It was a weekend packed with every emotion conceivable for IBB Polonia London as they took part in the NEVZA Club Championships. From Friday 8th February to Sunday 10th February the team pitted their skills against the best from Northern Europe. The British representatives performed in an amazing manner throughout the event and it was a tough Semi Final victory that earned them a place in Sunday’s final. The team they defeated in the final was BK Marienlyst from Denmark at the match swung in the favour of both teams throughout. Thanks to this achievement, the world will hear about the potential of IBB Polonia London from the United kingdom. This is not only a triumph for the London based club, but for everyone involved with the sport in the country. There have already been many signs of interest from other volleyball nations: in addition, the Presidents of Volleyball England and London Volleyball have been in touch with the Club Chairman to offer their congratulations. Everybody concerned hopes that this will be the catalyst for the development of the sport in the UK.
In the last weekend, IBB Polonia London played four games. In the group stage they played and won with BK Marienlyst (their eventual final opponents) and KA from Iceland who defeated them 3-2. These results were sufficient to earn them a place in the Saturday Semi Final against the Norwegians Randaberg VK who they beat 3-1. Simon Loftus’ players ended up playing the Danish team for a second time in the final where they were to exact their revenge. The final was very attractive for the spectators and lasted for five sets with both teams taking turns to lead the encounter. The British team gave everything they had to notch up the victory against a very skilful and physically strong team. The set scores were 2:3 (23:25; 25:19; 25:15; 23:25; 13:15) which resulted in the trophy finding its way back to West London.
“At first we didn’t know what to expect. The teams are significantly stronger (physically and technically) than anything we are used to in the Super League in England. We wanted to return with a medal of any colour, but we didn’t anticipate a gold medal! We played 19 sets over three days and four matches. Each encounter was tough with powerful players and teams that were very well drilled. There was little chance to celebrate after the win, because we had to rush to the airport to catch a flight home. On our arrival at Gatwick, we were greeted by our faithful supporters with lots of singing and applause” commented Captain of the Gold Team, Bartosz Kisielewicz.
“This is an amazing success story for the players and the entire Club, because the standard was very high indeed. We made improvements from game to game and made it to the final and had to make a big step technically and tactically. The players all contributed with huge passion and energy. We fulfilled our goals, in fact we exceeded them and brought home a huge trophy. I want to offer my huge thanks to the players who were amazing. I am very proud to have been part of this journey” said Dominik Zmuda, Second Assistant Coach IBB Polonia London.
“We were delighted that we could represent British volleyball and to win such a prestigious event. This is yet more evidence that this sport has to evolve in this country. I believe this is the start of many future successes over the coming years for IBB Polonia London. I would like to dedicate this victory to everybody who have given so many years of their lives to develop the sport back at home” said Club Chairman Bartek Luszcz.
Following on from the momentous win, the Team have little time to rest. On Saturday, 16th February the Super League starts up once again and the match is an away fixture at Essex Blaze at 4.45pm GMT. The next home match is to take place on the last Saturday of the month and is a Semi Final place in the national Cup against Malory Eagles. The match is set to be exciting and we would like to invite all supporters to come and cheer us on at Brentford Fountain Leisure Centre. Tickets are available here.
“Following on from the Danish success story we have to return to reality. Training starts on Tuesday and we have to focus on the Essex match. Then the following Saturday we take on Malory in the Semi Final of the Cup and really hope we can attract as many spectators as possible to help us to the final.” added Kisielewicz.
It will be a chance to see the team play, and hopefully emulate the victory we just achieved. It will be an opportunity to see new addition to the squad – opposite hitter Remigijus Riteris. Moreover, before NEVZA Club Championships Mihail Stoev returned to the squad. Bulgarian outside hitter played fo IBB Polonia in the enormous 2016/17 season before departing for a season with Malory Eagles.
These are the results of IBB Polonia games in the NEVZA Club Championships:
IBB Polonia London – BK Marienlyst 3:2 (18:25; 17:25; 25:22; 25:22; 15:7)
IBB Polonia London – KA Iceland 2:3 (25:17; 23:25; 25:19; 21:25;13:15)
IBB Polonia London – Randaberg VK 3:1 (25:27; 25:21; 25:21; 25:15)
BK Marienlyst – IBB Polonia London 2:3 (23:25; 25:19; 25:15; 23:25;13:15)
All results here.