Iraklis reaps rewards of Olympiakos win

Olympiakos won the volleyball derby against Panathinaikos on January 16, but it is Iraklis that is reaping the benefits at the halfway point of the regular season, as the result has extended the Thessaloniki club?s lead at the top of the table.

The Reds won 3-2 at Glyfada, coming back from 2-1 down, despite the numerous problems that had them as rank outsiders at the start of the match.

Playing in front of some 1,000 Panathinaikos supporters, who were well behaved for the most part, Olympiakos won the first set 25-21 thanks to its excellent reception and the nervousness of the home side.

Panathinaikos, who had Brazilian outside hitter Marcelo Sacchi in their lineup for the first time, bounced back to land the next two 25-23, 25-23, and looked as if it might win the game when it also took the lead in the fourth set.

However, Dimitris Tzourits led Olympiakos?s comeback and earned himself the week?s Most Valuable Player title. The Reds won the fourth 26-24 and the tiebreak 15-11 for their second victory over Panathinaikos this season, after also winning the Super Cup on Santorini last fall.

The result has allowed Iraklis to open a four-point gap at the top of the table, as the Thessaloniki side had beaten Ethnikos Alexandroupolis 3-0 away (26-24, 25-19, 25-20) on January 15.

PAOK was the only home team to win, but only just, as it defeated Kifissia 3-2 (25-18, 22-25, 25-27, 25-23, 15-13).

Lamia continued its winning streak with a 3-1 triumph at Aris; EA Patras overcame struggling Epikouros 3-0 away while Apollon Kalamarias boosted its chances of survival with its 3-1 victory at Panellinios.