Maritza Plovdiv is a volleyball club founded in 1950 as part of the sports association of the same name, which had been founded in 1921. The volleyball club is also the successor of the workers’ volleyball team of the Maritza textile factory. The club bears the name of the river passing through the city of Plovdiv. Both the sports association and the factory are based in Plovdiv’s Northern district, also known as Karshiyaka, hence the nickname Karshiyakaliyki has been used for many years. The more popular nickname, retained today, is based on the club colors – Zhalto-Sinite (the Yellow-and-Blues).
Among the first functionaries of the club are Metodi Batselov, Marko Shivarov and the coach-player and captain of the team Irina Garbucheva. Along with her, among the first volleyballers of the club are Atanaska Koleva, Ivana Kukova, Irina Gnutova, Lilyana Andreeva, Penka Krasteva and Temenuzhka Parvanova.
In 1957 Maritza earns the right to play in the first division of Bulgarian women’s volleyball for the first time.
The club hires its first professional coach, Georgi Markov, in 1960. He takes over the team from Irina Garbucheva. Gocho Markov lays the foundations of the club’s youth section and creates the first children’s youth and junior teams with girls from the Peyo Yavorov high school and other schools in Plovdiv. Among the many young talents Markov discovers is Anka Uzunova, the most prominent player in the club’s history, an Olympic bronze medalist from Moscow 1980, a 1981 European champion, and a bronze medalist from the 1979 European Championship, all with the national team of Bulgaria.
In 1961 Maritza wins its first national title in the girls’ category. In 1963 the Yellow-and-Blues claim their first gold in the youth category. In 1964 Maritza climbs all the way to the top for the first time in the junior age group.
Maritza’s first women’s national championship medal, a bronze, comes in 1979.
In 1997 the Yellow-and-Blues play their first Bulgaria Cup final, but end up with the silver.
In the beginning of 2009 the club is joined by Diana Malinova, a volleyball player, but also one of Bulgaria’s leading beach volleyball players at the time. This marks the beginning of the sand discipline at Maritza.
During the summer of that same year, the club earns its first and to-date most prestigious trophy in beach volleyball. On August 23 Diana Malinova & Rusena Slancheva win the title at the women’s Balkan Championship in Albania.
The start of the cooperation between Maritza and Intercomplex in 2009, with Iliya Dinkov taking the leading function at the club, sets off a new era of growth and development for Maritza.
On June 26, 2011, Diana Malinova & Diana Filipova win Maritza’s first women’s national championship title in beach volleyball.
On January 14, 2012, at Plovdiv’s Olimpiada hall, Maritza’s women’s volleyball team triumphs with its first national trophy at last – the Bulgaria Cup.
In the fall of 2012, also at Olimpiada hall, Maritza organizes the first international women’s volleyball Plovdiv Cup tournament and wins the trophy. This competition becomes stronger through the years and the home team has not yet been able to win the Plovdiv Cup again.
2013 brings Maritza the first gold medals from U22 (Teodora Simeonova & Nikol Nikolova) and U18 (Vangeliya Rachkovska & Tereza Ivanova) national tournaments in beach volleyball.
The club enjoys an exceptionally successful 2015. Having won their second national cup earlier in the year, on May 8 Maritza wins a historic first women’s volleyball national championship title of Bulgaria. On November 2, coach Ivan Petkov’s team also wins the Super Cup, shaping up the first golden treble in the history of Bulgarian volleyball (in either gender).
In 2016, Maritza’s women’s beach volleyball team wins its first medal (silver) from the National Club League.
In the fall of that same year, Maritza becomes the first Bulgarian team in the history of the women’s CEV Volleyball Champions League since Europe’s most prestigious club competition was created at the end of the 20th century.
A year later, after a particularly dramatic turnaround in the clash with Russia’s Enisey Krasnoyarsk, Maritza becomes the first Bulgarian team to qualify for the pool stage of the competition. After Enisey wins by 3-2 in Plovdiv and leads by 2-0 in the second match at home in Krasnoyrask, the Yellow-and-Blues come back to win the next three sets and then the golden set to celebrate as winners of the series. Since that moment the team from Plovdiv is a regular participant in the pool stage of Europe’s strongest club tournament.
In 2017, for the first time a Maritza pair (Lora Slavcheva & Nikol Duleva) wins gold at a U20 national tournament in beach volleyball.
Maritza records its first Champions League pool stage victory on February 20, 2019. It defeats France’s Beziers in four sets at the Kolodruma hall. During the following season (2019-2020), the Yellow-and-Blues are well in contention to advance beyond the pool stage for the first time, but despite the three wins, over Russia’s Dinamo Moscow away, and over France’s RC Cannes and Russia’s Uralochka-NTMK Ekaterinburg at home, they fall just short of booking a spot among the quarterfinalists.
In April 2022, the club introduces its first snow volleyball team and takes part in the historic first Bulgarian National Snow Volleyball Championship, finishing fourth in the women’s final standings. The team consists of Katrin Babacheva, Kristina Asenova and Nikol Miteva.
Maritza has been Bulgaria’s irreplaceable national women’s volleyball champion since 2015 and irreplaceable Bulgaria Cup holder since 2017.
The team’s amazing winning streak in the women’s National Volleyball League that started in November 2015 has now been extended over 137 matches in a row as of the end of the 2021-2022 season.
VOLLEYBALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP – WOMEN
|Champion/Gold||2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022|
|Silver||2010, 2011, 2014|
|Bronze||1979, 1996, 2012|
VOLLEYBALL NATIONAL CUP – WOMEN
|Winner||2012, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022|
|Runner-up/Silver*||1997, 2001, 2011, 2016|
*From 2012 on, the competition determines only the Bulgaria Cup holder and no official standings after the second place are made.
VOLLEYBALL NATIONAL SUPER CUP – WOMEN
VOLLEYBALL PLOVDIV CUP INTERNATIONAL INVITATIONAL – WOMEN
BEACH VOLLEYBALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP – WOMEN
|Gold||2011 (Diana Malinova & Diana Filipova)|
2013 (Diana Malinova & Rusena Slancheva)
|Silver||2009 (Diana Malinova & Rusena Slancheva)|
2010 (Diana Malinova & Evelina Tcholakova)
2012 (Diana Malinova & Diana Filipova)
2016 (Diana Malinova & Rusena Slancheva)
|Bronze||2016 (Teodora Simeonova & Dani Naydenova)|
BEACH VOLLEYBALL NATIONAL CLUB LEAGUE – WOMEN