Posts by JoanaBG

    We still haven't got over that match. Yugoslavia was playing brilliantly all tournament long, crushing Italy in the group stage. Moreover, we had a relatively easy win over Cuba in the semis, while the Italians had a gruelling 5-setter against Brazil.

    Everyone thought we'd win the final easily, but then the exact opposite happened. It was a huge shock. People were screaming that the Italians must have been doped. Oh, the memories.

    At least we got our revenge two years later in Sydney.

    Fun fact

    Both Aleksandra Uzelac and Maja Ognjenovic are born in Zrenjanin. :)

    Also Jovana Brakočević and Brižitka Molnar. And of course, the best Serbian female athlete of all times, Ivana Španović. It's kinda crazy that such a relatively small town can produce so many champions. Also, the Grbić brothers are born in the vicinity.

    About this time, it seems like the MB position will be well covered in the future with Iva Šućurović also coming up with the goods.

    I'm not gonna lie, I teared up a bit. She's had SO MUCH bad luck over the years it's almost unreal and there's no one who deserves to celebrate another major success as much as she does.

    If everything goes well (and that's a BIG if and it's too soon to tell), Aleksandra Uzelac and Branka Tica will be our OH duo we haven't had since the days of Nikolić and Spasojević. Mihajlović-Malešević could have been it, but then Terzić turned Tijana into a 2nd libero which was a horrible mistake and I'll never forgive him.

    I have high hopes.

    Our best OH are Tica, and nobody really talk about her as prospect with is very funny. People can be really annoying with height thing but in reality Herbots is just 2cm taller. Ignored in u15 and u17 roster, but she founded her place with hard work, She is 18y and she literally cary team in senior level competitions. There is no other hitter who can attack from all 3 positions and jump serve. I really looking forward to watch her with decent setter and decent Opp.

    Branka Tica is by far our biggest prospect at the moment (Mihajlović is still too young to know for sure) and she absolutely must be invested in. If Santarelli doesn't call her up next year, I'm gonna riot.

    Santarelli says he's going to talk to Maja (and Silvija) about her participation at WCh, which further confirms that her comeback is far from a done deal.

    As mentioned, Tijana is already there, she started training a month ago.

    The team got a nice little welcome back reception by the Federation, which is extremely happy with the results.

    Here's Santarelli getting flowers from Jelena Nikolić, now an official in the Serbian volleyball federation. :flower:


    Just one more observation. Looking back, it's almost depressing to remember how our game was last year, with Tijana and the cheerleaders, and everyone looking fed up and going through the motions. Yeah, there were good results on paper, with two major medals, but it was probably the worst Serbia played since like 2009-10 (not counting the London disaster as those were special circumstances).

    It's a complete turnaround now. It was actually eye-pleasing to watch this team! And I mean, the TEAM. Jovana Mirosavljević was the guest commentator for the match against Turkey (boy, was she pissed at Tugba :rolll:) and you could hear in every word she said how happy and greatful she is to have been a part of this experience.

    Now the only thing that's left is for Tijana to fit in well, but I have no doubt she'll do her best and that Santarelli won't allow our game to become as dependent on her again.

    Finally, I agree with Bogdan that it seems like Maja won't be coming back. When they talked to Tijana after the match, she was asked how it's going to feel to play with Bojana again and it did sound like Drča would be the main setter from now on. Maja wasn't mentioned.

    And frankly, maybe it's for the best. If she can't be fully, unconditionally, 100% committed to the team anymore, she should be left be. She's paid her dues already, and then some.

    I was quite gloomly last year, but now I'm actually excited again! Don't let me down, LOL.

    And to think I was satisfied with wins over the likes of Bulgaria and Belgium!

    It's just so so so impressive how they kept growing as a team during the competition and the credit for that must go to Santarelli. I must say I was a bit afraid of how he'd fit in, but his enthusiasm is undeniable and the girls are responding really well to it.

    The main takeaway from all this is that EVERYONE (except Jakšić, LOL) used their chance well. Even players like Mirković and Milenković who looked like total lost causes had something to contribute. And looking at individual performances, so many players have literally skyrocketed their game. Everything's already been said about Lozo (someone please buy her off the contract in Romania ASAP), but what about Pušić looking like a world class libero, Drča leading the team with confidence she'd never shown before, Buša being the best version of herself despite not playing all season long...

    My only regret is that Jovana Kocić didn't get more chances at least against weaker teams, but keeping Aleksić and Stevanović on court turned them into a monster MB duo by the end, so it was a worthy strategy.

    Tijana was on TV after the match and she says she's well rested, fresh and extremely eager to join the team again. She's really looking forward to WCh. Bring it on! :box:

    Perhaps a controversial opinion, but maybe it's time to say goodbye to Maja. She's basically spent her entire career with Terzić, and at this point of her life, maybe she doesn't feel like adjusting to something new, and it's completely understandable.

    On the other hand, Bojana is really thriving, this is by far the best she's been on NT.

    Serbia is without its entire "golden" lineup, except for Mihajlović who had a joker role (which she did impressively well, so good to see her back!) and still they manage to be competitive and even beat the USA. That's really amazing.

    Honestly, I don't think this would happen if Terzić has stayed. Brining in Santarelli gave the team a whole new energy and the girls are thriving. Aleksić and Lozo are now finally fullfilling their potential they showed years ago.

    Now, if only we could find a half decent setter after Drča retires, the future would be bright.

    Maja might not play at WCh :(

    If she does indeed skip it, it's only fair she definitely retires from the NT. Showing up just for the Olympics is not going to work. And it's not fair to the rest of the team.

    It would have to be ride or die with Drča until Paris, but it is what it is.

    I’m conflicted on who our starting outsides should be for finals week? Lozo and Buša for the most offense? Lozo and Bojana to stable out reception ? Katarina I don’t think Is physical enough to be effective against the USA.

    I'd definitely try to stick it out with Lazović and Lozo because I think that's the duo with the most potential for a future starting line-up, and Buša to come in if needed.

    Mirosavljević should certainly be given a chance too, I really think she's a prospect, but she needs time and experience, the difference in level between Serbian league and the VNL is enormous, of course she's not ready yet, but I think she can get there.

    I really don't see much space for Milenković in the long run, sadly.

    But really the most important thing is to see the girls enjoying themselves so much and Santarelli brimming with enthusiasm. It seems like they've really clicked. So far, so good,

    We're probably not going to beat the USA, but that's not really important, I just want to see a good fight and the team moving on in the right direction.

    she’s been Serbias overall best player this VNL. In my opinion

    I agree with this. A lot of these wins wouldn't have been possible without her. She's been very stable as well, probably more than everyone else.

    Jakšić is by far the biggest disappointment, last year she looked like she could MAYBE take over after Maja, now she's playing like she's never touched a ball in her life.

    I'm still bitter Tica wasn't even invited after a phenomenal season in the Serbian league at the age of 18. What were they thinking selecting Mijatović over her? That was an absurd choice.

    Terzić did a lot of amazing things for Serbian women's volleyball, but sadly meritocracy will not be a part of his legacy and it needs to change ASAP.

    Great analisyis, Bogdan!

    I'm more than satisfied with how this tournament panned out for Serbia. To be completely, honest, I didn't think they'd reach the F8 with this squad, but they made it and completely deserved it. They beat everyone they were supposed to beat, Thailand was maybe a bit of an iffy loss, but they compensated it with wins over Turkey and Japan. And when they lost, they put up a good fight, except in that horrible match against Brazil.

    Mirković wasn't totally tragic, which is a bit of a surprise :lol: She had a lot of WTF moments of course, but also some really good plays. I'd still take Živković over her any day, but in any case, the setter position will be a long term problem and we really need to try out as many players as possible.

    Bjelica showed she can be reliable against 2nd tier teams, like always, but we'll need someone to take some load off Tijana against the big guns as well. Zelenović ain't it and we have to keep looking. I'm still hoping Sara Carić will manage to be healthy some day.

    OHs did well. Lozo was probably the most reliable one and the biggest surprise. She can definitely be a late bloomer, but I'm more than pissed that she's going to Lugoj. She really needs to play in a stronger league. Lazović didn't really repeat the magic of last year, but this time it was different because she was supposed to one of the leaders and more was expected of her. She still had some good moments, she saved our ass against Canada in the end of that match, for example.

    Buša was a nice surprise after not playing for almost a year, in some moments she almost looked like the best version of herself. Milenković contributed as well. Mirosavljević took her chances well whenever she was given some court time as well.

    The problem is that all of them are incosistent and none are really world beaters, but it's good to have some depth there finally. And hopefully over time things will become more clear.

    Aleksić-Stevanović absolutely rocks as the MB duo! Rašić-Veljković can never be repeated but this is as close as we can realistically expect. Jovana Kocić should have played more, though, and that's the only thing I can complain about Santarelli.

    Teodora Pušić will never be Brenda Castillo, but she did her job.

    The player selection was questionnable is some cases, but that's more of a Serbian federation's fault. Branka TIca and Minja Osmajić should have absolutely been there instead of Mijatović and Delić,

    And perhaps the most importantly, the transition from the Terzić era seems to be going very smoothly, the team chemistry seems amazing and the girls really thrive under Santarelli, and he seems to be enjoying himself too. Hopefully it stays the same when Maja and Tijana return.

    Yeah, it's definitely worth investing in Lazović and Lozo as the starting OH duo. I'm still praying that Brankica SOMEHOW recovers some of her previous form and adds a bit more firepower. She could be a joker card, at least. I hope Santarelli called her up for a reason and not just her name.

    Aleksić is great and should be a lock in the starting line-up. Stevanović has for some reason never played all that well on NT after 2015. I actually thought she had a better connection with Bojana than Maja, but it didn't work so well in Ankara now. Kocić should be given a chance too.

    Agree that Zelenović ain't it. Yeah she's tall, but that's it. I'd MUCH rather see Branka Tica there, but alas. Too bad that Sara Carić seems to be injured 90% of the time.

    If we manage to get Lazović and Lozo as a reliable starting OH duo, this VNL will be a success regardless of the outcome.

    And even more so if Mirosavljević shows she can be counted on.

    Jelena Blagojević on the events during the semi against LKS:

    "I'm still shocked, I can't believe what was happening. This victory felt bitter, we won and reached the final, but we didn't celebrate much. We know that it was the football fans who did it, but it's no justification. I even used to like them before, because they wear red and white shirts, which reminds me of Red Star, but now... It's better I don't say what I think about them. People have gone crazy!

    The whole thing with Malwina started at the end of February when she said she wasn't going to leave Russia because she didn't feel threatened. Many people haven't forgiven her for that. A month later she changed her mind, left Russia and came to our club, but everybody remembers her initial statement.

    Everybody makes mistakes, everybody has a right to have their own opinion and everybody should bear responsibility for their actions, but to me it's absolutely unacceptable to insult her in that way. At the end of the day, they didn't spare the rest of us either. They insulted me, they told me Serbia is supporting Russia, but they're not aware that I was personally involved in gathering aid for helping the Ukrainian refugees. They also insulted the American Bajema - apparently she's on Russia's side too! - they also insulted the other girls. And not just fans, the people from their club were doing it as well, which was especially shocking!

    I hope this madness will end and things will settle down, so we can just focus on volleyball and the final series ahead of us."