Tirana, Albania, March 3, 2017. Partizani and Barleti Volley claimed on Friday the top honours in the 2016-2017 edition of the Albanian national cup, the second most prestigious domestic trophy in the Balkan country after the national league. The final stage of the national cup took place at Asllan Rusi sports hall in Tirana for three days after the competition had started back in December with the first elimination rounds. It was a real Volleyball party with the fans enjoying a number of close and exciting matches before Partizani and Barleti Volley emerged victorious to stand on top of the podium.
Barleti Volley claimed the women’s competition after routing Tirana 3-0 in the gold medal match (25-20, 25-20, 25-11). Barleti Volley have not lost a match this season so far in the national league and national cup and fully deserved to win this title. In the semis the day before, Barleti beat Partizani 3-1 (25-22, 18-25, 25-19, 28-26) whereas Tirana won a dramatic match with Teuta 3-2 (18-25, 16-25, 25-18, 25-23, 15-12) after coming back from two sets down. Tirana tried to put up a fight in the title-deciding match as well but the players in white and blue shirts felt the fatigue from the semi-final and ended up losing in three sets, as Barleti Volley controlled the match from start to end. “We have reached our first goal this season, winning the national cup, but we are still fighting for the national championship,” said Barleti Volley head coach Hasan Gurabardhi. “This victory and trophy motivate us to continue the same way for the rest of the season.”
Partizani TIRANA won the men’s competition for the first time in 23 years – and in their comeback season after they ‘went missing’ for 11 years from Albania’s Volleyball scene. In a close and truly exciting final match, they beat Vllaznia SHKODËR 3-2 (25-23, 22-25, 20-25, 25-15, 17-15). Both teams deserved the victory but Partizani showed nerves of steel in a dramatic ending of the match where they used mistakes made by their opponents to their advantage. “We are happy because we crowned our comeback to Albania’s Volleyball family with this trophy tonight,” said their head coach Ylli Tomorri.
As for Partizani, they first had won the semi-final with Erzeni SHIJAK 3-0 (25-23, 25-13, 25-15) whereas Vllaznia had to fight more in their matchup with Farka Volley, which they eventually claimed by 3-1 (18-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-17), thus taking their revenge for a loss they had suffered only two days before in the national league.