OK HERCEG NOVI and OK BUDVA have emerged as the emphatic winners of the women’s and men’s national cup of Montenegro this past weekend – following the final matches played at SC Igalo in Herceg Novi and broadcast live nationwide.
In the men’s final, OK BUDVA retained their title after recording a comprehensive 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-14) victory over Buducnost Volley to lift the trophy for the fifth year in a row.
“I think we justified our role as favourites and deservedly defended the title. I can be satisfied with the game, because, as I emphasised, these two teams played their last game in November, which represents a big break without any competitive matches and more demanding opponents. The fight for the trophy itself is a big enough stress, and in that regard, I would say we handled ourselves very well so that we very convincingly defeated the team of Buducnost Volley. We will surely face a new test in the playoffs of the national league,” said the coach of OK BUDVA, Miloš Marković.
The MVP of the men’s final was Aleksandar Gmitrović from OK BUDVA.
“I want to congratulate my team and teammates on an outstanding game. We have been preparing for this for three whole months and we have timed our form for this cup. We played with maximum commitment in all segments of the game, and we did not allow our opponent to develop their game. I think that was the deciding factor in the end, our concentration from the start, and I am very happy about that. This is only the first game, the first half. In seven days, the playoff finals begin. Our ambitions are the same, we are going for the title, to defend the double crown. As for the MVP award, of course, I like it, but it does not mean as much to me as the team success. The team comes in first place. Today it was me, tomorrow someone else will be MVP,” said Gmitrović.
“It was a difficult game for us. It was 1-1 in the Superleague, and in Budva we showed our worth, against a team that was preparing for the European Cups. In the final, the great desire ‘ate’ us. It is very difficult to play Volleyball without good reception and it cost us a lot. I hope we can come back and focus on the next games in the playoff final. I would, of course, like to congratulate the Budva team and I repeat, I hope that we will show what we are capable of in the finals of the league,” said the coach of Budućnost Volley, Miljan Bošković.
In the women’s competition, OK HERCEG NOVI claimed their first cup title in emphatic style. The team led by Milorad Krunić easily beat Albatros 3-0 (25-10, 25-11, 25-12) and justified the role of the big favourite in the competition. For the first time, two clubs from Herceg Novi fought for the trophy in the national cup, and as in the Superleague, Tatjana Bokan and her teammates convincingly triumphed.
“Every good story needs time to come together. We literally started from scratch this year, we met somewhere around August 25, and it was not at all easy to integrate so many new players. The entire professional staff is new, from all over the Balkans and Europe. However, we work well and hard and from game to game we justify the role of the absolute favourite. For the sport, it would have been good if the final had been a little more interesting, but we tried our best and played to the maximum. You know what finals are like, you always want to win, you do not want to leave anything to chance, and that is why it was a rather short and less uncertain final,” said the coach of Herceg Novi, Milorad Krunić.
“I am very satisfied. We are crowning good work, and we have reached the finish line. I hope that in the playoffs we will lift the trophy just as dominantly, without losing a set, as we did in the Cup. That is the goal now because the team is very dominant compared to the others”, said Tatjana Bokan Team captain of OK HERCEG NOVI and MVP of the women’s final.
“I already emphasised at the press conference that it is a great honour and great success for our club to participate in such a final. I expected a little more from the girls, but there was probably a little bit of trepidation, and the audience was in the stands in large numbers and that affected them. We are a young team both physically and technically, as far as experience in general goes. They have far fewer games in their legs than the players from Herceg Novi who are professionals. I expected a tough game, a strong one, that the rival would play at the highest level, but I also expected my team to play better in the beginning. At the very start, it seems to me that there was a bit of trepidation, only in the third set did they stabilise a little and could play at least some good Volleyball,” commented Branka Obradović, head coach of Albatros.
“We certainly hoped for a better game from our side. We did not enter the match the way we worked for in the past weeks and months. We only woke up somewhere in the third set, but once again Herceg Novi made a big difference that was too difficult to cancel. Congratulations to the Herceg Novi team for winning the Cup, and I would also like to congratulate my team for claiming second place. This is a great success for our club, and I hope there will be more medals to come,” said Albatros captain, Anđela Kukobat.