Bulgarian Sami-M Superliga 2015-2016

  • I didn't really plan to. It is frustrating to have no information about the league till the very last moment. The clubs didn't even know where they are supposed to travel literally days before the league was supposed to start. I also don't have that much free time to update scores and stuff like I previously used to but now that we have many male leagues in Europe, I guess it makes sense to write something about the Bulgarian one as well. Besides, I am still being asked about predictions and current status of teams, so let's try and update what I could find time for, concerning those who bet and those who might be interested in a less popular championship.


    Here are the 10 participants. A Supercup game was in construction during the summer, it never materialized.

    Marek Union-Ivkoni
    (Dupnitsa)
    Dobrudzha 07 (Dobrich)
    CSKA (Sofia)
    Levski Ball (Sofia)
    Neftochimik 2010 (Burgas)
    Arda (Kardzhali)
    Minyor (Pernik)
    Montana (Montana)
    Pirin (Razlog)
    Teteven Volley (Teteven)


    The same list of participants with a newcomer. Coco Volley Club from Gabrovo disappeared due to financial problems, their place was taken by one the most adequate, financially secured and well-balanced projects in Bulgaria - Teteven Volley. They had no real problems winning the second division last season and absolutely earned their right to be among the best for the first time in their history. Just for your information, they are also among modern clubs with a social orientation, including social media, and Volleycountry has been their media partner for several months now.

  • BULGARIAN SUPERLEAGUE
    2015-2016


    TEAM ROSTERS


    ------------
    Marek Union-Ivkoni Dupnitsa


    Head coach: Nayden Naydenov
    ------------
    Setters: Vladimir Lobutov, Nikolay Manchev, Yordan Peev, Svetoslav Stankov
    Opposites: Mihael Mandzhukov, Dimitar Dulchev
    Attackers: Georgi Elchinov, Angel Velkov, Stanislav Velichkov, Mihail Tsvetanov, Tsvetelin Tsvetanov
    Middle blockers: Ventsislav Trifonov, Martin Ivanov, Borislav Apostolov, Pavel Dushkov
    Liberos: Martin Bozhilov, Kiril Kotev


    ------------
    CSKA Sofia


    Head coach: Alexander Popov
    ------------
    Setters: Georgi Seganov, Vladimir Stankov
    Opposites: Radoslav Parapunov
    Attackers: Ivaylo Stefanov, Veselin Iliev (universal), Yani Georgiev, Plamen Shekerdzhiev, Kristiyan Iliev, Boyko Bonev
    Middle-blockers: Andrey Nikolov, Hristo Tsvetanov, Todor Kostov, Zhivko Ivanov
    Liberos: Anton Vasiliev, Mihail Valchovski


    ------------
    Pirin Razlog


    Head coach: Ivan Durev
    ------------
    Setters: Nikolay Kichukov, Vladimir Panev
    Opposites: Yordan Zhelyazkov, Ventsislav Georgiev
    Attackers: Blagovest Katrandzhiev, Iliyan Bozhkov, Boyan Ivanov, Viktor Kopanarov, Nikolay Hadzhiev
    Middle blockers: Kostadin Gadzhanov, Georgi Chalakov, Martin Krastev, Danail Popov, Georgi Lezenov
    Liberos: Petar Karakashev, Dafin Kotsakov


    ------------
    Neftochimik 2010 Burgas


    Head coach: Petar Dochev
    ------------
    Setters: Ivan Stanev, Neno Toskov, Tedy Dremsizov
    Opposites: Georgi Petrov, Petar Hristov
    Attackers: Martin Penev, Yavor Genov, Stoyan Zlatev, Georgi Gerginov, Kostadin Nikolov (universal)
    Middle blockers: Stoyan Samunev, Nikolay Kartev, Ivaylo Velikov
    Liberos: Andrey Nikolov, Iliyan Tomov


    ------------
    Levski Ball Sofia


    Head coach: Hristo Iliev
    ------------
    Setters: Pavel Ivanov
    Opposites: Ivan Krachev, Ivan Damyanov
    Attackers: Milan Milanov, Martin Pavlov, Nikolay Dimitrov
    Middle blockers: Strahil Svilenski, Martin Mihaylov
    Liberos: Martin Pamukov, Hristo Kolev


    ------------
    Montana


    Head coach: Petar Shopov
    ------------
    Setters: Lyubomir Agontsev, Stefan Stoyanov
    Opposites: Mincho Minchev
    Attackers: Simeon Aleksandrov, Kostadin Stoykov (universal), Zlatko Kyossev, Trifon Lapkov, Leon Tonchev
    Middle blockers: Martin Paliyski, Ivan Latunov, Boris Nakov
    Liberos: Dobromir Ivanov, Ivaylo Lalov, Georgi Georgiev


    ------------
    Arda Kardzhali


    Head coach: Ivan Halachev
    ------------
    Setters: Delcho Raev, Raycho Raev, Evgeni Grigorov
    Opposites: Spas Bayrev, Tihomir Georgiev
    Attackers: Neven Neshev (universal), Kiril Hadzhiev, Kristiyan Penchev, Valentin Dimov, Simeon Topuzliev
    Middle-blockers: Mladen Kavaldzhiev, Petar Bachvarov, Vasil Atanasov
    Liberos: Nikolay Kolev, Teodor Marinov


    ------------
    Dobrudzha 07 Dobrich


    Head coach: Miroslav Zhivkov
    ------------
    Setters: Hristo Enkov, Georgi Manchev, Martin Georgiev
    Opposites: Zhulien Georgiev, Velizar Chernokozhev
    Attackers: Mihail Stoev, Dimitar Marinkov, Martin Atanasov
    Middle blockers: Denis Chavdarov, Svetoslav Arnaudov, Alexander Grozdanov
    Liberos: Nikolay Todorov, Hristo Hristov


    ------------
    Minyor Pernik


    Head coach: Miroslav Iliev
    ------------
    Setters: Dimitar Stamenov, Viktor Kostadinov, Stiliyan Asenov
    Opposites: Lyuboslav Simeonov, Alexander Petrov, Denislav Dimitrov
    Attackers: Stefan Ivanov, Stefan Chavdarov, Martin Simeonov, Vladislav Bojikov
    Middle blockers: Zahari Nikolaev, Adrian Anachkov, Martin Yovchev
    Liberos: Metodi Metodiev, Antonio Ivanov


    ------------
    Teteven Volley


    Head coach: Petar Mechkarov
    ------------
    Setters: Radoslav Dimitrov, Denimir Dimitrov
    Opposites: Emiliyan Mirchev, Iliyan Ivanov
    Attackers: Martin Mechkarov, Kamen Kamenov, Konstantin Kostov, Georgi Mihalev, Dragan Stankov
    Middle blockers: Gordan Lyutskanov, Alexander Kordev, Ivan Tasev, Nikolay Raykov, Miloslav Dimov
    Libero: Martin Ivanov

  • #1


    Levski Ball - Arda 0-3 (18-25, 19-25, 20-25)
    Pirin - Minyor 3-0 (25-20, 25-14, 25-23) stats
    Neftochimik 2010 - Montana 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 25-23) stats
    CSKA - Teteven Volley 3-0 (25-14, 25-19, 25-20) stats
    Marek Union-Ivkoni - Dobrudzha 07 3-0 (25-17, 25-24, 25-15)


    #2


    Minyor - Marek Union-Ivkoni 0-3 (21-25, 12-25, 15-25)
    Teteven Volley - Arda 3-1 (25-20, 25-23, 9-25, 25-23)
    Dobrudzha 07 - Levski Ball 3-0 (25-14, 25-16, 25-20)
    Montana - Pirin 3-1 (26-24, 21-25, 25-20, 25-15) stats
    CSKA - Neftochimik 2010 1-3 (17-25, 23-25, 30-28, 16-25) stats


    #3


    Pirin - CSKA 3-0 (25-21, 32-30, 25-22) stats
    Arda - Dobrudzha 07 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 25-14, 25-20) stats
    Neftochimik 2010 - Teteven Volley 3-1 (25-13, 25-22, 23-25, 25-16) stats
    Levski Ball - Minyor 1-3 (25-27, 25-18, 18-25, 20-25)
    Marek Union-Ivkoni - Montana 1-3 (20-25, 20-25, 25-22, 19-25) stats

  • #4


    Neftochimik 2010 - Pirin 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 26-24) stats
    CSKA - Marek Union-Ivkoni 3-2 (22-25, 25-21, 18-25, 25-21, 15-10) stats
    Minyor - Arda 0-3 (24-26, 21-25, 23-25)
    Montana - Levski Ball 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-15) stats
    Teteven Volley - Dobrudzha 07 2-3 (25-21, 17-25, 15-25, 25-22, 12-15)


    #5


    Pirin - Teteven Volley 1-3 (22-25, 17-25, 25-18, 20-25) stats
    Arda - Montana 3-2 (19-25, 25-18, 19-25, 27-25, 15-9)
    Dobrudzha 07 - Minyor 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-14)
    Marek Union-Ivkoni - Neftochimik 2010 2-3 (21-25, 30-28, 25-17, 24-26, 12-15) stats
    Levski Ball - CSKA 0-3 (16-25, 15-25, 13-25) stats


    #6


    Neftochimik 2010 - Levski Ball 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-15) stats
    CSKA - Arda 3-1 (25-19, 25-17, 19-25, 25-19) stats
    Montana - Dobrudzha 07 2-3 (25-17, 25-19, 24-26, 23-25, 21-23) stats
    Teteven Volley - Minyor 3-1 (23-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-20)
    Pirin - Marek Union-Ivkoni 3-1 (25-18, 21-25, 25-15, 25-18 ) stats


    Standings


    1 - Neftochimik 2010 (6-0) 17
    2 - Arda (4-2) 11
    3 - CSKA (4-2) 11
    4 - Montana (3-3) 11
    5 - Dobrudzha 07 (4-2) 10
    6 - Teteven Volley (3-3) 10
    7 - Pirin (3-3) 9
    8 - Marek Union-Ivkoni (2-4) 8
    9 - Minyor (1-5) 3
    10- Levski Ball (0-6) 0

  • And a few words from me about the championship. The level hasn't really changed much in comparison to the last campaign. Some players changed teams and thus reshuffled the status quo making the league more balanced. Marek are also slightly weaker than last year, started the season quite poorly and are now even struggling, which makes this first half of the season relatively entertaining. After several years of changing locations and travelling across south-western Bulgaria, they finally have a new sports hall in Dupnitsa, but it hasn't really helped them much so far. 4 home games, including the Champions League encounter versus Belogorie, and Marek ended up with only a single win. And it was a bit easier than expected - in the first round against Dobrudzha.


    Dobrudzha and Montana are two very balanced teams. Dobrudzha, with the powerful Velizar Chernokozhev, finally woke up after a slow start. Montana, with the NT setter Agonstev, the experienced Kostadin Stoykov, and Simeon Aleksandrov, are so-so and should be aiming for more.


    The pleasant surprise comes from Burgas. Neftochimik are the team to beat and are enjoying a great run of 6 consecutive wins. This weekend they travel to Kardzhali to visit Arda, a team that has an impressive tradition of playing strongly at home, in a match between the table leaders. A win should guarantee Neftochimik's pole position until January.

  • #7


    Arda - Neftochimik 2010 3-2 (18-25, 22-25, 25-18, 25-18, 15-13)
    Minyor - Montana 1-3 (25-23, 20-25, 12-25, 17-25)
    Dobrudzha 07 - CSKA 3-1 (21-25, 25-17, 25-16, 25-16) stats
    Levski Ball - Pirin 0-3 (23-25, 24-26, 17-25)
    Marek Union-Ivkoni - Teteven Volley 3-1 (25-20, 25-18, 25-27, 25-19)


    Standings


    1 - Neftochimik 2010 (6-1) 18
    2 - Arda (5-2) 13
    3 - Dobrudzha 07 (5-2) 13
    4 - Montana (4-3) 14
    5 - Pirin (4-3) 12
    6 - CSKA (4-3) 11
    7 - Marek Union-Ivkoni (3-4) 11
    8 - Teteven Volley (3-4) 10
    9 - Minyor (1-6) 3
    10- Levski Ball (0-7) 0

  • #8


    Marek Union-Ivkoni - Levski Ball 3-0 (25-19, 25-12, 25-21) stats
    Pirin - Arda 3-1 (21-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-17) stats
    CSKA - Minyor 3-1 (25-19, 20-25, 25-18, 25-20) stats
    Teteven Volley - Montana 0-3 (14-25, 17-25, 16-25)
    Neftochimik 2010 - Dobrudzha 07 1-3 (25-18, 22-25, 26-28, 15-25) stats


    Standings


    1 - Neftochimik 2010 (6-2) 18
    2 - Dobrudzha 07 (6-2) 16
    3 - Montana (5-3) 17
    4 - Pirin (5-3) 15
    5 - CSKA (5-3) 14
    6 - Arda (5-3) 13
    7 - Marek Union-Ivkoni (4-4) 14
    8 - Teteven Volley (3-5) 10
    9 - Minyor (1-7) 3
    10- Levski Ball (0-8 ) 0

  • #9


    Montana - CSKA 3-1 (25-19, 21-25, 25-17, 25-21) stats
    Levski Ball - Teteven Volley 0-3 (17-25, 15-25, 19-25)
    Minyor - Neftochimik 2010 0-3 (17-25, 22-25, 27-29)
    Dobrudzha 07 - Pirin 2-3 (18-25, 25-14, 25-27, 25-22, 5-15)
    Arda - Marek Union-Ivkoni 2-3 (25-19, 15-25, 22-25, 26-24, 9-15)


    Standings


    1 - Neftochimik 2010 (7-2) 21
    2 - Montana (6-3) 20
    3 - Pirin (6-3) 17
    4 - Dobrudzha 07 (6-3) 17
    5 - Marek Union-Ivkoni (5-4) 16
    6 - Arda (5-4) 14
    7 - CSKA (5-4) 14
    8 - Teteven Volley (4-5) 13
    9 - Minyor (1-8 ) 3
    10- Levski Ball (0-9) 0

  • #10


    Teteven Volley - CSKA 3-2 (23-25, 18-25, 30-28, 25-23, 15-12)
    Arda - Levski Ball 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-18 )
    Minyor - Pirin 0-3 (17-25, 22-25, 14-25)
    Dobrudzha 07 - Marek Union-Ivkoni 3-0 (25-13, 25-16, 25-18 ) stats


    Standings


    1 - Neftochimik 2010 (7-2) 21
    2 - Pirin (7-3) 20
    3 - Dobrudzha 07 (7-3) 20
    4 - Montana (6-3) 20
    5 - Arda (6-4) 17
    6 - Marek Union-Ivkoni (5-5) 16
    7 - CSKA (5-5) 15
    8 - Teteven Volley (5-5) 15
    9 - Minyor (1-9) 3
    10- Levski Ball (0-10) 0


    The match in Montana between the hosts and Neftochimik 2010 has been postponed for January 23.

  • The championship will be renewed this week on Friday. January 12 was the deadline for registering new players. We only know about two clubs which were active on the market. The defending champions Marek Union-Ivkoni signed with Krasimir Stefanov (former NT member, opposite, free agent). Champion of Italy with Stoychev's Trentino, Stefanov last played for the now insolvent Coco Volley Club Gabrovo last season, hasn't been an active player for almost a year now. Marek have problems with opposites after Valchev left for Iran at the beginning of the season, Mihael Mandzhukov still can't compete due to problems with his attacking shoulder, and Dulchev is way too young and inexperienced. Stefanov, a true opposite, to be technically correct, played as a receiver in the last years of his career, so Naydenov could use him there as well in case he needs to.


    The other team that was widely discussed in Bulgaria this winter was Levski Ball. Although legally they should've never been allowed to play in the first league, Levski, the former club of president Lazarov, not without the president's help, according to popular opinion, compete in the top flight for some years now. However, Levski fans, the one who used to support the old Levski, still cannot recognize this new club as a successor of the old one. Thus, they don't even attend their games. Moreover, Vladimir Nikolov, the current owner, obviously affected by the last place, the lack of experienced players, money and fan support, has decided to do whatever he can (and get assistance from anywhere possible) to save the club and help them to stay in the top division. In the winter they recruited Andrey Zhekov (recovering from an injury), Boyan Yordanov (Tomis Constanta, also recovering from an injury), Ivaylo Lalov (OH/libero, Montana), and the Puerto Rican NT member Steven Morales (MB/OPP). Rumours link Metodi Ananiev (OH, Tomis Constanta) and Ventsislav Ragin (MB, Tomis) to Levski, no official confirmation yet. The situation, as you all know, in Tomis isn't great, so I won't be surprised if it turns out to be true. This means that Levski will be quite competitive and will have chances to fight for a playoff spot at first and then eventually for the title. Right now they are at the bottom of the table without any points and wins, 15 points away from the playoff positions, so they will really have a mountain to climb.


    One round from the second part of the regular season took place in December, which means that Arda, the team that had already played and beaten Levski twice, is the only team to not be affected by this transfer window.

  • #11


    Arda - Teteven Volley 3-2 (21-25, 25-21, 29-31, 25-11, 17-15)
    Neftochimik 2010 - CSKA 3-0 (25-22, 25-14, 25-19) stats
    Marek Union-Ivkoni - Minyor 3-1 (25-13, 21-25, 25-11, 25-15) stats
    Pirin - Montana 3-1 (20-25, 25-23, 25-17, 32-30) stats
    Levski Ball - Dobrudzha 07 3-1 (17-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-20)


    Standings


    1 - Neftochimik 2010 (8-2) 24
    2 - Pirin (8-3) 23
    3 - Dobrudzha 07 (7-4) 20
    4 - Arda (7-4) 19
    5 - Montana (6-4) 20
    6 - Marek Union-Ivkoni (6-5) 19
    7 - Teteven Volley (5-6) 16
    8 - CSKA (5-6) 15
    9 - Minyor (1-10) 3
    10- Levski Ball (1-10) 3

  • It doesn't look well for a championship in which a team (Levski Ball) can gather their new players, some of whom out of shape, practice 2-3 times together, and then beat one of the top teams in the standings. This team will undoubtedly bring some fresh air in the league, but they shouldn't score wins so easily. The general level is obviously not strong enough to prevent that from happening, though. Plamen Konstantinov had the same opinion.


    There are now complaints regarding the 2016 schedule. Teams were forced to practice early into 2016 due to the 11th round this past weekend. However, there is now a two-week gap... Which surely makes some of the teams' work relatively useless. Neftochimik 2010, the leader, are put to the test now as they have three visits in a row. This is due to the rescheduled game in Montana from the 10th round. But the distance they will have to cover in the next ten days when there is barely anyone else playing is ridiculous (about 2500 km, a serous number for Bulgarian standards).

  • #12


    CSKA - Pirin 1-3 (21-25, 25-17, 24-26, 22-25) stats
    Minyor - Levski Ball 1-3 (25-21, 20-25, 17-25, 17-25)
    Dobrudzha 07 - Arda 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-19) stats
    Teteven Volley - Neftochimik 2010 0-3 (21-25, 19-25, 11-25)
    Montana - Marek Union-Ivkoni 3-1 (23-25, 25-23, 27-25, 25-19) stats


    Standings


    1 - Neftochimik 2010 (9-3) 27
    2 - Pirin (9-3) 26
    3 - Montana (8-4) 26
    4 - Dobrudzha 07 (8-4) 23
    5 - Arda (7-5) 19
    6 - Marek Union-Ivkoni (6-6) 19
    7 - Teteven Volley (5-7) 16
    8 - CSKA (5-7) 15
    9 - Levski Ball (2-10) 6
    10-Minyor (1-11) 3

  • #13


    Pirin - Neftochimik 2010 1-3 (22-25, 25-23, 18-25, 20-25) stats
    Arda - Minyor 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-13)
    Marek Union-Ivkoni - CSKA 3-1 (22-25, 25-22, 25-20, 28-26) stats
    Levski Ball - Montana 2-3 (25-19, 19-25, 25-19, 19-25, 16-18 ) stats
    Dobrudzha 07 - Teteven Volley 3-0 (25-15, 25-16, 25-17) stats


    Standings


    1 - Neftochimik 2010 (10-3) 30
    2 - Montana (9-4) 28
    3 - Dobrudzha 07 (9-4) 26
    4 - Pirin (9-4) 26
    5 - Arda (8-5) 22
    6 - Marek Union-Ivkoni (7-6) 22
    7 - Teteven Volley (5-8 ) 16
    8 - CSKA (5-8 ) 15
    9 - Levski Ball (2-11) 7
    10-Minyor (1-12) 3

  • Neftochimik 2010 and Montana with important wins in this round.

    Neftochimik grabbed all three points, a bit surprisingly, in a sports hall where it is very difficult to take anything. Fans usually contribute to Pirin's home factor and there is no need to say they get outrageous when a visiting team performs better. This win helps Neftochimik keep their first position at the moment, whereas it shut down Pirin's aspirations for the top and ended their 7-game winning streak.

    Montana were a bit lucky to catch Levski napping in the tie-break. Boyan Yordanov & Co. were leading by 3 points at 14-11 when they sent some consecutive balls out to give away an additional point for the standings to Montana.

  • Curious if Marek win again Gold Medals?


    If I good remember last season They ended regular round out of 1st place but won overall.


    They are 6th now.

    Yes, last year they finished the regular season on third position. The difference is that last year, despite some problems in the league, they had a slightly better line-up. Also, this season they have been struggling with injuries and have often played without a reliable opposite, hence the problems in the domestic league. They have probably had only 2 decent games throughout the whole season so far, this is why I am not very optimistic about their title chances. The league is balanced but it is not very strong, so the straight answer would be yes, with a few good matches in the playoffs, Marek could defend their title.

  • #14


    Neftochimik 2010 - Marek Union-Ivkoni 1-3 (29-31, 25-20, 24-26, 18-25) stats
    Montana - Arda 3-2 (25-13, 20-25, 16-25, 25-19, 15-8 ) stats
    Minyor - Dobrudzha 07 0-3 (19-25, 22-25, 18-25) stats
    Teteven Volley - Pirin 2-3 (23-25, 25-21, 25-23, 23-25, 9-15) stats
    CSKA - Levski Ball 3-1 (25-20, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22) stats


    Standings


    1 - Neftochimik 2010 (10-4) 30
    2 - Montana (10-4) 30
    3 - Dobrudzha 07 (10-4) 29
    4 - Pirin (10-4) 28
    5 - Marek Union-Ivkoni (8-6) 25
    6 - Arda (8-6) 23
    7 - CSKA (6-8 ) 18
    8 - Teteven Volley (5-9) 17
    9 - Levski Ball (2-12) 7
    10-Minyor (1-13) 3