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30/03/2021 17:23
Macedonian Cup finals ride wave of enthusiasm caused by EuroVolley qualifier
News from the National Federations

Skopje/Strumica, North Macedonia, March 30, 2021. After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the completion of the last season, right as domestic competitions were about to reach the most exciting stage, this time the best four men’s and women’s teams were able to contest the final tournament of the Macedonian Volleyball Cup. Gio Strumica and Janta Volley Kisela Voda were the eventual winners of the competition held at Park hall in the city of Strumica.

Although the current health situation imposed the absence of any fans, the three-day event with six matches was especially important to ride the wave of enthusiasm resulting from the EuroVolley qualifier held in January, where Team MKD secured their second straight appearance in the flagship continental event for national teams.

In the men’s final, Gio Strumica defeated the University of Tetovo 3-1 (18-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-16) to claim their fourth straight title in the competition – and their eighth in history. Vlado Milev, Marjan Urdov and Risto Nikolov all played a great match, so the contribution of Jovica Simovski and his teammates could not bring the first club title to the University of Tetovo. Milev crowned his performance with 19 points, opposite Urdov finished with 17, and the blocker Nikolov earned 15, including eight blocks. Jovica Simovski registered 25 for the Tetovo team, but that was not enough to avoid an eighth loss in the last nine matches against Gio Strumica. In the semi-finals played earlier, Gio Strumica defeated Vardar 3-0 and the University of Tetovo needed three sets only to rout Skendija too.

The players of Gio Strumica celebrate their triumph at the Macedonian Cup finals

The women’s matches were much closer and more dramatic. In the fifth cup final in the club’s history, Janta Volley Kisela Voda finally won their first title after defeating the team of Vardar zeni 2019 3-1 in the final (25-18, 25-23, 20-25, 26-24). The injured Sandra Georgievska and Teona Slavkova were not in the red and black jersey on the outside hitter positions, and that proved to be a big handicap because some of the players had changed roles. Ukrainian Valeriia Sobol scored 22 points for the two-time Macedonian champions, as Serafimova and Stojanovska finished with 13 apiece. The most efficient player for the Vardar zeni 2019 team was the Cuban Aidachi Aguero with 23 points, as Ljilja Kovacevic scored 10, and Marija Lazarova 9. A day earlier, in the semi-finals, Vardar zeni 2019 triumphed over Rabotnicki Skopje 3-0 (30-28, 25-21, 26-24), while Janta Volley Kisela Voda beat hosts Strumica zeni in four sets (23-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-14).

“We can really express our pleasure because for the first time we organised a men’s and women’s final four tournament in three days, and we decided on such a step due to the additional promotion of Macedonian Volleyball that this format would secure. I would like to thank the co-organisers, the volleyball clubs Gio Strumica and Strumica zeni, who made great efforts to host an event that we will be proud of as well as our long-term media partner, the Macedonian Radio and Television, which broadcasted all six matches live and made them available for the whole public. This was really a sports holiday in the Volleyball city of Strumica,” said the Secretary General of the Volleyball Federation of North Macedonia, Mr Zoran Karanovic.

The 28th Macedonian Volleyball Cup was a great preview for the upcoming league matches where fans can expect a real fight for the trophies. After the end of the club season, the whole focus will be on the senior men’s national team whose ambitions have grown and include achieve better results in the European Silver League and at CEV EuroVolley than ever before.

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