National team setter Barakova joins Maritza Plovdiv

The setter of the Bulgarian volleyball national team joined the ranks of Bulgarian champions Maritza Plovdiv for the upcoming season. 26-year-old Petya Barakova returned to the home country after transferring from France’s Volero Le Cannet to the top Bulgarian club.

The talented 1.80-meter-tall playmaker replaces the other setter of Bulgaria, Lora Kitipova, who moved from six-time-in-a-row national champions Maritza to Ukraine’s top-placed club Prometey Kamienskie.

Emerging from Levski Sofia’s hatchery, Petya Barakova spent the last five seasons abroad, competing for clubs from Switzerland, France, Romania and Poland. In 2018, she earned Champions League silver with Romania’s Volei Alba Blaj.

Barakova has been a member of the Bulgarian senior national team since 2014 and contributed to the titles of the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Challenger Cup and the 2018 Golden European League. She took part in the 2018 World Championship as well as the last three editions of the European Championship.

“I am feeling good about staying in Bulgaria this year. I know most of Maritza’s girls from the national team. I hope we have a good run among the best teams of Europe in the pool stage of the Champions League, and defend the title in the National Volleyball League,” Barakova told volleymaritza.bg.

Petya Barakova will enjoy the support of Lora Slavcheva, former Bulgarian junior international in both volleyball and beach volleyball, recently called to the senior volleyball national team training camp in Plovdiv. The 19-year-old playmaker returns to Maritza after playing on loan for Rakovski Dimitrovgrad over the past two seasons.

The Yellow-and-Blues from Plovdiv have announced contract extensions with three more national team members, libero Zhana Todorova (23), outside hitter Aleksandra Milanova (19) and middle blocker Dima Usheva (19), as well as with former Bulgarian international outside Kremena Kamenova (32).