Now let’s take a look at the lower part of Polish ranking. We start with AZS Warszawa, the team of many surprises. AZS Politechnika Warszawa started a whole series of unexpected victories in the second round of the season.
They won with Jastrzebski Wegiel (one of the Great Four of PlusLiga) 3:1. After an exception attitude during a few next games, all fans were waiting to their meeting with Skra Belchatow. AZS at home beat vice-champion and made their followers crazy happy. With a brand new head coach Jakbu Bednaruk (former setter), who just started his career (or – what he likes to call it – adventure) on this position, Warszawa turned out to be the greatest surprise of this season. Maciej Zajder, the middle blocker of AZS is a leader of the best blockers (with 40 points). Also Marcin Nowak is having a great season by giving his experience and huge support in attack and service. Warszawa has been placed on the first half of ranking for a long time, but now they are on position number 6 with 22 points.
Effector Kielce is the first team with less than 20 points and that’s when the real border line is. They manage to win with teams from the bottom of ranking (no problem with winning over Olsztyn, Czestochowa or Gdansk), but they were certainly hoping for some more. During the 10th round they made a step forward by keeping one point with Jastrzebski Wegiel, but now it’s all about survive this round and advance into play offs. Two foreign players – Nikolay Penchev and Armando Danger – can give a great support, but they not always have a good day. Effector finished this year with victory over AZS Olsztyn 3:2.
Indykpol AZS Olsztyn was for some time close to Kielce, but now they are staying behind with the loss of 4 points. The truth is, Olsztyn has a bad luck too. Their Bulgarian player, Metodi Ananiev, was expected to be a star when he was hired for the previous season, but the injury eliminated him for a whole year. This time, Ananiev got injured during the Memorial of Zdzislaw Ambroziak in Warsaw, just before this current season. Lately Piotr Gruszka has come to AZS to help his younger colleagues. They also have a very talented young player, Bartosz Krzysiek, who for now is the second best scorer with 247 points (5.15 per set). Indykpol won his last game about a month ago with AZS Czestochowa and for now they are 8th team of PlusLiga.
Lotos Trefl Gdansk made a big surprise a quite time ago, by winning with the leader – Zaksa Kedzierzyn-Kozle. Their points Lotos gained during the 5th round, with AZS Czestochowa. They also beat AZS Warszawa in tie break. However, their point collection is not very impressive and they have to remain on the 9th position for now.
AZS Czestochowa has really dark period in it’s own history. This club has a very rich and honorable tradition, but today, with no money and extremely young squad, it’s very difficult to survive in PlusLiga. One of the biggest surprises of this season was the way in which AZS gained their first victory. It was on the 6th round, when they met with… Polish champion, Asseco Resovia! Then Czestochowa picked one set with Belchatow and one point with Zaksa. Earlier this year they also lost David Murek, so the situation became even harder. Their last game of this year was a defeat with AZS Warszawa 1:3.
The second half of PlusLiga ranking
6. AZS Politechnika Warszawska – 22 points, 7 (victories) / 6 (lost games)
7. Effector Kielce – 14 points, 5 / 8
8. Indykpol AZS Olsztyn – 10 points, 3 / 10
9. LOTOS Trefl Gdansk – 9 points, 3 / 10
10. Wkret-met AZS Czestochowa – 4 points, 1 / 12