SPORTS

Silver girls of Panathinaikos

The women’s volleyball team of Panathinaikos took the silver medal in Europe’s Challenge Cup final-four yesterday after losing in the competition’s final in Italy. Panathinaikos defeated Spain’s Albacete 3-0 on Saturday in the semifinal of the continent’s third-tier club competition. The Greens won 25-15, 25-21, 25-20 to reach the club’s second European final after losing in the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 2000. Yesterday, the Greek champion had to face Monteschiavo Jesi, the hosts, just 19 hours after the end of its semifinal. The Italian side was stronger and better rested and won 3-0 (25-20-25-20, 25-13) to lift the cup. The men’s team of Panathinaikos will host the CEV Cup final-four in Athens next weekend (March 21-22). It clearly had its mind on the European competition as it surprisingly went down to Finikas Syrou 3-2 at home on Saturday. This means Olympiakos, in second, may close the gap from the top to just two points if it beats champion Iraklis in Thessaloniki this evening. Also tonight, third-placed EA Patras hosts Aris. In the other league games held over the weekend, bottom side Ethnikos downed visiting Milon 3-1 in Alexandroupolis, Kifissia dismissed Apollon Kalamarias by the same score at home and PAOK beat Lamia 3-2.