Year in review: Boskovic - never too young to be the world’s best


Tijana Boskovic – brightest among the stars of the 2018 World Championship

Lausanne, Switzerland, December 29, 2018 – At the young age of 21 she is on top of the world! Tijana Boskovic was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship, after her team Serbia claimed a historic title. The title followed similar accolades at the 2016 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship, when she was just 19, and at the 2017 CEV European Championship, last year.

In Serbia’s thrilling tie-breaker win over Italy in the World Championship final, Boskovic scored a total of 26 points to lead her teammates to victory. She was the new world champs’ top point-maker on the way to the title and the fourth best scorer of the tournament with a total of 193 points (176 spikes, 11 blocks, 6 aces) and a 53.66% success rate in attack.

In Japan, coach Zoran Terzic seemed to know quite well when his young star was really needed for the kill and when to give her some rest and save her magic for the games against the big opponents. The first time Boskovic really erupted during the World Championship was in the match against Brazil, Serbia’s first big challenge in Pool D of the first round. She hammered out 24 points to help her team to a 3-0 landslide over the South American powerhouse. Boskovic also top-scored in her squad’s first two matches of the second round, where the straight-set wins over Mexico and Germany were needed to secure advancement to the final six.

The young opposite practically sat out the next two games, in which Serbia conceded their first and only defeats at the World Championship, only to storm back victoriously with match-highs of 24 points against Japan and 29 points against Italy to seal a semifinal spot for the Balkan side. Another spectacular 29 points by Boskovic for the win over the Netherlands pushed Serbia into the final.

"I am happy and honoured to be the MVP of this Championship,” Tijana Boskovic said after the closing ceremony. “I could not have made it without my teammates, the coach and the staff. We played as a team and supported each other in difficult moments. This award will motivate me even more for the future!"

Many of the world’s top volleyball stars took part in the World Championship, providing Boskovic with plenty of competition for the individual honours. Silver medallists Italy claimed four, with fantastic 19-year-old opposite Paola Egonu leading the charge. She starred throughout the three-week volleyball extravaganza, shattering one scoring record after another. In an incredible semifinal against reigning Olympic champions China, Egonu scored as many as 45 points - an all-time match high at a World Championship, five points clear of the previous record. In the big final against Serbia, the Italian talent topped the charts again – 33 points, reaching the 30-point mark for the fourth time at the tournament. She emerged as the all-time best scorer of a single World Championship, piling up 324 points (275 spikes, 26 blocks, 23 aces), 73 points more than the previous high. Egonu also finished second for best server, third for best spiker and sixth for best blocker.

Another young Italian, 22-year-old Ofelia Malinov was selected as best setters. Miryam Sylla was one of the two outside hitters on the honorary squad. She was the second best spiker, after Boskovic, the seventh best scorer and the eighth best receiver. Libero Monica De Gennaro was the fourth Italian player on the Dream Team, after coming third in both the best diggers' and the best receivers' charts.

Bronze medallists China had two of their athletes on the World Championship’s Dream Team. Star player Zhu Ting, 23 years old at the time, brought in more youthful energy to the ideal squad of the tournament as the other outside hitter, while Yan Ni delivered the experience as one of the middle blockers and, at 31, was the oldest member of the stellar line-up. With an average of 0.89 stuff blocks per set, Yan Ni topped the best blockers ranking. Zhu Ting was among the top players in two of the individual charts – third among the scorers with a total of 227 points and sixth among the spikers, but modestly said after China’s victory in the third place match, “I will reflect on my shortcomings so we can go much higher in level.”

World champions Serbia were represented by Milena Rasic, honoured as the other middle player on the Dream Team. She came third in the ranking for blocking with an average of 0.80 kill blocks per set.

The MVP and the Dream Team of the World Championship

At least three more players are worthy of mention. With a total of 27 aces, or an average of 0.56 per set, Lonneke Sloetjes of fourth-placed Netherlands was the best server of the tournament. Serbia’s libero Silvija Popovic was the best digger with an average of 3.23 saves per set, while Japan’s Mako Kobata led the receivers chart with an efficiency rate of 46.25%.


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