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19/11/2019 14:00
BRØNDBY crowned NEVZA women’s champions, Polonia SideOut claim historic silver medal for England
News from the Zonal Associations

London, England, November 19, 2019. On Sunday, the final of the NEVZA Women’s Club Championships marked the end of one of the most exciting weekends for international Volleyball in Northern Europe. After three days of high-level Volleyball that featured teams from Norway, Denmark and England battling to secure a spot in the final, Polonia SideOut LONDON (the hosting club) and BRØNDBY Volleyball Klub (DEN) faced each other in a tight, five-set match for gold.

Polonia SideOut LONDON had already defeated the Danish club 3-1 (25-22, 25-14, 22-25, 25-13) in pool play on Friday, but the English team knew they would not have an easy final ahead. After losing the first set 23-25, Polonia SideOut came back by securing the second and third sets 25-15 and 25-12 respectively, thanks to a solid performance on service and defence. However, the game is never over until the last ball drops: with some great serving runs and some strong and confident attacking, the Danes took a lead over Polonia that caused the London team to lose the fourth set 18-25. In the tie-breaker 5th set, serve-receive was the key to determining the winning team: by keeping Polonia SideOut constantly out of system, BRØNDBY dominated the 5th and final set by 15-9, thereby becoming the NEVZA 2019 Women’s Club Champions.

It was a bittersweet loss for the English team that were ahead by 2 sets to 1 against the Danish opponent and were the only undefeated team until the final – but they still made history: they are, in fact, the first English women’s club team ever to reach a final or win a medal in international competition.

Sofia Bisgaard of BRØNDBY Volleyball Klub received the award for the Most Valuable Player of the NEVZA Club Championships in London

“The event was absolutely great'' says Duygu Yetkincan, Polonia SideOut London middle player and captain. “I have played many tournaments around Europe, indoor and beach, and I was so proud of our club for the supreme job we did to host this important competition. In a joint effort, our team sponsor SideOut and our club Polonia Ladies Volleyball Club managed to provide great venues, a professional setup and crew and an announcer and live streaming of the whole event – all of which created an extremely professional environment. I am also very proud of our players, which is a new team this season comprised of not only very talented players but intelligent and motivated individuals too! This tournament provided a great opportunity for us to bond and to set new limits. We became the first English women’s club team to win a silver medal at an international tournament and we are looking forward to taking this form into the Super League here in England. We are definitely going to be back next year, and hopefully go one step further!”

Notably, thousands of people from all over the UK and Europe watched the matches online, streamed on the Polonia Ladies Volleyball Club Facebook page – a great success and testament to the growth of Volleyball in their country.

All medallists from the NEVZA event held in London this past weekend

Frances Jamie Kosiorek, BRØNDBY’s outside hitter from the USA, added, “What a great championship match against a great opponent! We had lost to them earlier in the tournament so we had a little extra fire going into this match. We knew what we had to do on our side to succeed and were confident that we could serve more aggressively to keep Polonia SideOut London out of system. It was a great battle! We struggled but came through together as a team to grab an intense 5-set win!”

Mark Kontopoulos, head coach of Polonia SideOut London and co-founder of event management company SideOut was very proud of his team: “While losing the gold medal match is obviously very disappointing, we are extremely proud of what we have achieved. I think it is pretty safe to say that, before the tournament, nobody expected us to be fighting for a medal. We have come a long way since our previous two NEVZA experiences: 2011 in Holte (DEN) when we did not win a single match and 2017 in Randaberg (NOR) when we managed just two wins. However, despite the challenges we face here in London with facilities, resources and access to training (we only train twice per week!), our team played at an incredibly high level throughout the tournament and proved that it can compete with some of the best teams in Northern Europe! Finally, SideOut is also very proud to have helped bring this event to England and to have managed and delivered yet another international competition this year, after the CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup in May and IBB Polonia London’s CEV Champions League home match in October. On behalf of SideOut, I would like to thank my colleague Alex Chevau, ACS Egham International School, Egham Orbit Sports Centre, Volleyball England and of course all the staff and volunteers for their support in making this event possible. Once again, we have all proved to the world that London loves Volleyball!”

Final standing

1. BRØNDBY Volleyball Klub (DEN)
2. Polonia SideOut LONDON (ENG)
3. ToppVolley Norge (NOR)
4. Team KØGE (DEN)
5. Randaberg IL Volleyballklubb (NOR)
6. OSLO Volley (NOR)

Click here for further information.

Photos courtesy of Steve Smith

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