National champions 2016/17 – Women Part Six: South-east
The final installment of the six-part series on national champions of the 2016/17 season focuses on south-east Europe, including Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Four in a row for Nea Ionia
Nea Ionia’s domination in the Greek championship continued in 2016/17, as the team lifted the trophy for the fourth consecutive time. Nea Ionia were simply unstoppable, wining 21 out of 21 matches in Greece’s A1 league.
In addition, Aleksandar Zivulovic’s team finished with a perfect four victories in the Greek cup, which meant a new club record of 25 games without a single defeat.
In the Greek championship, 10 teams competed for the title and, just like least season, Nea Ionia met PAOK in the finals. Nea Ionia won all three matches and once more earned the highest place on the podium.
Thanks to her great performance throughout the season, line player Magda Papa from Nea Ionia was awarded Most Valuable Player.
AC Latsia continue domination
In a modest competition of five teams, AC Latsia won Cyprus’ national championship. AC Latsia recorded a 36:16 victory in the final match against Enosi Neoleas Athienou to lift the trophy.
The final was Latsia’s fourth victory against Athienou this season, and the champions finished the season with 14 wins in 15 matches.
Latsia’s Angjela Dimitrijevic was the goalkeepers’ biggest nightmare as she finished the season as top scorer with 150 goals in 15 matches.
In addition, AC Latsia won the national cup with a clear victory 22-13 against A.O. Aradippou.
First national title for Kastamonu
One year after playing the Challenge Cup Final, Kastamonu GSK won their first ever national championship title.
With coach Hakan Günal at the helm of this small town’s team, the turning point of the season came when Kastamonu defeated Izmir BSB GSK with a buzzer-beating goal.
Yenimahalle – who were favourites to win the 2016/17 trophy – and Kastamonu defeated each other once and each lost one game to unexpected rivals, but they were otherwise unbeaten with 48 points at the end of the season.
Kastamonu’s decisive victory came from the Youth league. According to newly-implemented rules, adult teams are awarded 10 per cent of their youth team’s points. Therefore, Yenimahalle received 1.2 and Kastamonu collected 1.5. Kastamonu won the title with a difference of 0.3 points.
Perfect season for Kvareli
Six teams participated in the Georgian league in 2016/17, with the winner determined in a round robin format.
Kvareli enjoyed a perfect season, with 10 wins in as many games, and were deservedly crowned champions.
Mamuli finished as runners-up with 14 points, while 2016 champions HC Pegasi settled for bronze this time.
Bnot Herzliya raise 10th trophy
Bnot Herzliya beat Maccabi Arazim Ramat gan in the play-off final series to claim the national title, after a 30:30 draw in game one, a 32:25 victory in game two, and a 31:26 win in the third and final match of the series.
It was the 10th national title for the team led by former men’s national player Shlomo Hofman.
Nur claim the title
This year, four teams participated in the national championship, which took place from February to March. The title went to Nur, who beat Azeryol in the final match 27:21. Qarabag took third place.