March 18, 2023
The play-offs have started in the Baltic Handball League. There are two matches in the quarter-final round. Each pair will face off against each other at home and away, with the winners of both pairs advancing to the final four based on the aggregate score of the two matches.
In the quarter-finals met two Estonian clubs. SK Tapa/N.R. Energy hosted BHL champion Viljandi HC.
Viljandi HC started the match well and took a 4-0 lead. In the 12th minute, Viljandi HC gained a 8-goal lead, 12:4. The result changed in the second time. SK Tapa/N.R. Energy won the period 5-0 and tied the score 20:20 in the 44th minute. There was real drama at the end of the match. The score was tied 26:26 with 2 minutes to go. But SK Tapa/N.R. Energy scored two goals and won 28:26.
SK Tapa/N.R. Energy – Viljandi HC 28:26 (10:16)
SK Tapa/N.R. Energy – Lees 6, Ageni 5, Oolup 4, Morgenson 4.
Viljandi HC – Ott Varik 6, Pertelson 6, Koks 6, Mikk Varik 3.
Elmu Koppelmann (coach, SK Tapa/N.R. Energy):
First half was negatyve. It was not very nice to watch. Second half was already something else – as they say, a real rollercoaster started. Towards the end of the game, there were certain leaders who led the game – Kaspar Lees, who kept the flow of the game going and Mikola Naum, who played a good game in the goal. Also toward the end Endrik Jaanis had a good game. I feel that the first 30 minutes I couldn’t coach the game but the second half I was already able to do so. In the end, I’m happy and emotions are positive.
Marko Koks (coach, Viljandi HC):
Our winning streak from 2021 December is ending. Very different two halftimes. We started very well both in offence and defence also. In the locker room we talked about that Tapa fight till the end but unfortunately this happened in second time. We made many bad shots and defensively we played soft and Tapa game back to the game. End was already the lottery. After all there will be a second game and it’s in our home.
Kaspar Lees (player, SK Tapa/N.R. Energy):
It was a crazy game with highs and lows. The start of the game was very difficult for us. Although we were ready for the game we were still under a lot of pressure so we started to have some trouble in the attack and Viljandi came on strongly and broke us in the first half. We agreed at halftime that we were going to start fighting and come back point by point. Our defence was more aggressive and Kolka, our goalkeeper, helped us as well and we scored goals thanks to fast breaks. This was a very important victory for us. Firstly, because we were able to get back in the game with our emotional side. Secondly, because we are going to be able to play for the final four place next week. It will be a tough battle.
Kristo Voika (player, Viljandi HC):
We started the game really well today. First half we were focused and everything was going as planned. In the second half we didn’t play as a team anymore. We made a lot of easy mistakes and Tapa got there confidence. Minus 2 is not the worst but it’s also not ideal. We try to be better at home in a week.