Stip UGD and Strumica claim historic Macedonian Cup titles, international referee Nikola Micevski bids farewell to the sport

by Press

Another drama-filled edition of the Macedonian Volleyball Cup has ended with top honours eventually going to OK Stip UGD and OK Strumica in the men’s and women’s competition, respectively. The two clubs played in the final for the first time and won the cup, as international referee Nikola Micevski symbolically ended his career right where his journey in the sport began as a player, in front of a home crowd in his hometown of Stip.

The final tournament was held at the Jordan Mijalkov sports hall, starting on Thursday with the semi-final matches in the men’s competition. Stip UGD easily defeated Rabotnicki 71&22 in straight sets, and the current champions Strumica 47&72 played a routine match against Liria for a 3-0 triumph. The following day the stage was set for the ladies for their semi-final matches. Strumica won over the defending champions of Rabotnicki Skopje by 3-2, and Janta volley did so against two-time finalist Nakovski volley (3-1). On the last day of the final tournament, Strumica defeated Janta volley 3-0 (25-20, 25-12, 25-14) and celebrated winning the first trophy in the club’s history, while the team from the city Skopje failed to repeat the success of 2021 when it was victorious in one of its seven final appearances this far.

he atmosphere in the hall reached its climax when the players of Stip UGD challenged the favourite Strumica 47&72 – a side which has won as many as nine double crowns in the past 11 seasons. The home heroes played the finals for the first time, but this time the experience was not the deciding factor, as they put up a great fight, and they showed much composure and resilience in the decisive moments. Stip UGD eventually secured a 3-2 victory (22-25, 25-22, 19-25, 25-21, 15-13) and long into the night celebrated the greatest sports success for the city of Stip across all team sports.

For the creator of this, until recently, unimaginable success, this is a dream come true.

“In the past years since we have started working on this project, we never stopped believing that we have the potential to rise to such heights. It is never easy, but we did not give up and this Cup is a reward for all of us at the club.”

Vance Sanev
President of UGD Stip

To make the satisfaction of the people of Stip even greater, as a prelude to the final, the audience honoured Macedonian international referee Nikola Micevski, who ended his refereeing career at the age of 49. After taking part in more than 150 matches run by CEV and FIVB in the past two and a half decades, three finals of the European Cups, one World and two European under-age championships and more than 20 finals in the Macedonian Championship and Cup, Nikola Micevski put an end to one exceptionally significant chapter in his life. Right where he started, not imagining that this would be a journey of pleasure, happiness, and an endless source of pleasant memories.

Довидување Никола, се гледаме во сала, повторно! Goodbye Nikola, see you in the hall, again!

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