Berlin - Generali Haching needed a win Saturday night in the Volleyball Bundesliga Playoffs to keep their goals of a league title alive. The #2 seed lost a shocker at home earlier in the week to #3 SCC Berlin and a win would bring the best of three-series back home. But their dreams were swept away 3-0 (18-25, 22-25, 13-25) by Berlin.
Denis Kaliberda, Robert Hupka and Leo dos Santos were in the starting lineup but Haching played behind from the start. Down 8-4 at the first technical timeout, Haching tried to stay close with a run of good serves by Tomas Kmet but it was not enough. The mistakes from the last match were repeated in the first set and it wasn't close.
In the second set Mihai Paduretu made a change, bringing in Roko Sikiric and taking out dos Santos who was ineffective. SCC Berlin led 8-3 at the technical timeout, but in the crucial phase they lost their concentration and allowed Haching to close the gap to 22-21. But Berlin fed off the energy of the 3,750 fans at hand to win the set and take a commanding 2-0 lead.
The final set the game was even despite a Berlin 14-11 lead. SCC applied more pressure, played better and finished the job, won going away 25-13. In the end, Haching could not overcome their mistakes.
"We played bad tonight," said a disappointed Haching head coach Mihai Paduretu. "Our bodies failed us, we were missing the physical and mental energy at the end of a long season."
It was a season that held many expectations for Haching, who did win the German Cup against their rivals VfB Friedrichshafen. But a chance to exorcise their league failures against VfB - a team that has ended Haching's season five consecutive times before this season - will have to wait another year. Meanwhile, Berlin will have their chance to dethrone the SIX-time defending league champs.
Simone Sperduto contributed to this report.