Maritza awarded for Team and Coach of October across all sports in Bulgaria [photos]

The women’s volleyball team of Maritza Plovdiv and their head coach Ivan Petkov were awarded as Bulgaria’s Best Team and Best Coach of October across all sports, after winning the traditional polls conducted by Press Club Bulgaria among sports journalists.

The main reason for this prestigious recognition is Maritza’s successful debut in the CEV Volleyball Champions League. In October, the Bulgarian champions not only became the first women’s team from their country to play in the strong continental competition, but also passed successfully the first round with two straight-set victories over their first opponent. What may have also contributed to the journalists’ decision is the great euphoria the Yellow-and-Blues caused in their city and in their country around their clash with the reigning two-time club world champions from Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul, who visited Plovdiv on November 1.

Teams and coaches that had claimed European Championship titles in kickboxing and supermoto were among Maritza’s competition for the monthly awards, but the squad from Plovdiv and coach Petkov claimed the honors with 69% and 62% of the vote, respectively.

“We are continuing to work hard in training,” said Maritza’s captain Radosveta Teneva upon receiving the Victory Cup for Best Team of the Month. “The club has secured great working conditions for us, our team is united, and I hope we go as far as possible in our European Cups campaign.”

Maritza will continue their participation on continental level in January, when they will face either Italy’s Unendo Yamamay Busto Arsizio or Belgium’s VDK Gent Dames in the sixteenthfinals of the 2017 CEV Volleyball Cup - Women.

“We have a squad composed of high-level players and I think our ambitions in the CEV Cup tournament are quite realistic, even if our next opponent is a well-known name. Since the beginning of our training season, our strategy has been focusing on preparing well for these games in January. Our participation in the Champions League has changed our mindset and now we are mentally ready to compete with the best on all levels,” stated Ivan Petkov, holding the Golden Tricolor trophy for Best Coach of October. “This award is not for me only. It is for the efforts of the whole team and the whole club.”

“Our club’s policy is based on the ambition to continue building further and further upon what we have achieved so far and our participation in the Champions League was yet another step along the way,” added Boris Halatchev, manager of Maritza, who was also present at the awarding. “I hope we get to play more than two matches for the CEV Cup competition as well, because this international experience is important to us.”

The awarding ceremony at Press Club Bulgaria was preceded by a minute of silence in memory of Brunko Iliev, one of Bulgaria’s greatest volleyball coaches in history, who had passed away on Wednesday at the age of 70.

Photo gallery from the event is available on Maritza’s official Facebook page.