Part one: PlusLiga is coming! What can we expect?
Now when the international season is over, the new excitement is heading our way. National leagues begin a very long journey and for a lot of teams the goal is the same – gold star. In Poland we have some significant changes this year…
First of all, the crew of PlusLiga has been enriched with two new teams. Thanks to decisions of the Polish league authorities, now twelve clubs have a chance to play for the championship. These new are Cerrad Czarni Radom and BBTS Bielsko-Biala. The head coach of Radom is a former opposite – Robert Prygiel, who claims to be satisfied with preperations and development of his young team. I can tell we are making progress – he said – with every game my players feel better phisically and they get to know each other.
BBTS Bielsko-Biala had a hard time getting into PlusLiga and some decisions could not be made till the last moment. Now when they managed to achive their goal, it will be the job number one to stay in this fine company. The head coach of BBTS is Janusz Bulkowski.
Let’s keep in mind that the Polish champion is currently Asseco Resovia Rzeszow. After gaining this title for the second time in a row, Andrzej Kowal is very interested in keeping the status quo. It can produce, however, more and more pressure on his team. We are aware of the responsibility we bear and we will do our best to live up to the expectations of fans, sponsors and the club authorities – said Wojciech Grzyb, Asseco’s middle blocker. Rzeszow will try to stay on the top with help of the young ones that came to this club. Fabian Drzyzga (setter), Dawid Konarski (opposite) and Nikolay Penchev (receiver) – these are a new hopes of Resovia, along with Peter Veres who was also contracted this summer.
Zaksa Kedzierzyn-Kozle, the silver medalist of the last season, has sufferd two losses – Felipe Fonteles (without the doubt the best player of the previous season) and Daniel Castellani left Poland and joined Fenerbahce Stambul of Turkey. Fans got very upset over this fact and now the potential of their team is not exactly known. Zaksa hired four new names: Dick Kooy, Dan Lewis, Grzegorz Bociek and Wojciech Ferens. Also Sebastian Swiderski got his big chance – he was announced a new head coach and practically for the first time in his career he will be fully responsible for the team with quite high demands. Zaksa will definetely fight for medals and try to at least repeat the achievment from the last championships and get to the finals.
Jastrzebski Wegiel, as always, has changed a lot. Among the others, Matteo Martino and Russell Holmes got a new employer. A new players of Jastrzebie are all foreigners. The names such as Nicolas Maréchal and Michal Masny (who has been playing in Poland since 2007) will face a difficult task, which is winning the gold medal in PlusLiga. With Michal Lasko as the leader and Lorenzo Bernardi being the head coach since 2010, Jastrzebie dreams about wearing the crown once again (last time they were Polish champions in 2004).
Delecta Bydgoszcz did a great performance in last time. They occupied the first place in ranking after the regular season, but play off zone was not so lucky anymore. Delecta ended up on the 4th position. Now the new name of the club is Transfer Bydgoszcz and as a matter of fact, the change of the name is not the only adjustment. The team is completely different after the departure of Stephane Antiga, Michal Masny, Dawid Konarski or even the head coach – Piotr Makowski (who is now working with the women’s national team of Poland) Transfer is expeted to have a hard time repeating their previous result with young players such as Jan Nowakowski or Milosz Zniszczol, who will be supported by Bartosz Janeczek, Maikel Salas Moreno and others.
On the other hand there is PGE Skra Belchatow. After a very poor season they did what they could to regroup and get stronger. There was an interesting development regarding the head coach. Jacek Nawrocki left the club and in his place came Miguel Falasca – former setter of Skra, who is going to have quite a big opening of this new path in his career. Falasca was followed by two Argentinian names: Facundo Conte and Nicolas Uriarte. Moreover, Stephane Antiga is also back in Belchatow after spending two years in Bydgoszcz. Skra does not have anymore Alexandar Atanasijevic, Wytze Kooistra or Michal Winiarski, but even then they managed to build quite an impressive crew which seems to be ready to face the strongest opponents in PlusLiga.
Part 2 coming soon…