Czechia’s women triumph in Challenger Cup to secure VNL appearance in 2025


Article Tue, Jul 9 2024

Even though they fell short of capturing the CEV European Golden League title on home soil only a few weeks ago in Ostrava, Team Czechia redeemed themselves this past week in Manila, Philippines, where they showed a high quality and aggressive game to triumph in the very last edition of the FIVB Volleyball Challenger Cup.

Selfie time for the Czech players following their triumph at the FIVB Challenger Cup in Manila

Czechia played Puerto Rico in the final match, where they recorded a 25-23, 25-20, 18-25, 25-18 victory to win the competition and most importantly secure a ticket to next year’s Volleyball Nations League, which in 2025 will feature 18 teams. Opposite Gabriela Orvošová scored 25 points in the final match, while captain Michaela Mlejnková contributed to the Czech success with 18. 

“We had a lot of pressure especially in the first match since there was the risk that we had travelled to the other side of the world to play one match only and would just wait to return home if we were to lose. However, my players performed incredibly well and showed their best volleyball of the season in the three matches we played in Manila. The loss to Sweden in the European Golden League Final did turn into a source of extra motivation and the girls did stick together as a team without trying to identify and blame someone responsible for that setback,” says head coach Ioannis Athanasopoulos. “Everyone agreed that we were the best team in Manila and that our victory is well deserved.” 

Gabriela Orvošová set the pace for the Czech side with a personal tally of 25 points in the final vs Puerto Rico

“We now have to settle down, relax and recover from the long journey, celebrate this success and in a few more days we will come together with the management of the Czech Volleyball Federation to discuss the plans for the future,” continues the Greek coach who has been at the helm of the Czech team since 2019. “It feels very emotional because this success is the result of many years of hard work. I would like to pay tribute to all the players and members of the coaching staff that have been involved in the national team over the years. The Challenger Cup is a global competition, and this victory obviously makes me very happy.” 

Czechia's head coach Ioannis Athanasopoulos celebrated in Manila his greatest achievement since taking over the team back in 2019