Slovenian women’s national volleyball team prepares for this year’s big competitions

The Slovenian women’s national volleyball team gathered last week in Kranjska Gora and began preparations for the 2023 EuroVolley and the Olympic Qualifiers for Paris 2024. 

The Slovenian girls started their preparations at one of their permanent bases in the Gorenjska region and will move to Maribor at the beginning of July to build up their form until the first preparatory matches against Greece. Italian volleyball expert Marco Bonitta, who was named head coach at the beginning of last season, is very satisfied with the work done so far and especially with the motivation of the girls which is at an exceptionally high level: 

“The first days of the preparation period were very important for us. We wanted to establish the same atmosphere that we had at the end of last season, in which the team played an excellent qualification for the European Championships. In practices, we are working hard on both, physical preparation and on setting up the systems of play. We would like to link the different game situations as soon as possible. I am very happy with what my players are showing on practices so far.”

“The national team has practically not changed since last year, so we are more or less the same. One week of practices is now behind us and we have another month and a half to go before the EuroVolley, where our main goal will be to make it to the first round of the knockout phase. We have started to prepare gradually, building up our fitness and strength, and we are also working on our basic technique, which is always welcome. I am confident that we will show what we are capable of at the right time and in the right place”, said Slovenian player Sara Najdic. 

The youngest player in the Slovenia’s roster, 17-year-old Mija Šiftar, added: 

“We got a lot more time to rest than last year and we have arrived to Kranjska Gora with a lot of energy and motivation to work hard. Even though the first part of the preparation period is always difficult, we are practicing at a very high level. We are focusing on each technical element individually, we are working gradually, and our goal is to improve our shape from week to week. We all have the same goals and we know for what we are working for.“

In Kranjska Gora, where the national team will stay until the end of the week, Marco Bonitta gathered all 17 players from his list, with Masa Pucelj being the last to join the team past Monday. One of the best Slovenian players, the opposite Iza Mlakar, who returned to volleyball in the middle of the season is also back in the Slovenian jersey.

Team Slovenia: Zana Ivana Haluzan Sagadin, Sara Najdic, Eva Pogacar, Mirta Velikonja Grbac, Nika Milošic, Sasa Planinsec, Naja Boisa, Zala Krasovec, Nika Markovic, Iza Mlakar, Selena Leban, Lorena Lorber Fijok, Mija Siftar, Eva Zatkovic, Masa Pucelj, Katja Banko, Anja Mazej. Head coach: Marco Bonitta