Lausanne, Switzerland, April 20, 2018 - Introducing the top teams in the current world rankings, the third installment in this series takes a look at the team ranked number three in women's volleyball - 2017 European champions Serbia.
Serbia came from nowhere to win silver at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games, but since the team has continued its irrepressible rise in women's volleyball. Quick links - Volleyball:
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Last year, the team defeated Olympic champions China to pick up the bronze medal at the final staging of the FIVB World Grand Prix. They followed this with the gold medal at the CEV European Championships. As such, expectations are understandably high ahead of the inaugural FIVB Volleyball Nations League later in 2018.
In the third of five preliminary weeks in the new FIVB Volleyball Nations League, the number three team in the world will host Russia, Belgium and Turkey. There is sure to be a huge amount of enthusiasm in a country passionate about volleyball.
After all, the women’s national team has recently surpassed the success achieved by its men's team and for this reason, coach Zoran Terzic’s outfit was voted its country’s “Team of the Year” at the end of 2017. Superstar Tijana Boskovic was named “Best Young Athlete” across all sports in Serbia.
No wonder. After all, the ladies’ spectacular success of recent years has made an entire country proud. When the Serbian team returned as European champions last year, they were greeted by 10,000 delighted fans in the capital Belgrade and Aleksandar Vucic, President of the Republic of Serbia, gave the women a personal reception.
“I like very much the way the team performed, since they showed character, friendship, they supported one another and even if they hadn’t won gold, I would have been just as proud of them. Everybody was simply perfect, from the staff to the players. I have to point out that this is the result of hard and dedicated work of the Serbian volleyball community, from north to south, from east to west of the country. People should be very proud,” said Mr Zoran Gajic, President of the Volleyball Federation of Serbia.
The man behind the success of Serbian women’s volleyball is coach Zoran Terzic, who has been at the helm for 16 years and his motto is “Never stop working.”
Throughout this time, he has always managed to bring new, young players into the team and to improve them. The team is now led by Tijana Boskovic, Milena Rasic and Brankica Mihajlovic.
Serbia also impressed at the 2017 FIVB World Grand Prix, where they were the best team in the preliminary round and only lost to eventual winners Brazil in the final round. Particularly remarkable was the victory in the bronze medal match against hosts China – the number one team in the world and the dominant force in recent years.
The goal is now to continue this rise in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League, before the team turns its attention to the Japan 208 FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championships, where Serbia will be out to spring another surprise.
Star of the team: Tijana Boskovic
Tijana Boskovic won a host of prizes last year. The European Volleyball Confederation CEV named the Serbian their “Player of the Year”, and the powerful hitter was voted MVP at the CEV European Championships. In her native Serbia, she was named the “Best Young Athlete” across all sports. “An individual award is something that gives every player an additional motivation to keep up the good work. I am happy for it and I will continue to grow as athlete,” promised Boskovic.
Despite her spectacular success, the young lady, who does not turn 21 until March 2018, has kept her feet on the ground. For all that, her rise has been a stellar one: At the Italy 2014 FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championships, while still a teenager, she was the top scorer in her team and smashed her way into the volleyball spotlight. In 2016, she won an Olympic silver medal and led her club Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul to the title in the FIVB Volleyball Women's Club World Championship, in which she was named MVP. This was followed by a phenomenal 2017, in which the 1.93-metre player was voted “Best Opposite” in the FIVB World Grand Prix.
“We had enormous success in 2017. We were strong as a team, we bonded, and we trained well in the last five months and this is our reward. Thanks so much to the people of Serbia,” said Boskovic. She is still just embarking on what promises to be a fine career, and is determined to guide Serbia to great success.