It’s a wait of almost half a century that came to an end on Wednesday evening. Forty-seven years that Montpellier has been waiting for this. The club hung an eighth French champion star on its list, with style, by dominating Tours for the second time in a row, with a final score this time (3-0, 25-17, 25-21, 30 -28), at the end of the play-offs that Olivier Lecat’s men finished undefeated. They succeed Cannes on the list, while the Touraine counter remains stuck at eight titles (the last in 2019).
The TVB, which had crushed the regular season of Ligue A (22 wins-2 losses), lost the three finals it played (Coupe against Chaumont, CEV against Monza and therefore Championship). The last will not suffer from the slightest dispute, between a team galvanized by the appointment it had made at home with its history, and a Touraine formation which had not much left in the tank at the end of a marathon season concluded without a trophy.
Even the surge of pride in the third act left little room for doubt. Powerless during the first two almost one-sided rounds, Marcelo Fronckowiak’s team had found the hair of the beast and raced in the lead for a good part of the third set. But the TVB remained suspended in front of the return of Montpellier carried by a dominant block (9 points to 2 in favor of the Héraultais), a flawless reception and especially its Cuban passer Javier Gonzalez, designated MVP of the match.
Gonzalez as a leader
It took a succession of miraculous points (several saves from Kevin Tillie at the reception, an improbable block from Nascimento, a fortunate challenge on a ball grazed by the little finger by Nicolas Le Goff, then three match points saved) to dream of an improbable heist that never came.
Gonzalez and others were carried by a force, a superior collective. The 39-year-old Cuban, already crowned with Chaumont in 2017, delivered a perfect copy, determining the service in the moments that turned the meeting with this break dug by his people in the second set, this comeback in the third.
But also perfectly shifting his teammates, like central Olympic champion Nicolas Le Goff (13 points at 10/12 in attack), as well as Nicolas Lazo (15 points, 12/21) and Ezequiel Palacios (13 points, 11 /18), precise in reception and who feasted on the offerings of their setter.
After a final net fault by Tillie at 29-28, Palacios sent a hot service and Le Goff concluded the deal with an authoritarian block. The Chaban-Delmas sports hall could explode.
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