Seppe Rotty pushes favorite Roeselare against underdog Menen to the sixteenth cup: “We did what everyone expected of us”


Matthijs Verhanneman raises the cup: his ninth and already the sixteenth for Roeselare. — © Isosport

Roeselare / Menen

“I hope for fireworks from both sides,” was the wish of Stijn Dejonckheere (ex-libero of Menen and Roeselare) for Saturday’s cup final in the Antwerp Sportpaleis. There were sparks among the young Decospan, but they were quickly and, above all, expertly extinguished by Knack’s experienced brigade. Roeselare won its sixteenth cup.

“A huge cliché that remains true: you never get used to winning,” said Roeselare coach Steven Vanmedegael in front of the Sporza camera just before the final. “During training I saw the growing grinta among the players, even among the experienced men who already have several gold medals in their trophy cabinet.”

The cup final started promisingly, with a solid level from both teams, some long and exciting rallies and Menen following Knack to 8-9. Halfway through the first set, however, the scoreboard already showed 10-13 and Roeselare had left for an ultimately smooth 17-25. “Despite a good start, we quickly faced a gap,” said Jelle Sinnesael, assistant coach at Menen. “Just pay less attention for a few minutes against this Roeselare and you’ve got it. They barely made a mistake and we also received a number of solid blocks around the ears.”

However, the underdog did not give up. Menen even led for a while in set two (11-9 and 15-14), but seemed to have to fold at 20-22. Roeselare missed a set ball and Dukic cashed in Menen’s second. “We made slightly more mistakes than in the first set,” said Bram Van den hove (Roeselare). “Menen, on the other hand, was more consistent and put more pressure on us when it came to serving.”

Marin Dukic was one of the most important finishers at Menen. — © BELGIUM

Of course, Menen started the third set with enthusiasm, but that somewhat impulsive enthusiasm collided painfully with the stable control volleyball of the national champion and cup holder. Eliot De Vleeschhauwer and Marin Dukic, the most important finishers at Menen, dropped away and at 6-14 the third inning had already been played.

At 1-2 in the fourth set, the Menen opponent also dropped out with a muscle injury above the right knee. We did not see the Decospan from the second set again. Under the impetus of a solid arrival (and birthday) Mathieu Vanneste, the underdog scored four points in a row, but the scoreboard was already at 5-16. That last flare-up could not avoid a telling 12-25.

“Just pay less attention for a few minutes against this Roeselare and you’ll have it flagged”

Jelle Sinnesael

assistant coach Menen

Roeselare immediately won the sixteenth Belgian Cup. Seppe Rotty left his mark on the final with 18 points. The 22-year-old opposite was very important for Roeselare, especially in the last two sets. “We did what everyone expected of us, because we were the favorites,” Rotty said. “In the second set, Menen was able to shake us a bit and we started to have doubts, that’s true, but we managed to get the match back under control. We connect the dots. My performance? I am satisfied, but we fought as a team.”

Seppe Rotty scored 18 points. — © Isosport

It was Seppe Rotty’s second cup, captain Matthijs Verhanneman already has nine in his trophy cabinet. “Obviously this trophy doesn’t feel the same as my first one, but it’s still special. You never get used to winning a trophy in an atmosphere like this. It’s always a pleasure to play a match in front of 10,000 spectators. In the second set we had a set ball, but Menen fought hard and made it difficult for us by coming back to 1-1. We didn’t hesitate too much and were able to overcome that blow. Our confidence never really disappeared and afterwards we played at our level again. We’re going to enjoy this victory for a while, but not too much. After all, we play at home against Borgworm in the competition on Wednesday.”

Roeselare celebrating, a common image. — © Isosport

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