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23.06.2016, 18:22◄ last page     


DOMESTIC LEAGUES: Not too many changes on the thrones in this corner of Europe.
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National champions of Europe - Women part 5 - South-East

The domestic leagues have come to an end and we now approach the draws of the 2016/17 European season, starting with the qualification draw on 29 June.

In six parts, the spotlight is shone on each of the national champions and their path to glory. The penultimate part consists of teams from Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia.

CYPRUS
AS Latsia retained the throne

Exactly as last year it all boiled down to a final match day showdown for the Cypriot championship.

AS Latsia, who needed any win to secure the title against their arch rivals EN Athienou, eventually got away with both the impressive victory and the trophy, after winning 34:18 in the 12th and last game of the season.

Although Latsia took the title for the secon straight year it was only the first trophy for their coach Anni Ekaterineskou.

GREECE
OF Nea Ionia' rule extended

The girls of OF Nea Ionia dominated again as the defending champions defeated PAOK Thesaloniki in the final best-of-three series.

The Athenians backed by stellar performances of Magda Kepesidou, who was later announced the league’s MVP, won the first game away 26:24 and clinched the title already in the second game 30:25.

TURKEY
Yenimahalle BSK take another title under their belt

It was one of the thoughest seasons in history of the Turkish league as none of the top five teams avoided defeats in the regular season.

The Challenge Cup finalists Kastamonu BGSK lost in the quarter-final of the play-off.

Yenimahalle BSK, who were defending the title from last year finished the regular season in fourth place, but in very intensed semi-final matches they prevailed 3:2 against Ardesen GSK, who claimed the national cup for the first time in history at Yenimahalle's expense in return.

Ardesen GSK and Turkish women’s national team head coach Hikmet Vurgun left the club after this series and declared that he wants to focus solely on the national team.

Serdar Eler's charges had much lighter work in the final against Muratpasa BSK from Antalya and closed the final series already in three matches (3:0).

Yeliz Özel, most valuable player of Turkish handball according to many experts, lifted the trophy with joy and thanked her teammates and her opponents for being part of such a challenging competition.

GEORGIA
Pegasi flying high

HC Pegasi won their first champion's title. The team coached by Nino Tsivtsivadze took the second place in the regular season, finishing four points behind Kvareli. But in the play-offs, they were unstoppable.
In the semi-final, Pegasi beat Mamuli 35:27, and in the final game, they were stronger than Kvareli — 34:23.

ARMENIA
FIMA's narrow win

Just four teams took part in the national league, and in the final, FIMA Yerevan narrowly beat Humanitarian College 36:35. In the third-place match, HBMD was too strong for Karabakh and won 28:23.

AZERBAIJAN
Garadagh retain their title

There are two professional clubs in Azerbaijan, Garadagh HC Baku and ABU Baku, and it was hardly surprising that they faced each other in the final match of the national league. Just like a year before, Garadagh were the winning side. However, the fight was very tight as they won by just one goal. The bronze medals went to HC Nasimi.

ISRAEL
Herzilya with the double

Last season, Herzliya HC dominance was stopped after eighth championship title in a row by  Holon HC, but at the end of 2015/16 – Herzilya did it again.

With new coach, Shlomo Hoffman (ex-coach of Israel men national team, and the current head coach of women national team of Israel), Herzilya showed during the all season its qualities and finished at the top of the table  with 17 wins from 18 matches (goal difference: 675:322). At the final play off series, Herzilya won against Hapoel Rishon Lezion two matches – 32:22 and 31:21.

Herzilya completed a double after winning the cup trophy (32:28 against Holon) and completed a win of 18 titles (9 champions and 9 cups) from last 10 seasons.


TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev, Fulya Oktem, Ron Barabasch / br

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