Mentor Kharkov “Yurakademiya” Sergei Kovalenko the 2019-2020 season debut as head coach of the men’s club of Ukrainian volleyball super League. He himself, as a player, and for many years played for this team with it has won the Cup and became the winner of the national championship.
– Sergei Vladimirovich, the men’s volleyball Superleague were played all the group stage matches, but not in time to host the games of the playoffs. Volleyball Federation of Ukraine decided not to continue the championship, and to finish the season. How your club reacted to this situation?
We all live in our country in the same conditions, so if the leaders of the Federation made this decision, I believe that it is correct. Of course, we first wanted to finish the season a little later, the quarantine was extended and, unfortunately, this has not succeeded.
– A similar situation happened in the basketball super League, however it was decided to determine the champion and medalists of the tournament. You have the same medals were not to hand. What can you say about this?
– And here I support the decision of our Federation. The fact that this season teams from the top half of the table as a whole was approximately equal. Moreover, we would be quite able to fight for medals. At least the first opponent in the playoffs we would have a club “Itici of ZNAEW” we have already beaten in the group stage. So, as could happen in the playoffs, predict it was very difficult.
Game of the last round were already in front of empty stands. How are they, in Your opinion, was different from the previous games?
– Differed rather significantly. The audience always added emotion, especially we feel when you are at home, because our fans are among the most noisy in the country. By the way, I take the opportunity to thank all the fans “Yurakademiya” for the support and for the fact that in their free time they come to volleyball. As for the official games of the championship last round, we are talking about, they turned out frankly boring and was more like test matches that we conduct, usually in the offseason or in the pauses between rounds. I should add that as a player and as a coach with the phenomenon, I, like many of us, faced for the first time.
By the way, You reminded yourself as a player and I remembered how just recently in January of this year, fans were able to see You again on the court in the match of veterans of Kharkiv volleyball. What was the thrill of the game?
– First of all, I want to say that the match was dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the rector of the National law University Vasily Yakovlevich Doing, initiated in 1995 and was created by our club. Met two veterans of the Kharkiv teams – “Lokomotiv” and “Yurakademiya”, which for many years was the leading in Ukraine. It was great to meet the guys, to come back, if I may say so, in those years. Pleased with the fact that the stands of the sports complex were a lot of spectators and most of them probably remembered us as players. Thanks to the organizers for the meeting and I want to say that these matches are, of course, should be conducted in the future to promote volleyball in our country.
– Let’s go back to the end of the season, which was the debut for You as a coach. How can You evaluate?
We most of the tournament was in fifth place and in that position he ended the season. Given that the majority of our players are young guys aged 20 to 23 years, I believe that at the moment, this place is quite acceptable for our team. Although I repeat that in the playoffs we could fight for a higher place. If we talk about the level of play our boys, of course, was a notable instability in their actions that is often inherent in young people. For example, the team could play one more game with a strong opponent, and the second day to play poorly. So there is work to do in the near future. Incidentally, despite the fact that the season ended early, all our volleyball players had a specific job, how to keep fit at home. We talk on the phone with them constantly and keep our finger on the pulse.
– You said that Your team is one of the youngest in the super League. Where do you get your reserves?
– Throughout its 25-year existence “Yurakademiya” constantly replenished and continues to grow by inmates of the Kharkiv regional College of physical culture, which Director is Anatoly Popov. With the coaches and teachers we are constantly working in full contact and, therefore, young people can determine who is on their performance can approach the adult team. Next we have to more closely monitor these players and after graduation they get into “a Yurakademiya”. And generally speaking, the pupils of this school can be seen not only in our club but also in many other Ukrainian teams, and even abroad. For example, one of the most famous now a Ukrainian volleyball players and the captain of our national team Oleg Carpenter, who this season played for the Italian “Perugia”, four years was brought up in Kharkov school in the Department of volleyball.
– Are there already plans for next season? Will it be possible to keep the main part?
Almost all of our volleyball players have existing contracts, so hopefully the core of the team we will be able to save. Of course, we will try to increase the players that we will need. After the end of quarantine will make a decision how to prepare in the summer for the new season. A challenge for the guys again will raise the maximum to be among the winners.
Talked to Alexei and Igor ZARZYCKI