January 16, 2023
Four matches were played in Group A over the weekend. The Lithuanian clubs Granitas-Karys Kaunas and Dragūnas Klaipėda met the Latvian teams HC Ogre/HYDROX and ASK Zemessardze at home. The Lithuanian clubs have won all four matches.
The match between Granitas-Karys and ASK Zemessardze was the most intriguing. The Lithuanian vice-champions defeated their direct competitor in the fight for a play-off spot. Granitas-Karys moved up to 4th place and ASK Zemessardze dropped to 5th place. The top four teams in the group will advance to the play-offs.
Granitas-Karys Kaunas – ASK Zemessardze/LSPA 33:21 (19:13)
Granitas-Karys – Lazauskas 10, Štarolis 5, Jurkevičius 5.
ASK Zemessardze – Jonuška 5, Rancans 5.
Manvydas Lazauskas (Granitas-Karys, player):
We played a very good match. We followed the coach’s plan and scored our shots. It was a very important victory for us.
Toms Popens (ASK Zemessardze/LSPA, player):
Tough game for us both ways, all tried to keep pace, but that didn’t ended with easy goals. Congrats to opponents, they were better today and gave us lesson.
Granitas-Karys won another victory on Sunday. The Kaunas club beat the HC Ogre/HYDROX team.
Granitas-Karys Kaunas – HC Ogre/HYDROX 34:33 (18:16)
Granitas-Karys – Štarolis 10, Grigas 7, Jurkevičius 7.
Ogre/HYDROX – Patsykailik 9, Leja 7.
Modestas Štarolis (Granitas-Karys, player):
After an important game on Saturday, we were a little bit tired. We felt tired, but we gave all our strength to get the victory. We made mistakes, but we are happy to have won two points.
Andris Molotanovs (Ogre/HYDROX, coach):
It was a great game. The players fought well for the whole 60 minutes. A little bit of luck in the late game when we didn’t throw 3 quick attacks. I am satisfied with the performance of the team.
Ranking second in Group A, Dragūnas scored two wins over the weekend and took a big step towards the play-offs. Dragūnas with 10 points has caught up with the group leaders. However, the group leader HC Viljandi has played 2 games less than Dragūnas.
Dragūnas Klaipėda – Ogre/HYDROX 39:32 (16:21)
Dragūnas – Drakšas 10, Simonavičius 7, Lapiniauskas 7, Šmantauskas 7.
Ogre – Patsykailik 9, Leja 6, Haisa 5.
Gintaras Cibulskis (Dragūnas Klaipėda, coach):
I don’t know what caused such a poor first half – whether it was a long period without a game or other reasons. The defense was very bad, we conceded even 21 goals, when we scored only 16. During the break, I tried to inspire the players – after all, we are playing in front of our own spectators, we cannot show such a poor game. In the second half, we managed to defend, score, there were some easy goals, and then we ran away. Of course, there are many technical nuances. There are repeated mistakes that professional athletes should no longer make.
Andris Molotanovs (Ogre/HYDROX, coach):
The game was not easy. It was difficult for the players because we didn’t know how the game could end – we could lose and we could win. After the first half we were ahead by 5 goals and we felt stronger mentally, we thought we would win. That was one of the faults. Also, our physical power needs to be improved. Dragūnas was stronger, they made more attacks, fast breaks and they reached the victory.
Dragūnas – ASK Zemessardze/LSPA 32:27 (18:16)
Dragūnas – Šmantauskas 8, Lapiniauskas 7, Drakšas 7.
ASK – Rancans 9, Kelerts 6, Ozols 5.
Gintaras Cibulskis (Dragūnas, coach):
The weekend went well, we won four points, which is what we were aiming for. I congratulate the team for working and fighting. But today there was a lot of chaos, we will have to find out what are the reasons. It seemed that sometimes the team did not know what to do, there was no stability – there was one good moment and then we had three bad ones. Perhaps our youthful maximalism is getting in the way. We need to get rid of such roller coasters. We will continue the work.
Raitis Parinš (ASK Zemessardze/LSPA, goalkeeper):
A pretty tough weekend, two losses in Lithuania. We didn’t play really well, there were many mistakes and also we missed a lot of free goals in both games. The score could have been more even. But on both matches we fought until the end, you can see that on the scoreboard. We didn’t get any points, but we still have a few games left at home and we hope to get into playoffs. We would like to be there.