After several spectacular transfers, bad result in the World Championship and the final countdown – Polish fans once again feel the taste of the volleyball.
Ryan Millar, Matej Cernic, Georg Grozer … These are just some of the most famous of transfers this season. Recent months have been extremely hot due to a number of excellent volleyball players, who will join the Polish league. This Friday for the eleventh time, fight for the Polish championship will begin. Which teams have the best chances for gold, and why?
Traditionally, the favorite is Skra Belchatow. However, in last few years it’s getting more difficult to talk about only one candidate to final victory. This time, Skra did not make many changes in their squad. The most important was to recruit a new libero – a young Pawel Zatorski, who has already made his debut in the national team. Zatorski had great performances in the AZS Czestochowa. In addition, Pawel Woicki moved to Belchatow from Bydgoszcz. In last season Woicki lost his place in the Polish national team. Apart from a few “fresh” names, in Skra we will see the “old” players of the current Polish champion, such as Mariusz Wlazly, Michal Winiarski, Miquel Falasca, Stephane Antiga, etc.
Zaksa Kedzierzyn-Kozle is one of the most dangerous rivals of Skra. Club persuaded to return two Polish stars – Pawel Zagumny and Sebastian Swiderski. They will be the main hope for fans of the gold medal. A promising sign is also contracting Patryk Czarnowski (great middle blocker from Jastrzebski Wegiel) and Piotr Gacek (libero from Skra). Polish fans are curious to see the game of Tine Urnaut (from Slovenia) who came to Plus Liga from the Italian Copra Piacenza. There is no doubt that the young coach, Andrzej Stelmach has a good chance that in his short career he will be fighting for the Polish championship.
Besides Zaksa, the appetite for victory has again Resovia Rzeszow. Last season, they overcame Kedzierzyn-Kozle in the bronze medal matches, but it was not the summit of Ljubo Travica’s ambition. Team from the south will strengthen the real stars. Polish volleyball world is excited about joining the players such as Ryan Millar, Georg Grozer and Matej Cernic. After the departure of Rafael Redwitz, the governors of the club hired Michal Baranowicz – volleyball player, who has Italian and Polish citizenship. Baranowicz had never played in Poland. In Rzeszow stayed players such as Krzysztof Ignaczak, Aleh Akhrem, Wojciech Grzyb, etc.. For several years, Rzeszow team was fighting for gold, how it will be this time?
Fans of Jastrzebski Wegiel can be worried. Currently they are vice-champions of Poland- this means that they will play in the Champions League. However, the current team is not impressive. First of all, they changed the coach – it is not anymore Roberto Santilli. He was replaced by Igor Prielozny, who (in the past) achieved the biggest titles with this team. Russian, Pavel Abramov also left – last season he was a one of key players of Jastrzebie. What is interesting – Abramov and Santilli went to the same club – Iskra Odincovo. New players in the JV are: Marcin Wika, Mitja Gasparini and Lukas Divis. The team will certainly fight very strongly, but “on paper” are the other teams on the top of the race.
Other teams are not tipped for medals. AZS Czestochowa will show from a good side for sure- this team always manages to surprise. David Murek returned to the game (after a terrible injury from last year), Krzysztof Gierczynski came back to Czestochowa (from Resovia) – he has been Czestochowa’s player for many ears (including the role of a capitain). Czestochowa has a new first coach Marek Kardos (instead of Grzegorz Wagner). Mixture of youth and experience has always functioned perfectly in Czestochowa.
AZS Olsztyn may fight for 5th place in the schedule. In sparring meetings, team of Mariusz Sordyl look good, the fans are optimistic for the upcoming season. Samuel Tuia, Marcel Gromadowski, Wojciech Ferens – among other players, they are designed to provide a satisfactory level of matches in this year. A great libero, Marcin Mierzejewski (from Zaksa) also joined the team – Olsztyn wants to rebuild their power step by step.
Big stars, promising configurations, European Cups – all this make polish volley more and more exciting. Long marathon of matches starts on Friday, halls will be full of enthusiastic supporters, and the level of the game – we hope – will rise again.