I think they're prepping Blagojević to become the NT coach in the next 5 years or so and I'm fine with it.
I agree with all of that. But you are forgetting about money going exclusively into the pockets of people at the top of OSSRB. Doubt even 5% of that is going to go toward improving our volleyball (facilities, stipends etc.)
I completely agree that's exactly how it's going to go down, because sadly that's how things are done here. Still, I don't think raising Santarelli's salary is a logn term solution because at the end of the day, there will always be someone willing to pay him more than what we can afford. So, if he's so easily lured by a few % increase (I seriously doubt we were paying him pocket money), it's best to cut your losses and let him move on. Better now than right ahead of the Olympics or something.
And then make Turkey pay in all the ways possible.
I bet OSSRB weren't willing to raise his salary a single cent to try to keep him, but you can bet they will try to squeeze TVF for all they think they can get away with, all of which will line the pockets of individuals in the organization. So fucking typical. Welcome to Serbia, a banana republic.
I'm not trying to be contrarian here or anything, but I actually don't see anything wrong with that picture. He has a VALID CONTRACT. It he wants to break it in order to chase money, let him. It means he'd never be reliable and there'd always be a danger of him running off as soon as someone offers a dollar more. Disappointing, but that's life.
Meanwhile, if they really want him, use the opportunity to milk those suckers dry. As much you can. And then break off every future cooperation again with them forever.
But you can't say Ivana Španović didn't deserve to be awarded as the sportswoman of the year, especially after all the incredible and inexplicable bad luck she's had over the last few years, and overcoming all that to beat Mihambo at her home turf and become the European champion. It was really inspiring stuff, and I'd say it's at least on par with the volleyball girls becoming the world champions.
I think it's fair all things considered. The volleyball team gets the female team of year award (duh) and Tijana gets this award which is also completely deserved in a year like our team sports had. And hell, it could have easily gone to Nikola Jokić or whoever.
Thank God this is over, I certainly don't remember a worse medal match at a major tournament. This was literally painful to watch.
If someone is watching women's volleyball for the first time now, they surely won't be tuning in again.
No, it had nothing to with that. She played ECh '07 carrying an injury and after Serbia won the silver and qualified for the World Cup just over a month later, she wanted to skip the tournament and rest up. Terzić disagreed with it but she decided to pull out anyway. It didn't sit well with him at all and she was never called up again. Shortly before the Beijing Olympics she held a press conference basically saying she wouldn't be playing on the NT again as long as he was the coach - not in those words, but that was the point.
It was quite a scandal. She was crazy popular and people got wild and didn't get off Terzić's back for years. I think many even cheered against the NT out of sheer spite.
He never commented publicly on that. Rumour had it that he was willing to invite her back at some point (2011, I think), but she declined. There was also a rumour that she and Jelena Nikolić couldn't stand each other and Terzić had to pick one of them.
God, that was so annoying. She was long retired from volleyball and had been a non-factor for years, and people were still crying about her absence.
But it's undeniable that she has insane charisma and was basically the face of the team that put women's volleyball on the map in Serbia. Such a shame her career turned out the way it did. And also a shame that we haven't had a similar magnetic personality type of player since. Veljković certainly has the looks, but she was never interested in media exposure.
Another crazy fact: WCH '06 was the last time Spasojević and Đerisilo played together.
Stefana almost ended her career in 2011 due to cardiac issues, so it's good she managed to boost her medal tally as much. I still miss her so much
Two crazy things:
- Bjelica having twice as many medals as Brakočević
- Đerisilo only having ONE medal. She was the best player of the team that broke through on the international stage in 2005/6! That shoulder injury really ruined everything for her.
The funny thing is, I feel Spasojević and Đerisilo are still more popular than most players currently on the team.
Germany - Dominicana
Poland - Canada
Carol - Buijs
All matches at the same time, i want to know who gave them this idea, and why TV companies allowed that.
The scheduling at this tournament has been absolutely horrendous, bordering on self-sabotage. You have days with only two matches scheduled, then you have everything being played at the same time. And they always seem to make the most interesting matches overlap. Beyong annoying.
Slavic languages are all quite similar in many aspects, so if you're a native speaker of one and you're exposed to another over a longer period, you can pick up a lot. I've learned to understand Russian exclusively through music, for example.
It's obvious she never learned the language formally as it sounds like a strange mixture of Serbian and Croatian, but she's quite fluent indeed.
As for Anja Spasojević, she's a true gem! She absolutely needs to work in the media! I'm sure she'd help put women's volleyball on the map in Serbia even more.
She gave this interview before the start of the second phase, so she summarized Serbian performance in the preliminary pool and she's very impressed with how composed they are and how well they're playing. However, she also warned that the USA played extremely badly in that match and that it's not a realistic account of their abilities, so if we get to play again, we can expect a totally different American team. Still, she's confident we can beat them no matter what if we play our game.
Then she talked about the opponents in the second stage:
Poland - if you let them play their game, you're screwed, so you have to impose yourself right from the start. They are a good team and they have the crowd behind them, but objectively speaking Serbia is better and should win the match in straight sets. But it's important to get into the game right from the start.
Dominican Republic - they're like Serbia a long time ago. A quality team that lacks consistency. They have great attackers and Brenda Castillo is an amazing libero ("I actually remember her! She played in my time! I don't know how the hell she manages to keep going, but she does it and she does it so well!") and they can play on an extremely high level for a while, but they can't keep it up. Sooner or later they're going to drop down so it's important to be patient and wait for your chance if you get into trouble against them. Serbia might lose a set to them, but should win.
Thailand - "a traditionally difficult opponent", playing the Asian style that never suited us. They're fast and play amazing defence, so it's important to keep focus and don't give away points. If we play like we can, we should win comfortably.
Turkey - turns out she's a big fan and always roots for them unless they're playing against Serbia. That's mostly because she's very close friends with Eda. According to her, the MBs are very good, the setter is good, the OPP (Ebrar) is unreliable because you never know how she's going to play, she can be either amazing or awful. The OHs are the weakest link. But they also have Guidetti's system behind them and they keep fighting until the very end and in her opinion they're the most difficult opponent in this phase.
Generally, she's very happy with the way the team is performing and she thinks Santarelli established a very good connection with the girls. She believes Serbia can go all the way if they keep playing like they can, but also says you can never discount the possibility of having a bad day when nothing goes right for your team, like she believed it happened to USA against Serbia, and she hopes we can avoid them.
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.
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 just find it hilarious that the FIVB went from qualyfing tournaments to qualify for qualifying tournaments (I remember that Serbia had to go through THREE qualifying tournaments in 2006) to no qualifications at all.
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.
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 ) 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!