Stijn D’Hulst confidently travels to Modena with Roeselare for the first leg of the CEV Cup final: “Once again surpass ourselves”

Volleyball CEV Cup – Final (going) Modena – Knack Roeselare

Stijn D’Hulst and co. had little trouble on Sunday evening to win 0-3 at Haasrode Leuven. — © Bart Vandenbroucke

All told, Roeselare needed an hour and nine minutes on Sunday evening to put Haasrode Leuven aside with a dry 0-3. After a restful night at the Van der Valk Airport Hotel, Knack flew to Bologna on Monday afternoon, eventually arriving in Modena. Trainer-coach Steven Vanmedegael has more than two days to prepare his troops on site for one of the undoubtedly most important challenges of the season: the first leg in the final of the CEV Cup.

Ivan D’Hoop

“It was a bit of a search until 9-5 in the first set and it took us until 18-18 before we came alongside, but once we had the match under control, we never got into trouble again”, said Stijn D’Hulst about the smooth victory on Sunday evening in the Leuven Sportoase. “We reached a decent level and that was more than enough against a Haasrode Leuven, which certainly did not play its best match of the season. We didn’t have to waste a lot of energy and that’s a bonus with a view to the final on Wednesday.”

“An even bigger stroke of luck was the return of Märt Tammearu after an ankle injury that kept him out for more than a month,” continued D’Hulst. “With our Estonian again, we are definitely stronger, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Märt still lacks match rhythm, but before his injury he was doing great and that top form will probably not have completely disappeared. With an almost completely fit core, we have been able to train better in recent days and coach Steven Vanmedegael has more substitution options when things are not going well.”

Reunion with Bruno Rezende

With Modena, Roeselare – after Civitanova in the Champions League group and Piacenza in the semi-finals of the CEV Cup – will meet an Italian top player on the European stage for the third time this season. “On paper even the best Italian topper, because Modena is in third place in the Italian league”, D’Hulst knew. “They have a few world stars in their core with the French reception corner player Earvin N’Gapeth and the Brazilian playmaker Bruno Rezende, but I also think Modena as a team is much more driven than, for example, Piacenza. As a leader and driver in the team, Rezende plays a major role in this. It will be a pleasant reunion with him, because we worked together very well at Civitanova for two seasons. We even keep in touch on a regular basis. Outdoing ourselves once again will be the assignment on Wednesday anyway to enforce a feasible starting position for next week’s home game.

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