Polish sensation ZAWIERCIE secure historic participation in European Cups

Thursday 11th of April 2019

Zawiercie, Poland, April 11, 2019. When AZS CZESTOCHOWA claimed the CEV Challenge Cup title in 2012, Aluron Virtu Warta ZAWERCIE had just finished their campaign in the fifth division of the national league after the re-establishment of the club. Only five years later, Aluron Virtu beat AZS 3-1 in a playoff series and moved up to the elite PlusLiga. Now the team from Silesia have secured a place in the next edition of the European Cups and dream of achieving even more. 

From 1997 to 2011, there was no Volleyball team in Zawiercie, a city with some 50,000 inhabitants in southern Poland. The turning point came when Kryspin Baran, president of the Aluron Company, decided to re-activate Warta Zawiercie, a club founded in 1972. After three quick promotions, they spent three years in the 1st League before their historic debut in PlusLiga. Many doubted that a club without any experience at this level could avoid relegation, but Aluron Virtu proved them wrong in a very impressive way. 

 

The club decided to hire well-known Italian coach Emanuele Zanini as well as to sign 2016 Olympic bronze medallist David Smith of USA and Japan national team libero Taichiro Koga along with Grzegorz Bociek, former opposite hitter of the Polish national team. 

Warta finished the last season in ninth place with many memorable matches like a 3-0 win against eventual champions PGE Skra BELCHATOW. However, Aluron Virtu sought further progress. The club management decided to replace Zanini with Mark Lebedew, three-time German champion and 2015 CEV Champions League bronze medallist with BERLIN Recycling Volleys, and sign a contract with the former captain of the Slovak national team, Michal Masny. During the season, they also hired former TRENTINO outside hitter Alexandre Ferreira. The club ended the regular season in fourth place and beat Cerrad Czarni RADOM 2-1 in the best-of-three quarterfinal series. Aluron Virtu has already secured a spot in the European Cups next season while still fighting for a medal, which also gives a place in the elite CEV Champions League. They will have the first of two chances to make it there in the semi-final series against Zaksa KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE starting April 13.

 

Aluron Virtu Warta ZAWIERCIE is the PlusLiga sensation not only because of their great team. Their fans known as Jurassic Army are the biggest Volleyball fan club in Poland. Since the club’s debut in the highest division, there has been a full house of over 1,500 spectators, with every single match with tickets sold in a few minutes. Supporters make an unforgettable atmosphere at home games and are present at every away match in impressive numbers ranging from 100 to even 300. Their last season’s “Zawierciański Koń Trojański” (aka Trojan Horse from Zawiercie) action when they bought more than half of all tickets for an away match with MKS BEDZIN made a splash in the Polish Volleyball community.

 

The fan club’s name as well as the club’s nickname Jurassic Knights have nothing to do with the famous Steven Spielberg movie series. Zawiercie lies in the Krakow-Czestochowa Upland known as Polish Jura, a beautiful hilly landscape with Jurassic limestone rocks, cliffs, valleys, around 220 caves and the famous Trail of the Eagle’s Nests containing 25 medieval castles from the XIV century. That is why Jurassic Knight is the club mascot and the plural form of his name is Aluron Virtu’s nickname. As befits knights, the team from Zawiercie is famous for their fighting spirit, which leads to numerous standing ovations after amazing digs.

 

Information by cev.eu