Polish champions ready for new challenges
News from the clubs
Rzeszow, Poland, October 7, 2012. After the incredible ending of the past season where Asseco Resovia RZESZOW was able to stop, after seven years, the supremacy of PGE Skra BELCHATOW and claim the national league, the club is looking forward to the many challenges stemming from the coming season, and especially to the start of the 2013 CEV Volleyball Champions League.
“It was an incredible time for the local community here in Rzeszow and especially for our fantastic supporters because after many unsuccessful attempts in the last few seasons we were finally able to claim the national league 37 years after the previous success for our club. However, this belongs to the past and now we have to totally focus on the coming season. Personally I don’t feel any pressure that we are supposed to stand being the defending champions. I think that first we should work a lot and step by step do our job. It was a good path last year where we started out with some problems, had a lot of ups and downs but in the end we managed to play our best. This should be a good hint for the coming season too” said Aleh Akhrem, the captain of Asseco Resovia.
On Saturday the team started the season in Poland’s PlusLiga with a convincing victory (3:0) over Indykpol AZS OLSZTYN. This Tuesday RZESZOW will face at Podpromie sports hall PGE Skra BELCHATOW that a week ago defeated Asseco Resovia in straight sets in the Supercup thereby winning the first trophy of the season.
“I know that this is going to be a big event for the supporters and the media as the rivalry between these great teams is something really special. Nevertheless, for us it will be just a league game. This is only the beginning of the season and people should not demand from us maximum shape at this stage of the competition even though we always want to win” stated Lukas Tichacek, the Czech setter of Asseco Resovia.
In comparison with the past season there were a couple of changes in the roster of the defending national champions. First of all Asseco Resovia lost its major star, the MVP of the PlusLiga season, German opposite György Grozer, who has moved to Russia to play there for Lokomotiv BELGOROD.
In order to replace Grozer the club has contracted two very good players – German Jochen Schöps and Zbigniew Bartman who last year became one of the most fundamental players in the Polish national team after coach Andrea Anastasi decided to move him to the diagonal and turn this still young guy into the main spiker of the group. The fact that the management of the club has appointed two great players for the same position was a surprise for many Volleyball experts in Poland as only one of them will be finally playing on the court.
“I am aware of the fact that other coaches, especially those coming from the so-called “Italian school” have a different idea and they usually create a team with a very good starting six together with a libero and two solid back-up players. In my opinion the better option is to build a very wide and balanced team with 13 players ready to play, to compete during the training sessions and give their best whenever I ask them to play. I think that my conception of a team is better considering the fact that we have a very long and difficult season with the demanding Polish championship, the Polish Cup and the CEV Volleyball Champions League. There will be a lot of matches and I hope that all of my players will help us claim some good results. Maybe 9 out of 10 coaches wouldn’t like to have such an equal and wide team as we have but I think that this is the right path and it should be our strength because the season is very long and we will need healthy players” explained Andrzej Kowal, the head coach of Asseco Resovia. The other new faces in the rosters are a couple of outside hitters, namely Serbian Nikola Kovacevic – best receiver of the 2011 European Championship – and Rafal Buszek who came back to Rzeszow after spending the last season with Fart KIELCE.
Asseco Resovia is looking forward to its comeback in the CEV Volleyball Champions League, which stands out as the most prestigious club competition in Europe. Three years ago (season 2009/2010) in its debut among the best European teams RZESZOW finished atop of the charts in Pool F and reached the Playoffs 6 where it was defeated by Italian powerhouse TRENTINO Volley, winner of that competition for three years in a row (from 2009 to 2011). This season Asseco Resovia will play in Pool G together with France’s Arago de SETE, Romania’s Remat ZALAU and Italian Bre Banca Lannutti CUNEO.
“It’s a great feeling to participate in the CEV Volleyball Champions League. I have some experience from the past but it was a long time ago to be honest. In the last three years with Iskra ODINTSOVO we played only the CEV Cup once and after that we did not play any international league. That is why I’m so excited and happy to come back to the most elitist competition” said Jochen Schöps, the winner of CEV Volleyball Champions League in 2007 as he was playing for VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN.
“We would like to go as far as possible in the CEV Volleyball Champions League but the European Cups are so unpredictable that it’s difficult to declare and foresee anything before the start of the season. Our first objective is to advance to the Playoffs and then everything can happen. At that stage of the competition a lot of things depend also on the drawing of lots because we can meet a very difficult opponent right in the Playoffs 12. Moreover, it’s very important to have a good schedule as the teams that play the return game at home are in a more favorable situation” concluded coach Kowal.