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Maritza Plovdiv celebrate first ever Bulgarian title

The Maritza Plovdiv players celebrate their title
Plovdiv, Bulgaria, May 9, 2015 – Maritza Plovdiv are Bulgaria’s new women’s volleyball champions. The Yellows took their first national title after winning the decisive third match of the National Volleyball League Championship series, dethroning defending titleholders Levski Sofia with a 2-1 victory.

Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second largest city, is internationally known as a prolific hatchery for volleyball talent and teams from the city have won numerous honours in various youth categories in both genders, but this was the city’s first Bulgarian volleyball title at the senior level.

Maritza and Levski have been in a tight race all season. Three of their four regular-season encounters had to be settled in tie-breaker fifth sets. So did the national Cup final, which Maritza won by a dramatic 3-2 margin last month. 

It was no surprise the two rivals ended up facing each other in the NVL championship series, which started off with a 3-1 (28-30, 25-23, 25-19, 25-21) victory for Maritza in Sofia. However, the Blues from the capital spoiled the planned celebrations in Plovdiv by shutting out the local heroines 3-0 (25-20, 26-24, 25-17) in the second match.  

So the title had to find its winner in a crucial third game in Sofia, which proved to be another five-set thriller. Led by team captain Ana Radicheva, who top-scored with 27 points, Maritza emerged victorious with 3-2 (25-19, 18-25, 25-23, 24-26, 15-11) win after more than two hours of play.
The trophy and the gold medals were handed to the winning team by the vice president of the Bulgarian Volleyball Federation Ivan Todorov. Levski took the silver, while CSKA Sofia received the bronze medal.
“We showed good teamwork and great character to win this duel,” commented Maritza’s head coach Ivan Petkov. “All our games against Levski were the jewels of the season and made this championship more special. To win this double gold was a long-standing goal for us and I am very satisfied that we finally achieved it. We have worked hard, we have suffered many losses, but we knew we were on the right track and our moment came. We still have a lot of work ahead of us and a lot to build upon this success, but I am sure there is a bright future ahead for these girls.”

“Teamwork was the key to our success,” stated captain Ana Radicheva. “We stood behind each other, we helped each other in the difficult moments, we played together. Now we are all very happy with the two trophies and we hope to continue down this road in the future in order to maintain a leading role in Bulgarian women’s volleyball in the years to come.”
After one bronze and three silver medals since 2010, this historic gold is Maritza’s fifth podium finish in the past six seasons.


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