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20/06/2015 09:00
Senna Usic Jogunica spreading joy and love for Volleyball around the world, to her teammates
2015 European Games

Baku, Azerbaijan, June 19, 2015. For most people, destiny is as elusive as a leaf floating in the air; for others, destiny is as altering as tides in the sea. But for Senna Usic Jogunica, destiny is round and always bouncing, like a volleyball that you have to follow, wherever it may take you.

The Croatian player spearheads the national squad of her country competing in the inaugural European Games, and while her team wishes to leave its mark on the competition, the captain of the Croatian side dreams of leaving her mark on her teammates, as well as on any of the places where her dream job in Volleyball is taking her, no matter how remote they are.    

“God has always put me where I need to be,” explains the 1.90-metres-tall outside spiker. “It’s been ten years of professional career now and I am very proud of each one of my experiences,” she added.

Senna Usic Jogunica ‘s career has not been, by traditional standards, conventional. After playing in five different countries – and succeeding in all of them – the 29-year-old player knows a thing or two about trying her luck in very diverse environments. This Volleyball globetrotting was not part of a game plan, she reckons; the Croatian star just followed her destiny and her main motivation: to enjoy her time while wearing the Volleyball shirt. “For me it is important to have fun, that’s what Volleyball really is. It is not a job, I don’t do it for the money, I just want to have fun on the court, said the Croatian international, whose sister Marija is also part of the national team of her country.

With the search of diversion while she is on the court as main beacon guiding her fortune, Senna Usic Jogunica decided at an early age to take the road less travelled, and the longest paths for that matter. After causing a sensation in the 2003 Youth European Championship, where she was elected best receiver and MVP of the tournament, and she guided her team to the gold medal, she eventually left the club Odbojkaski Klub VELIKA GORICA to sign for Italian powerhouse Colussi Sirio PERUGIA. In the first year as professional under the ranks of the squad from Umbria, the friendly and outspoken sports enthusiast won the 2005 CEV Champions League and the Italian national cup. These initial accomplishments opened the tap to a flood of  successes, in a full-of-trophies career that took her to win one CEV Cup, two Italian championships, one Turkish league, one Italian Cup and one Turkish Cup, among other titles.

At 21 years of age, the athlete born in the Croatian city of Zagreb decided to take a change of scenery and moved to a different location, 9,000 kilometres from her hometown. “When I was 21, I went to Japan and being so young, I learned a lot there; we had long hours of practice, so I learned a lot about defence, about reception, about everything related to Volleyball, and much more,” declared the player as she remembered her time in Japan’s Pioneer Red Wings.

Love for Volleyball – or maybe destiny – took her back to Italy and then to Turkey. After three seasons with the Turkish force Eczacibasi ISTANBUL, the Croatian international packed her bags again, and again she looked East. “I am a friend of quick Volleyball, I like playing this kind of Volleyball so this is why I went to play in China. I really enjoyed it, I was very happy there,” said the wing-spiker who joined the ranks of SHANGHAI Volleyball. “I am very surprised with the quality of the league. China were second in the last World Championship, so the level of Volleyball is very high. I had a great team, a great coach, and they gave me a lot of confidence. You can see now that on the court, “ said the 29-year-old star, who is shining in the tournament being held in Baku, so much so that she is among the top five best spikers and best scorers of the competition.

Defending the colours of her country in the historic event in Azerbaijan, Senna Usic Jogunica  has now an extra of responsibility: using her experience to assist her teammates. “My goal here is to help the young players adapt to the team. I would like to give them courage and to make them better players,” said the powerful spiker, who signed for the team Savino Del Bene SCANDICCI of the Italian league for next season.

As the most experienced player of the squad, the captain of the team also acts as a leader, on and off the court, and intends to provide valuable advices to her teammates in the always difficult career of any Volleyball player. “I always tell them: even if you had a bad day or a bad season, do not lose confidence. Believe in yourself, believe in your work. If you are working hard, the results will come. It doesn’t matter if it takes one year or two years. The important thing is not to lose patience and to work, work, work, and work a little more,” she says.

Succeeding on the court, passing the torch and making a difference are her goals for the time being. But regarding to where her destiny may take her, she keeps her doors open. As always. “We will see,” she stated with a smile. “As I said, God always put me where I need to be, so I believe that in the future it will also be like that”.

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