Maritza PLOVDIV, Bulgaria’s regular participant in the women’s CEV Champions League Volley, broke the all-time record for consecutive championship titles in the southern European country as it claimed its ninth crown in a row on Sunday.
Last year the Yellow-and-Blues from Europe’s oldest living city tied previous record holder Levski-Spartak SOFIA, who earned eight titles in a row in the 1970s, but now they added another one to top it off.
In the best-of-three championship series of the national volleyball league Demax+, Maritza was up against CSKA SOFIA, the team that put a stop to its dream run of 145 league victories in a row, which started in November 2015 and ended in January 2023.
This time, Maritza left no room for any surprises and got back at the Reds from the capital with two emphatic shutouts, 3-0 (25-13, 25-17, 25-15) on Thursday in Plovdiv and 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-13) on Sunday in Sofia. Bulgaria’s rising star, 17-year-old opposite Iva Dudova, was the best scorer of both matches with 14 and 18 points, respectively.
After the final, the team’s captain and libero, 37-year-old former Bulgarian international Ivelina Monova announced the end of her career as an athlete:
“The emotion was incredible, just like with every trophy! We played well together as a team and the results show it. It was my last match. It is difficult to say goodbye to something that is part of your life and of your heart. Maritza is like family, like home to me and I will stay with the club in a different function. A big ‘thank you’ to everyone in the club and ‘well-done’ to my young teammates, for whom the best is still to come.”
“This title was sweeter than last year’s because we were with a much younger squad,” said 28-year-old head coach Borislav Krachanov, who has been at the helm of Maritza since 2021. “The difficulties we went through gave us more strength to reach the title. All the opponents were giving their best against us, and it helped us grow. We showed that this title was well deserved.”
The bronze medals went to KAZANLAK Volley.