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Stuttgart’s volleyball player Marie Schölzel: attack on one leg – sport

Marie Schölzel couldn’t sleep as well on Wednesday evening as after almost every game. “The adrenaline, the excitement,” says Schölzel. The 25-year-old volleyball player had previously played a not-so-exciting game with her Allianz MTV Stuttgart club – opponent SC Potsdam had no chance in the third playoff final of the best-of-five series. The women from Stuttgart won 3:0 (25:18, 25:16, 25:14) in front of 2251 spectators in their sold-out arena, which amounts to a dismantling. After just 69 minutes, Potsdam was redeemed.

And Schölzel, the 142-time national player? She was one of the keys again. The native of Berlin contributed twelve points, including two aces and one block, to the most recent victory. On Saturday, Stuttgart can become German champions in the fourth game in Potsdam for the third time after 2019 and 2022 – in the event of a defeat, there will be a decisive game on Monday. “We mustn’t let up at all,” says Schölzel, who knows about Potsdam’s strength at home.

In any case, Schölzel was the second-best scorer in her team on Wednesday, behind the US diagonal player Krystal Rivers, who is as powerful as she is powerful in hitting and jumping, and to whom a lot is tailored. But in addition to captain Maria Segura, outside attacker Simone Lee and blocker Eline Timmerman, the 1.90 meter long Berliner makes a big contribution to the fact that the Stuttgart game is no longer so dependent on Rivers. And that despite the fact that Schölzel’s position does not exude great brilliance.

Middle blockers aren’t necessarily the queens of volleyball, more the tall workers who have to jump a lot and block and anticipate as a sort of first line of defense. And because in contrast to diagonal players like Rivers, outside attackers like Lee or setters there are more of them on the market, they are also worse off in the payroll. Usually only Liberas are paid less. But Schölzel always loved this position. She was promoted there with the talents of the VC Olympia Berlin, then in Schwerin under coach Felix Koslowski at the age of 19 German champion and at 20 again. The fact that Koslowski was also the national coach also helped her in the national team – she made her debut there at the age of 17.

Volleyball: Second best scorer in Stuttgart: Marie Schölzel convinced in the third final game.

Second best scorer in Stuttgart: Marie Schölzel convinced in the third final game.

(Photo: Hansjürgen Britsch/Pressefoto Baumann/Imago)

Schölzel has perfected her greatest strength over the years: the one-legged ball, an extremely demanding technique that is only available to women and which she herself calls “my favorite ball”. It is an attack in which she does not jump off with both legs, as is usual in volleyball, but only with one leg in front of the setter. In addition, Schölzel hits and lands in their back – and thus throws the opposing block out of the concept. “There are not many one-leg specialists,” says Stuttgart’s sporting director Kim Renkema, “that’s quite a weapon. And Marie is at a very high level in Europe.”

Speaking of Europe: In the 2021/22 season, Schölzel dared to move from Schwerin to Bergamo, Serie A, Italy, to the promised land of volleyball. But she didn’t feel completely at home, she was against relegation, “and in the not-so-good teams, not everything is as great as you would imagine.” Don’t misunderstand her, “Italy was very nice to live in”, but she was also happy to be able to move to Stuttgart last summer. To a club that failed at the end of March with Schölzel in the Champions League quarter-finals at Novara – a top club from Italy.

Schölzel is perhaps even more depressed by her coach’s cancer than others

Since then, Schölzel has experienced a season that is no less mentally strenuous in Stuttgart. Stuttgart lost the important games, after the Supercup bankruptcy against Potsdam also the cup semi-final against the eventual winner Schwerin. Above all, Schölzel came into a team whose coach Tore Aleksandersen is terminally ill with cancer. He can’t follow the playoffs on the sidelines. “I knew before I came here that Tore was ill. Of course it’s depressing that it’s gotten so serious,” she recently told the SWR. Schölzel may take all of this with him even more than others: Because on Thursday, one day after the 3-0 win against Potsdam, her Brazilian teammate from Bergamo, Ana Paula Borgo, died of cancer at the age of 29. “I’m grateful for every day I got to spend with you,” Schölzel wrote on Instagram.

Your own journey continues after the final, to the national team, where the Nations League, European Championships and the difficult Olympic qualification are due in the summer. And then probably abroad again, also because Schölzel didn’t accept Stuttgart’s contract offer in the winter to wait for other options. “I was later informed that my place is now taken. I was surprised that there hadn’t been any discussion before.” In retrospect, one can perhaps say that the timing on both sides was not entirely congruent.

It should be different on the field on Saturday in Potsdam, Schölzel is sure of that. Because with the one-legged friend, the right timing is everything.

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