Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Jug Becomes 2021/22 Croatian Water Polo Champion!

May 25, 2022 - Jug Dubrovnik celebrated against Jadran Split in Game 4 on Tuesday night to become the 2021/22 Croatian water polo champion. 

Dubrovnik water polo club Jug AO thus won their 17th Croatian title on Tuesday night and 39th national champion title in total. It is also the 66th overall trophy for the club.

In the fourth game of this year's Croatian championship final playoff, Jug defeated Jadran Split on penalties at their pool in Gruž, thus ending the series with 3:1 for Jug.

The result was 6:6 after 32 minutes of play, forcing the match into penalties. All four Jug players were accurate with their shots, while Marin Delić and Jerko Marinić Kragić did not score for Jadran.

It was a meeting with few goals, dominated by goalkeepers on both sides, and Jug held a 5:4 advantage from the end of the third quarter until a minute and a half before the end of the match. Then, Konstantin Kharkov scored for 5:5, which was Jadran's first goal after almost 14 minutes of play. Rino Burić then gave Jadran a 6:5 advantage 35 seconds before the final buzzer, i.e., one step closer to the decisive fifth game.

However, Jug started the last attack with seven attackers, which paid off because Hrvoje Benić equalized for 6:6 nine seconds before the end. The game was then decided on penalties, as was the first game, and Jug was more successful in the shootout once again. 

Just before the Croatian champion medals and trophies were distributed, individual awards and trophies for the 2021/22 season were presented in Dubrovnik:

Jerko Marinić Kragić (Jadran)  was named the top scorer in the Croatian Championship (63 goals)

Toni Popadić (Jug) was named the best goalkeeper in the Croatian Championship

Konstantinos Kakaris (Jug) was named the best player in the Croatian Championship.

Congrats to both Jug and Jadran on a season well done!

Source: HVS

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Monday, 20 December 2021

Jadran Split Men's and Women's Teams Win Croatian Water Polo Cup!

December 20, 2021 - In the 30th season, and for the first time, the Jadran Split men's team took home the Croatian Water Polo Cup!

Jadran has won three European trophies (twice European champion, 1992 and 1993, and the Comen Cup), but nothing in domestic competitions, that is, until December 19, 2021, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

In 2021, in the third Croatian Cup final and the third against Jug, the Jadran men's team finally tasted victory. While Jug was after their 17th cup and 66th trophy, in their 101st year, Jadran reached its 15th trophy in history, and the first cup, including the former state cup.

"A good entry into the game helped us later. Congratulations to our goalkeeper, Mate Anić. When he is in goal like this, we can't lose," Jadran captain Anđelo Šetka said after the game. 

Jadran jumped on Jug from the first second of the final, celebrating every good move in the attack and defense. They defended three times with an extra man, and in the first five minutes, they beat the Jug goalkeeper Toni Popadić three times.

It was 4:0 in the last minute of the first quarter, and 5:1 lead seven seconds before the first break. Between Jadran's fourth and fifth goals, Jug managed to score a penalty thanks to Stylianos Argyropoulos.

Entering the 10th minute of the final, Jerko Marinić Kragić shot for the 6:1 Jadran lead, Luka Bukić scored for 7:2, and Antonio Dužević scored for 8:2. 

"The desire for the trophy, a 28-year fast, resulted in this success in these four quarters of the final. There was a huge danger that we would not implode, and in the end, we exploded. Congratulations to the players. We deserved this celebration," said Jadran coach Mile Smodlaka, who as a player had a string of successes with Jug.

Jug had hope in the second half of the second quarter when they scored three goals. They had a 9:6 attack, but they made a mistake. As a result, the best for Jug in the final, Stylianos Argyropoulos, was excluded, and Zvonimir Butić (10:6) used that opportunity with an extra man.

In the third quarter, after three and a half minutes, Jug's net shook for the first time, and Jadran was up by 5. However, Jadran goalkeeper Mate Anić recorded eight saves. Jug's hope then diminished. Less than three minutes before the end of the third quarter, Marino Čagalj scored for 12:6.

Jug coach Vjeko Kobešćak congratulated Jadran on its success.

"Better in every way - psychologically calm, swimming strength, much smarter in defense, they also had a counterattack, and we did not respond to any of their actions. We were catastrophic in the final," Kobešćak emphasized.

"I don't know in what words to describe this. We were motivated by the fact that we had been without a trophy for so long. That carried us. This resulted in a game like this in the final. We have written history," Anić emphasized.

And the Jadran's women's team celebrated, too. 

While Mladost led 10:7, the game was decided on penalties. Even though Jadran missed the first two, coach Aljoša Kunac brought the trophy to Zvončac. 

"It has become common to chase the result, but we opened the final better this time. Mladost turned it around and had those three extra goals less than seven minutes until the end. We did not give up. We managed to equalize," said the Jadran captain Ivana Butić, who was named the tournament's best player.

All four Butić sisters scored in the final - Ivana was the top scorer with four goals, and Jelena, Magdalena, and Domina managed to shake Mladost's net once. Marcela Mišić recorded 11 saves.

Mladost scored three goals for a 3:2 lead and Jadran had another advantage at 5:4 at the beginning of the third quarter. After equalizing at 6:6 and 7:7, then again at 10:10 to go into penalties.

"We came to Zagreb for the Cup; coach Kunac put a lot of effort. Thanks also to the coaches at the pool, who helped, primarily Marko Vlajić. This is a beautiful success," Butić emphasized.

Thuss, after five years, the Croatian Cup women's trophy returned to Split.

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Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Jadran Split Claim First LEN Champions League Win at Home against Dinamo Tbilisi

November 10, 2021 - Water polo club Jadran Split celebrated its first win in the LEN Champions League this season after beating Georgia's Dinamo Tbilisi in the second round on Tuesday night. 

The match began similar to when Jadran faced Barcelona in the first round. The opportunities were there, but there were no goals. Dinamo took advantage of that and took the lead with Sarić's goal, but then Bukić took responsibility and equalized to 1:1 in the fourth minute. A minute later, Delić scored and brought Jadran to the first lead of the match (2:1). Sarić equalized for Dinamo at 2:2, and Marinić-Kragić returned Split to the top with a penalty. 

In the 11th minute, Jadran finally scored with an extra man. Delić found Dobud, who scored for 5:3. In the 14th minute, Šetka scored with an extra man for the first +3 advantage of the match (7:4). Jadran managed to stop Dinamo's resistance and entered the second quarter up 10:5.

That advantage grew to 12:5 with two goals by captain Šetka in the third quarter. In the end, Dinamo came back from 15:8 to 15:11, slightly mitigating the defeat. At that moment, Jadran coach Mile Smodlaka called for a timeout. Dinamo then further reduced the result to 15:12, with Jadran conceding a series of 4 goals. Dinamo was just two goals behind at 15:13 two minutes before the final whistle. 

"I don't know; it's a shame that we allowed it at the end of this game. We need to discuss this amongst each other. Individuals put themselves ahead of the team, and that’s not good. But come on, let this be a warning to us, and maybe something good will come out of this. We started the game well, played properly, and created a great advantage, and then got into that hole," said Mile Smodlaka, Jadran's coach.

Jadran – Dinamo Tbilisi 15:13
(3:2, 7:3, 4:2, 1:6)

Split – Poljud

Spectators: 250.

Referees: Petronilli (Italy), Haentschel (Germany)

Jadran: Podrug, Burić (1), Marinić-Kragić (3), Čagalj, Z. Butić, Pejković (1), Bukić (1), Harkov (1), Delić (1), Dobud (2), Šetka (3), Dužević (2), Anić.

Dinamo Tbilisi: Razmadze, Tešelašvili (1), Dadvani, Imaišvili, Bitadze (1), Jelača (2), Adeišvili, Sarić (3), Giorgadze, Magrakvelidze (2), Vasić (4), Akvlediani, Gvetadze.

Source: Dalmacija Danas

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Monday, 25 January 2021

Mladost Tops Jug to Defend Croatian Cup Title

January 25, 2021 - Mladost tops Jug to defend the Croatian Cup title (15:13).

Mladost defended the Croatian Cup on Sunday, lifting the trophy for the tenth time. Their opponent, Jug, remained with 14 titles and failed to reach their 66th trophy in history. 

Mladost opened the match well, especially with an extra man (which was a great bonus for them throughout the match), and led 4:2 at the end of the first quarter. Mladost was up by two goals in the middle of the second quarter (7:5). Jug fought back with four consecutive goals (Fatović penalty, Papanastasiou, Fatović, and Kržić) for a complete turnaround - 9:7 for Jug!

At half time, the Mladost coach replaced goalkeeper Ivan Marcelić with Jerko Jurlina, which proved to be one of the key decisions of the Mladost bench. However, at the beginning of the third quarter, Merkulov scored from a distance for 10:7, which, combined with Popadić defending a penalty, opened the door for Jug.

Mladost did not give up, and with a great defense and goals by Kharkov and Visković, they were just one goal behind before the last quarter (11:10 for Jug AO). At the beginning of the last quarter, Miloš equalized at 11:11. The last time Jug lead was thanks to Garcia (12:11 - six minutes before the end).

Kharkov attacked with three more goals, and four and a half minutes before the final buzzer, Mladost took the lead at 14:12 and managed to keep that advantage until the end.

The left-handed youngster, Russia national team player Konstantin Kharkov, was chosen as the best player of the final tournament. In addition to 3 goals in the semifinals against Primorje EB, he puzzled the mighty Jug defense, scoring 7 goals in the final.

Zoran Bajić, Mladost coach, said after the match: 

"To my boys, well done, they were fantastic. We were like a cat with 9 lives. We were behind and played great against Jug, a huge, fantastic team, but this is not the first time we have shown character. I have said many times that these are my warriors. Beating Jug in the last two and a half years in four finals is no small thing."

Vjekoslav Kobešćak, coach of Jug AO, added:

"Congratulations to Mladost on the victory. They were a better team today, calmer, and they deserved the victory. We only played one quarter properly, that was the second. The rest wasn't us. This is the second game in a row in which we received 15 goals from Mladost, and with so many goals conceded, serious water polo cannot be played, nor can we win a trophy."

Source: HRS

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Sunday, 29 November 2020

Croatian Water Polo Cup: Final Four Teams Determined

November 29, 2020 - The final four teams have been determined in the Croatian Water Polo Cup finals, which will be played in January.

Mladost Zagreb defeated OVK POŠK in the last round of the Croatian Cup qualifiers 15-6 (3-0, 4-1, 3-3, 5-2) and thus once again confirmed the leading position in group A, while Jug AO and Primorje EB secured the top spots in Group B.

The best scorer of the match between Mladost and POŠK was Mislav Vrlić who scored four goals. Thanks to a well-played qualifying tournament without a defeat, Mladost imposed itself as one of the strongest opponents in the upcoming Final Four of the Croatian Cup, which will be played on January 23 and 24, 2021.

"I think we achieved the ultimate goal, which is to be first in the group, which allows us to have an easier opponent in the Croatian Cup finals. The tournament itself was done really well. I would especially like to refer to the match against Jadran, which was our direct rival in the fight for first place. I think that we functioned like a Swiss watch and although Jadran showed strength and fighting spirit, we were a better opponent and deservedly achieved first place in the group," said Mladost coach Zoran Bajić.

In Dubrovnik, VK Jug AO beat VK Primorje 13-4, while EB Solaris defeated KPK 21-1. Despite the defeat, Primorje EB took second place in qualifying group B, and Solaris failed to achieve a place in the Final Four despite a big victory, and thanks to the goal differential. 

Rijeka will be a host in the Final Four as Primorje EB managed to qualify for the final tournament.

The semifinal pairs are as follows: Mladost - Primorje EB and Jug Adriatic osiguranje - Jadran. The final tournament will be played on January 23 and 24, 2021.

Qualification Group A:

OVK Pošk - HAVK Mladost 6-15 (0-3, 1-4, 3-3, 2-5)
Medveščak - Mornar 6-14 (0-1, 1-4, 1-6, 4-3)

1. HAVK Mladost 4    4    0    0    65:24    +41    12
2. VK Jadran Split 4    3    0    1    62:30    +32    9
3. VK Mornar BS 4    2    0    2    33:45    -12    6
4. VK Medveščak 4    1    0    3    34:62    -28    3
5. OVK POŠK 4    0    0    4    22:55    -33    0

Qualification Group B:

Galeb MR - Zadar 1952 12-8 (5-3, 2-1, 2-1, 3-3) 
Primorje EB - Jug AO 4-13 (0-4, 0-3, 1-4, 3-2)  
Solaris - KPK 21-1 (2-0, 7-0, 3-0,9-1 )

1. VK Jug AO 5    5    0    0    95:26    +69    15
2. VK Primorje EB 5     3    1    1    72:34    +38    10
3.  VK Solaris 5    3    1    1    72:36    +36    10
4.VK KPK  5     2    0    3    45:74    -29    6
5.VK Galeb MR 5     1    0    4    36:84    -48    3
6. VK Zadar 1952 5    0    0    5    27:93    -66    0

Source: HRT

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Sunday, 19 July 2020

Croatian Water Polo Championship Finals: Jug Leads Mladost 1:0

July 19, 2020 - In the first game of the Croatian Championship finals, which took place in Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik water polo club Jug defeated Zagreb's Mladost with a better performance in the penalty shootout for a score of 18-16 (5-2, 4-4, 3-4, 1-3 - 5-3) to lead the series 1:0.

HRT reports that Mladost did not have the strength to beat Jug twice in Dubrovnik in just four days after they celebrated to win the Adriatic Regional League title on Wednesday. The Dubrovnik team started the match much better and were up by three points at half time. Mladost was also left without their best player, Milos Cuk, due to a penalty. However, the Zagreb club proved to be more physically prepared again, gained an advantage, and scored five points before the end of the match with a goal by American player Alex Bowen.

In the penalty shootout, all five players of Jug hit the net, while Jug goalkeeper Popadic defended Luka Bukic's shot.

Hrvoje Benic scored five goals for Jug, while Luka Bukic, Konstantin Harkov and Alex Bowen scored three goals each for Mladost.

The finals feature the only two clubs with a double-digit number of Croatian championships won - Jug has 15 titles, and Mladost 10.

The second match will be played in Zagreb, on July 22, starting at 6:45 PM, and the third match will be in Dubrovnik on July 25 (8:15 PM). Possible fourth and fifth matches will be played in Zagreb on July 29 and Dubrovnik on August 2.

Jadran Split and Solaris Sibenik met for the first game in the series for 3rd place on Saturday night at the outdoor Zvoncac pool in Split. The Split club defeated Solaris 13:9. The two clubs will meet for the second match on Monday, July 20, 2020, in Sibenik. 

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Thursday, 2 July 2020

Croatian Water Polo Championships: Jug and Mladost Better in First Round of Semis

July 2, 2020 - The semifinal round of the Croatian Water Polo Championships kicked off on Wednesday in Dubrovnik and Zagreb. Jug met Solaris, while Mladost met Jadran. 

Dubrovnik's Jug AO and Zagreb's Mladost achieved victories in the first matches of the semifinals of the Croatian Championship on Wednesday, July 1, 2020.

The famous Dubrovnik side topped Solaris Sibenik 17-6 at the Gruz swimming pool, while Mladost was better than Jadran Split 13-12 at the Mladost outdoor swimming pool along the Sava.

Interestingly, Solaris took a 2-0 lead, but Jug equalized to 2-2 by the end of the first quarter, and then won the second and third quarters 10-2. The Dubrovnik side was convincing in the last period with 5-2, for the final score of 17-6.

Jug AO was led to victory by Obradovic, who scored six goals, and Fatovic, who scored three goals. Solaris, on the other hand, had six players who scored one goal each. The second match of this semifinal meeting will be played on Friday, July 3, in Sibenik.

In the second semifinal match on Wednesday, Jadran met Mladost in Zagreb. 

Mladost led 4-0 lead, and at the beginning of the last quarter, they were up by five goals (10-5). However, a rocky ending gave the Zagreb club a narrow victory. Jadran managed a score of 7-3 in the last quarter, threatening Mladost's secure celebration.

Mladost was led to victory by Cuk, who scored four goals, while Harkov scored three goals, and Milos and Bukic scored two goals each. Setka was the best for Jadran with four goals, and Krapic followed with three goals to be the most efficient among the visiting team.

The second semifinal match is on Saturday in Split.

Recall, two victories are needed in the semifinal round to secure a spot in the final. Thus, a third semifinal game is theoretically possible.

Source: HRT

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Thursday, 21 May 2020

The Wall Street Journal Calls Ratko Rudic Best Coach in World

May 21, 2020 - One of the world’s most respected and serious media outlets, The Wall Street Journal, featured Croatian water polo coach Ratko Rudic in the article titled “The World's Greatest Coast is Not Who You Think". reports that they then explained who they were referring to: "Ratko Rudic, a man who won four Olympic gold medals with three different national teams and who recently retired."

As he recently said in an interview with Index, Rudic also revealed to WSJ reporters that he is enjoying retirement by painting abstract works inspired by Dali and Pollock while listening to jazz by Mingus and Marsalis because, as he says, it is a "great combination".

Journalists Joshua Robinson and Ben Cohen explained that if most Americans have never heard the name Ratko Rudic, it is only because most Americans do not follow water polo.

To bring readers closer to the hero of the story, the WSJ reporters write that players feared Rudic as they did the ruthless Bill Belichick, the legendary American football coach, but at the same time, adored him as John Woode, the greatest coach of university basketball.

Rudic's impressive achievements are listed: appearances at nine Olympic Games, leading five national teams, winning five coaching and one player medal, of which as many as four are gold. It sounds almost unbelievable that 28 years have passed between his first and last Olympic gold medal. Thus, according to Olympic historian Bill Mallone - Rudić is, therefore, the longest-living athlete.

"After he did all this, led the national teams of Yugoslavia, Italy, the USA, Croatia and Brazil, a pandemic had to happen to drive Rudic into retirement," the text reads.

His former players say Rudic was the most inspiring leader they have ever met.

"He always knew he could get more from players than players can even imagine," said UCLA University water polo coach Adam Wright.

The article also recalled that the US national team, composed of students from the elite Berkeley and Stanford, realized who their coach was on two occasions. The first, after swimming drills went from three to 14 thousand meters, and when during preparations in Italy, where they practiced with the national team there, Rudic went crazy at the chef who gave the hosts vegetables at a joint dinner, and his team none. 

With the slogan "we must suffer", Rudic exposed the Americans to exhausting, painful training for eight hours a day, twice a day for four hours. The players also had to accept Rudic's specialty - underwater wrestling - where the players had to keep each other underwater.

Given the brutal methods, charisma, and success, the authors of the text in the WSJ call Rudic "Michael Jordan with a better mustache".

You can read the full piece on WSJ here.

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Sunday, 23 February 2020

LEN Champions League Recap: Mladost Falls to European Champion, Jug Wins in Hungary

February 23, 2020 - Mladost Zagreb, Jug Dubrovnik, and Jadran Split played in the 9th round of the LEN Champions League this week.

Mladost Zagreb lost to current European champion Ferencvaros 6-9 (0-2, 1-2, 3-3, 2-2) in the LEN Champions League 9th round game in Group B, played at the Sava Pool on Thursday.

Lovre Milos and Konstantin Kharkov scored two goals for Mladost, while Marton Vamos and Nicolas Constantin-Bicari scored two each for Ferencvaros.

Mladost missed the opportunity to increase the score in the first two quarters when they scored just one goal. On the other hand, the Budapest club scored the first two goals of the game at the very end of the first quarter and took control of the match.

Thanks to goals by Kharkov and Milos at the very beginning of the third quarter, Mladost was down by one (3-4), but Ferencvaros responded via Constantin-Bicari and Varga and returned to a three-goal advantage.

In the final quarter, after Bukic's goal for 5-7, there was a confrontation between Biljaka and Jansik. After long deliberation, the referees decided to punish Mladost with a player less for four minutes. The game thus ended 6-9.

With the away win against Szolnok 16:12 (4:4, 5:3, 5:3, 2:2), Jug Dubrovnik returned to second place in Group A. Recall, Jug was behind the leading Barceloneta, who beat Olympiakos away 15-9.

Jug dominated from the beginning of the match and started with a 3-0 lead. Szolnok was in trouble early. Still, by the end of the first quarter, Szolnok recovered and equalized at 4-4.

Jug did not allow the Hungarian club to get ahead at any point in the game - and was up 8-5 with a 3-0 series. From that point on, Jug had an easy finish for the 16-12 result.

Toni Popadic made 13 saves for Jug, while Loren Fatovic and Hrvoje Benic scored four goals each. Daniel Angyal, Gavril Subotic, David Jansik, and Radomir Drasovic scored two goals each for Szolnok.

With this victory, Jug directly helped Jadran Herceg Novi, who is now fourth place in Group A. That win came against Jadran Split (14-11).

Namely, Jadran Herceg Novi achieved a crucial victory against Jadran Split. With a 14-11 score, they continue the fight for the final eight.

Jadran Split held their own until the final quarter, in what was otherwise a fair fight. The Montenegrin club eventually celebrated in the end.

Petar Tesanovic led Jadran Herceg Novi with 15 saves, while Uros Vucurovic scored five goals and Konstantin Averka scored three. For Jadran Split, Andelo Setka scored three goals, while van Domagoj Zovic, Duje Pejkovic and Ante Viskovic scored two.

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