16 CEV Cup:
Draisma Dynamo Apeldoorn – IBB Polonia London 3:0 (25:14; 25:17; 25:20)
IBB Polonia London – Draisma Dynamo Apeldoorn 0:3 (14:25; 20:25; 20:25)

Katarzyna Strag