Ugis KRASTIŅŠ: “Competition in the men’s super League has apparently grown”

My call to the head coach of the Lviv club “Bark-Kagani” to the Ugis Krastins caught Latvian specialist in Finland, where he now lives with his family. And before starting our conversation about volleyball, I asked hundreds of people about how he conducts the quarantine associated with the coronavirus.

We, like many people in Ukraine, these days almost all the time at home. Here, too, imposed quarantine, but the government of Finland to a greater extent does not oblige, and recommends its citizens to perform certain actions. And as the locals are law-abiding, then they adhere to these recommendations, try to minimize the different contacts and so on the street little people. Waiting for improvement and I hope that soon the restrictive measures will be canceled.

You caught the imposition of quarantine in our country, while staying in Lviv. How did you react to this situation in the team?
– Of course, everyone reacted with understanding. Remember that on Friday and Saturday, we played two home matches of the last round of the group stage with the “Innovator” (by the way, they have gone without an audience), and on Monday at practice told the guys that in this situation you cannot risk the health to be sent home and, if possible, keeping yourself in shape while at home. When it became clear that the championship of Ukraine finished ahead of schedule, the players and coaches officially gone on vacation.

– The “bark-Kazani” became the winner of the first stage of the Ukrainian men’s super League. What do You think, was it possible to determine the national champion at the tournament?
– I think not. Therefore, the Executive Committee of Federation of volleyball of Ukraine took absolutely the right decision. After all, the championship regulations States that all prizes are based on the results of matches of the playoffs. And so, as these fights were not held, and medals will be awarded costs.

– Ugis, You have completed the fourth season of working in Ukraine. What impressions do You have of him in General and from the game of Your players in particular?
Talking about championship level, just want to note that compared to the previous two years it has leveled off considerably. Both Vinnytsia club amounted to us quite a serious competition and not a coincidence that all of our four defeats in the group stage we lost from them. Strong and competitive was the debutant of the Superleague Zhytomyr club “Itici of ZNAEW” firmly entrenched in fourth place. From match to match, added Kharkiv “Yurakademiya”, which in some games has provided serious resistance leaders. Some fights looked good Chernihiv “Petrel-shvsm” and Kharkov “Lokomotiv”, completed with mostly young players. And only Khmelnitsky “Innovator” standing mansions this season because of financial problems the team was unable to properly harden and lost all matches.
As for our club, that impressions of the season were good. Despite the fact that in the offseason we lost Central locking Yuriy Semenyuk, who moved to Belgium, we managed to stabilize the game and, as a result, the “Bark-Kazani” managed to take first place in the group stage. We for the third time ever (and second consecutive) have won the super Cup and CEV Cup has reached the 1/8 finals. And only in the Cup we were not able to complete the task.

– Which of the 28 matches of the group stage of the men’s Superleague right now, You have to remember the plus and which minus?
– You know, it’s difficult to answer this question. The fact that in the group stage were not instructed in whatever was to be the first. Yes, we tried it, but at the same time, we had the opportunity to experiment a bit with the composition, besides, we looked at some of the games as preparation for the playoffs. So often allow themselves to rotate, allowing volleyball players received playing practice. For example, in one of the dual matches we played diagonal Yuri Tomin, in the other in this position acted Michael Bieber. The same situation could be with a binder, a doigrovshchik, Central locking. Good games, of course, there was more.

– Let’s return to the Final four of the national Cup. When it became known to its participants, the vast majority of experts and fans of volleyball has been pre – “handed” Lviv trophy. What happened in the Zhytomyr and why the team failed to win the tournament?
– I’ll start with the fact that I am trying to divide the opponents into strong or weak and urge the players not to divide matches on important or not very important. Everything is decided on the field and not on the sidelines. And the fact that people give the predictions – it is their right, the fans and you journalists. I will tell you frankly that we are very seriously preparing for the finals of the Cup and underestimating opponents of the speech was not. But here we had the same case, which is a well-known trainer of Olympic Champions, once said that in sports there is no logic.
Despite good quality training in the semifinals with the home team, the team played very badly and tactically, and technically. Again, this sometimes happens in volleyball, plus a fortune from us, too, turned away that night. As a result, we lost 0:3 and lost the right to play in the final. A small consolation for us was the victory in the match for third place, however the main task we did not meet.

– The club must have been very frustrated?
– Of course, not only the leadership, but also our fans. All they, and we, the players and coaches were upset. However, life goes on and one of the main objectives of the club is not only to win but also to show their attitude, to strive to play well. And victory in the Championships and tournaments should become an additional bonus in our work.
                    
– But You all turned out in Thessaloniki in the second leg 1/16 final of CEV Cup. You are such positive emotions, perhaps, have not experienced?

– You are right. After losing at home 1:3, we responsibly prepare for the re-match and arrived in Greece three days before the game. We even managed to go on the basketball Eurocup match of the local team that took place in that hall where had to play us. Children plunged into the atmosphere that could be on our game, we were allowed to train at this site. That we started the game very confident, aggressive, which the opponent did not expect. Here we managed to show good volleyball and get a positive result. It is clear that we are expected to succeed, but to win four (!) games in a row from the strong Greek club and even his field, it is unlikely that anyone could have imagined.

– And the Austrian-German club “Hypo Tirol” in the 1/8 finals of the CEV Cup was a chance to go or he was obviously stronger than our champion?
– I don’t think this club was clearly stronger than us or the same Greek team PAOK. Perhaps a more balanced, Yes. But here, the situation with the second leg turned out completely opposite. We had to fly early in the morning from Lviv to Germany, but due to the bad weather we had to spend a lot of time at the airport. Then us late in the evening he was sent to Vienna, and to the destination in the German city of Munich, we traveled by bus and arrived there just at 5 a.m. on game day. One can only imagine what was the condition of the players. Two batches of guys still stand, and the third did not have enough forces. Still, the exit in the 1/8 finals of the CEV Cup we consider a good result.

– Who were leaders in the “Sarcoma-Kazani” in the course of the last season, whom You could rely?
The strength of our team, in my opinion, was that we got a solid team with no clear leaders. This role could take on any of our volleyball player in a single match and become the best player. So I am grateful to all the guys for what they contribute to the overall success.

– You already know how to pass the preparing for the new season and what changes will occur in the team?
– I think that about it to speak still early. Let’s all wait for the end of quarantine and then we will decide. The main thing that all were healthy.

– Ugis, thank you very much for the interview. Indeed, we all hope that the situation of coronavirus has been resolved positively as soon as possible and athletes could train and play. If You don’t mind, let’s in a few days we’ll talk and talk about the men’s team of Ukraine in volleyball, where You are the head coach. Moreover, our team had a very successful season.
– I agree. Always glad to communicate and waiting for a call.

Interviewed by Igor ZARZYCKI

PS Interview with Ugis Krastins on the performance of the Ukrainian team last season read on our website in a few days.

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