Zadar, Croatia. Age-group national Volleyball competitions resumed this past weekend in Croatia and more specifically in the city of Zadar where HAOK Mladost and OK Ribola Kaštela (pictured) claimed the women’s and men’s junior national titles, respectively.
The championship featured as many as 23 women’s and nine men’s teams, with matches played across a number of venues – notably halls Višnjik 1, Višnjik 2 and Mocire. HAOK Mladost defeated HAOK Rijeka CO in the women’s final 3-0 (25-20, 25-8, 25-12), thus crowning a perfect campaign as they dropped two sets only throughout the entire tournament.
“Since the end of last season, we do not have any training in the conditions to which everyone is accustomed, and league matches could not take place either apart from a few exceptions only. Because of all the challenges we faced in this ‘new normal’ during last and the current season, winning the title of junior national champions means even more to us!” said the assistant coach of HAOK Mladost Marijeta Horvatic.
The MVP of the championship is Andrea Mihaljevi? from HAOK Mladost. “Given the overall situation regarding the coronavirus crisis and the fact that we could not train continuously, we are satisfied, as we played great. The whole team was great and I am obviously satisfied with the individual award.”
OK Ribola Kaštela edged HAOK Mladost 3-1 (29-27, 21-25, 25-23, 25-21) in the men’s final. Kaštela delivered an impressive performance at the championship, and the only set they lost in the competition was the one they conceded to Mladost in the final.
“I am overjoyed that the boys won the championship and I think it is deserved because we have been preparing for this competition all year long. This is the result of the hard work of our club. We never had a more dominant run to the finals, and in the final we struggled a little more out of respect for the opponent, but in the end everything fell into place!” said the coach of OK Ribola Kaštela Ivan Andromak after the final game.
“We are glad that we won the championship in these difficult conditions. There have been so many cancellations of sporting events but I am glad the junior championship could still take place as planned. I am also glad that after several years of domination by HAOK Mladost, we took the title. I was the best setter, but that credit for this victory goes to the whole team,” said Ivan Baric from OK Ribola Kaštela after the match, while his teammate Duje Cvijovic claimed the MVP honours. “We took the title after many years. My award for the best player without such a team would not be possible!’”
OK Split and OK Medicinar Trnje completed the top three positions in the women’s and men’s competition, respectively.
The tournament was held under strict epidemiological measures for all participants in a bid to prevent any spread of the novel coronavirus.