Serbia ends preliminary round with 8-4 score is pretty much surprise even to me. I predicted 6 wins, was in hope for seventh, but really wasn't expecting 8.
I expected that we would make some surprise against the favorites, which we did against Turkey and it can be said tonight against Japan, but I also expected that we might lose some of the games against Germany, Belgium, Canada, Netherlands, even Bulgaria. I am really happy that even with ups and downs in these games, we came out of all of them as winners in the end, and definitely 8 wins shows that it was not by chance.
Loose against Thailand was tight and maybe it shouldn't happened, but nothing spectacular bad.
Brazil is the only completely disappointing game, we always had problems with Brazil, no matter what line-up we and they were in, but that game was really bad both in terms of play and results.
In the matches against the USA and Italy, which are honestly much better than us, there was a little bit of fear, so we didn't take advantage of the chances for somewhat more uncertain matches, but there certainly weren't many of them anyway. Kinda neutral impression from these games.
Mirković - i'm completely aware and convinced about her limitations as a setter, really shaky moments, too simple game plan, bad decision in some crucial moments, but last week in Canada she really made me trust her more, i'm far from being amazed with her, but she played some really solid games, i'm even near to cheer for her beinf starter in finals. First of all we made team chemistry around this players and secondly she is playing much more and actually better than Živković.
Živković - she played only three games as starter and we won all three, but either opponents wasn't impressive and our game. Conservative, with forgotten middles in attack while we have really good ones, slower but more precise with wings (that is the only clear advantage in comparation with Mirkovic).
Jakšić - no words for her, she ruined all
positive impressions from last year, whenever she enters the court she made some direct or indirect error.
I'm back to my insisting for Veselinović and Perović being tried above Jakšić (especially Perović
Ana Bjelica - really solid performance by her, again as a leader. Our main scorer, playing without real substitution for bigger part of the competition. Huge respect for her, being loyal for so long to our National Team, with knowing that whatever perforamnce she give's to us she will be benched when Boškovic come back. Of course, I don't want to question that, but I put myself in her position and I really don't think it's an easy decision, and she's been in the national team since Word Cup 2011.
Jovana Zelenović - i really don't think that she is our future on that position.
Katarina Lazović - my enthusiasm for her has waned a bit. The biggest problem is the really large amplitude of her primarily attacking performance, which is her greatest virtue. Still she has some really great matches and her contribution for this team is so valuable, but considering her club career i'm not that optimistic. Her blocking is such a shame for proffesional player with her kinda profile. What's worse is that actually her blocking technique isn't att all that terrible, but her physical limits are showing and there's no help for it. Still i'm her fan and cheer for her.
Sara Lozo - biggest surprise this year for sure, she maintain her starter position so well. If she improves her reception skills, she can really become late bloomer. Her technique is kinda raw and straight, but she have great ball perception, precise and powerful hand, use block well, her angles aren't that impressive, good serve and block aspects, solid to good reception and tragic defense skills. Club for next season is kinda dissapointing.
Bianka Buša - having in mind that she barely played last year and have serious injury and surgery after all, her performance was quite good, especially against USA. She gives my Fenerbahce vibes (first half of the season ofc) from time to time. Seems like we can count on her.
Brankica Mihajlović - I don't believe in miracles when it comes to her and above all her health condition, but I think she can be useful as a joker player, experience, block sub,...
Bojana Milenković - she tried hard this last weekend, but it seems to me that there is less and less space for her in this team, the only positive thing as a constant is a really solid reception performance.
Jovana Mirosavljević - expect more chances for her, but i get it that Santarelli want to give a more playing time to main players, although i think that he should reconsider whether Milenkovic should be considered as such.
Mina Mijatović - same as for Zelenović, randomly on the list.
Maja Aleksić - i believe in this girl for so long and i think that finally her time had come. Amazing all along preliminary round in blocking and good established connection at the end of the competition with Mirković. High hopes and expectations for her.
Jovana Stevanović - amazing come back. I'm so happy about her. Next to Maja, they really made game changer position for our team, and prolonged our "supermacy" on that position.
Jovana Kocić - without real chance, and that is the only big dissapointment for me in relation with Santarelli. I understand that both Aleksić and Jodža needs playing time with the setters, but every single game and set, i'm aware it was space for same matches to start with Kocic (last year VNL best blocker).
Jelena Delić - for a bit better but pretty much the same situation as with Mijatović and Zelenović.
Teodora Pušić - not a fan, but she had really solid performance in both reception and defense. She boost her level during the competition and positive assesment about her.
Sanja Đurđević - less triggered but pretty much the same impression as with Kocic, i really like her.
i'm pretty much already emphasized bad impressions about him, but let's talk about positive ones which take a clear adventage.
Change is obvious, positive one, atmposhere wasn't bad even under Terzic due to infinity long relation between him and players, but i feel fresh blood, great vibes from players.
In one moment i was scared that one of our main factors, agressive serve, is gone, and blamed him for that, but after that we beat Turkey, with serve in main role IMO and in later games continue with great perforamnce behind service line.
Certainly the WCH is the main challenge this year, only then will all teams be at full strength (at least it should be, LoL), so only then will we be able to comment objectively on its success and the success of this new old team, but clearly is that he has already somewhat denied that he depends exclusively on players like Egonu or Wolosz and the game system implemented by someone else in Conegliano.