Albania’s sensation Vllaznia celebrate historic national league title

Tirana, Albania, April 30, 2017. Vllaznia wrote history on Friday night by taking their first title in the Albanian men’s national league after sweeping three matches in a row in the championship series with 2016 gold medal winners Studenti TIRANA.

Vllaznia were the outsiders in the Playoffs but the last couple of weeks they delivered a series of classy performances to emerge victorious from the last stage of their national league. As for Studenti, they had to accept quite a setback especially as they had not lost a single match in 2017 before the start of the championship series. Vllaznia won two of three matches away from home – only one was played in Shkoder – and celebrated their first, historic national league title on Friday night at Asllan Rusi sports hall in Tirana.

All three matches ended with the same score – 3-1 for Vllaznia – even though Studenti always started in the best way, taking the first set before conceding three in a row. The players of Vllaznia showed a lot of determination and fought like gladiators, dealing also with the most difficult moments in the best way, thus fully deserving the title in the end. They shared this joy with many fans, who had travelled to Tirana from Shkoder to support their heroes.

“I am over the moon because we achieved something truly extraordinary, something we have been dreaming about for many years, if not decades,” said Mark Kroqi, the head coach of Vllaznia, who has been at the helm of the team for the first year. “This title is not only for these players, but for all previous generations as well, who fought just as much as we did but did not achieve the same feat. The Playoffs were great, we beat all of the top teams in our country and now we can rejoice with this honour.”

The Albanian National Television broadcast all matches live nationwide and fans could follow the games on the Internet as well after the introduction of a live scoring service by the Albanian Volleyball Federation.

Results

April 21: Studenti vs. Vllaznia 1-3 (25-21, 23-25, 16-25, 23-25)

April 25: Vllaznia vs. Studenti 3-1 (25-22, 14-25, 25-20, 25-13)

April 28: Studenti vs. Vllaznia 1-3 (28-26, 20-25, 23-25, 22-25)