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02/07/2015 21:39
Volleyball stars take centre stage at European Volleyball Gala
News from the CEV

Vienna, Austria, July 2, 2015. Apart from the Drawing of Lots for the 2016 edition of the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League, the 2015 European Volleyball Gala that was held at the splendid Redoutensaal of the Hofburg, the former imperial residence of the Habsburg family at the very heart of Vienna, included also a tribute to some of Europe’s most accomplished and well-known Volleyball stars. The Gala was also an opportunity to further promote the 2015 CEV Beach Volleyball European Championship Final which is due to take place from July 28 through August 2 at the real ‘Mecca’ of this sport, the Austrian city of Klagenfurt. An unforgettable Volleyball night also included show acts featuring former Volleyball player, now turned singer Norisha Campbell who for the second straight year co-hosted the Gala with ORF anchor-man Michael Berger and mesmerised the audience with her great voice.

Click here for a comprehensive picture gallery of the 2015 European Volleyball Gala

As many as six players were awarded on yet another memorable Volleyball night which celebrated not only their respective accomplishments in the sport but also their inspirational role towards thousands of young boys and girls playing Volleyball across Europe who are hoping to follow in the footsteps of their heroes.

Jochen Schöps (GER) – The ‘Ultimate Volleyball Team Leader – Men

The charismatic team captain of Germany’s national team that won bronze at last year’s FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship in Poland and that just made history by claiming gold at the first ever European Games in Baku, Schöps left his mark also on the 2015 edition of the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League where he reached the gold medal match with Poland’s Asseco Resovia RZESZOW, eventually settling for the silver after losing to Russia’s Zenit KAZAN. This was his second appearance in the final match of Europe’s elite competition after back in 2007 he seized the crown with VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, also receiving the award for the Most Valuable Player on that occasion. The eighth-best scorer in the 2015 edition of Europe’s elite competition, Schöps is much respected in the Volleyball family also for his always friendly and exemplary behaviour, which makes him a perfect ‘cover boy’ for the CEV ‘Fair Play Volleyball Way’ campaign.  

Lioubov Sokolova (RUS) – The Ultimate Volleyball Team Leader – Women

Also known as Lioubov Kilic and Lioubov Shashkova, Sokolova – who will turn 38 later this year and hasn’t disclosed any plans to retire from competitive sport – is the real ‘grand dame’ of Russian women’s Volleyball. A two-time world champion (2006 and 2010), Sokolova is also a double European champion (1999, 2001) and a two-time Olympic silver medallist (2000 and 2004) with the Russian national team. A two-time winner of the CEV Volleyball Champions League in 2005 and 2012, this year she added yet another trophy to her collection as she helped Dinamo KRASNODAR claim the 2015 edition of the CEV Volleyball Cup. A real globe-trotter who has played in Croatia, Italy, Japan, Spain and Turkey throughout her career, Sokolova hasn’t ruled out the possibility to return to the Russian national team in an attempt to participate in next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and to seize the only gold medal that is still missing from her impressive collection.

Mariusz Wlazly (POL) – The Most Spectacular Volleyball Player – Men

The long-time team captain of PGE Skra BELCHATOW, a real national icon in Poland, Mariusz Wlazly returned to play for his country’s national team last year and was instrumental to Poland’s successful campaign at the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship. As he anchored his team to their second title in history, Wlazly also received the award for the Most Valuable Player of the competition. A multiple national champion, Wlazly has spent his entire career with PGE Skra BELCHATOW, claiming three medals –silver in 2012 and two times bronze, in 2008 and 2010 – in the CEV Volleyball Champions League. Wlazly helped Skra finish fourth in the 2015 edition of Europe’s elite competition. Following his outstanding performance at the World Champs, Wlazly was shortlisted and eventually claimed the award for the 2014 Sportsman of the Year awarded by SportAccord.

Maja Poljak (CRO) – The Most Spectacular Volleyball Player – Women

Standing at 194 cm, the 31-year old Croatian middle blocker had a fabulous 2015 season with Turkey’s Eczacibasi VitrA ISTANBUL, winning gold in the 2015 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League as well as at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship in Zurich. She was by far the best blocker across all European Cup competitions in 2015 recording as many as 58 stuffs, this way accounting for an average of 1.38 per set. Poljak was included in the ‘Dream Team’ of this year’s Final Four tournament in Szczecin as second-best middle blocker and she featured prominently also in the ‘Stars in Motion’ videos being chosen as the ‘One to Watch’ following the first leg of the Playoffs 12. A long-time member of the Croatian national team, Poljak did not participate in the European Games in Baku but is set to come back and will most probably represent her home country at the European Championship coming up later this year in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Goran Vujevic (SRB) – Volleyball Lifetime Achievement Award – Men

A member of Yugoslavia’s ‘golden generation’, Vujevic is an Olympic champion from the 2000 Games in Sydney, a bronze medallist from the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, and a European champion from the 2001 edition in Ostrava. His resume includes many more accolades, including four medals from the World League Finals – i.e. two times silver and two times bronze – and a silver medal from the 1998 World Championship in Japan where he received the award for the Best Server of the competition, and another three European Championship medals for a total of 16 appearances on the podium of international competitions. The 42-year old Vujevic played this past season for Italy’s Sir Safety PERUGIA – a rookie in the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – and reached the Playoffs 6, narrowly missing out on a spot in the Final Four tournament. Shortly upon completion of the 2014-2015 season, he announced his retirement from competitive sport to take up the role of Sports Director at that same club.

Eleonora Lo Bianco (ITA) – Volleyball Lifetime Achievement Award – Women

The 34-year old world-class Italian setter who spent the last four seasons in Turkey playing for Galatasaray and Fenerbahce boasts one of the most impressive resumes on the Volleyball scene. She is a three-time winner of the CEV Volleyball Champions League (2007, 2009 and 2010), a two-time European champion (2007 and 2009) but also a world champion (2002), a two-time winner of the FIVB World Cup (in 2007 and 2011) and a gold medallist from the 2009 Grand Champions Cup, not to mention a huge number of individual awards she has received at all major international competitions. Shortly after the 2010 FIVB World Championship held in Japan, she took a break from competitive sport after being diagnosed with breast cancer, and resumed playing only a few months later after undergoing medical treatment. Last year, after a break following the 2012 Olympics in London, she returned to play for Italy’s national team, finishing in fourth place at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship held in her home country.

Best Organiser and Press Awards

The real celebration of Volleyball that unfolded on Thursday night at the Hofburg included also the acknowledgment of the outstanding work delivered by some of the teams that left their mark on the 2015 edition of the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League. The hosts of the men’s Final Four, Germany’s BERLIN Recycling Volleys, received the award for the Best Organiser in the men’s competition and this distinction – and with it another check worth € 7,500 – was presented also to the women’s team of Volero ZÜRICH from Switzerland.
Germany’s DRESDNER SC and Poland’s PGE Skra BELCHATOW were awarded for their superb media and PR work after topping the charts of this year’s Press Award for women and men, respectively.

Spot on Klagenfurt, the world’s Beach Volleyball ‘Mecca’

The countdown to the Beach Volleyball party of the year scheduled for July 28-August 2 in Klagenfurt has started and once again Europe’s Beach Volleyball elite will be fighting for gold and also for ‘valuable’ ranking points on their way to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro once they take the sand at Austria’s largest sandbox.
The 2015 CEV Beach Volleyball European Championship Final was extensively promoted during the Gala as well. The competition will be an opportunity for Austria’s rising stars Katharina Schützenhöfer and Lena Plesiutschnig to continue with their rise and to provide the home crowd with something to cheer about after they finished in second place at the first ever European Games recently held in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Back in 2013, as the Championship was also held on the shores of the Wörthersee, all previous records of attendance were broken and the fans can be confident that Klagenfurt will once again be up to the task and deliver an unforgettable Beach Volleyball party!

News nr. 286 of 706
04/07/2015 11:52:00
Annual CL seminars lay cornerstone for yet another record-breaking season
02/07/2015 19:58:00
CEV President opens European Volleyball Gala looking back at past successes, invites Volleyball family to work as one
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