President Maciej Kochański and the Opole monsters
Photo: Andrzej Klimek
The Opole Monsters and Uni Opole volleyball players, who debuted in the Tauron League, the highest league this season, are in the seventh place in the tournament table. They became the best league player of thirteen years! Not only did they stay in the lower leagues, but they also fought the best in the playoffs and (wolf) teeth.
Beata Łabutin: First season and seventh place at the end. Was this a plan immediately after his promotion to the Tauron League?
Maciej Kochański, President of Uni Opole: Of course not, although we did not intend to remain modest. Knowing the club’s financial capabilities, all the pros and cons of being a newcomer, as well as the big challenge of turning Uni Opole into a joint stock company, our main plan was to play in such a way that it would stay in the league without any special stress and fight for every point. Of course, before the season, many showed our team as ambitious to get into the lower league, which is written in a kind of newcomer status.
And you broke the pattern …
– We knew what the starting position meant, but from the beginning of the season, looking at the attitude, commitment, appetite and ambition of the girls, we began to think that it could be better than we thought. Fighting between 10-12 places to catch is probably not a pretty ambitious plan. There is also a seventh place, which we can probably describe as a surprise.
How was the season?
– Immediately after the progress, it became clear that most of our players remain with us. So at the beginning of the season, we had the advantage that we had a harmonious team that knew each other perfectly, while for many teams it was still a period of change, transformation and transfer. That’s why we took the option that while the playoffs are the most important part of the season for most teams, it will be the start of the season for us. We struggled to get away from the drop zone as quickly as possible and then score enough points to play quietly.
The plan worked.
– Yes, even if we lost in the first match against the Polish champion “Chemik Polis”. However, I think that the debut issue, the opening match of the league, the television broadcast, the fact that the whole world of volleyball is in front of us worked, and the stress was a bit too much. However, each subsequent match showed that the female wolf consistently fulfills the intended plan and score. Then came a moment’s break, and the other teams were better prepared, both mentally and tactically. However, at the end of the season, the girls struggled with their heads held high; Knowing they had to stay in the league, they fought quietly for every point to reach the playoffs. Control. It is true that the girls lost in two meetings with Chemik Police, but the fight for seventh place with BKS Bostik Bielsko-Biała was enchanting. First the winning match for Bielsko at our place in Opole, then our victory in Bielsko and – like Hitchcock – the gold set and the difference of two points. I think that the seventh place with this difficulty will be a reference point for newcomers for a long time, because it is the best result achieved by a newcomer in thirteen years!
What are the ambitions of the Opole monsters next season?
– Preparations are in fact continuous. While the main work for the training staff is the work from the first match of the season, the management continues uninterrupted for the organizational staff. We already have to think about funding for the season, which is quite difficult at Opole, because it is a concrete city with no large industry, no money from large state-owned companies. The financial base here should be created on the basis of a smaller business, so that people who want to be with us can join the volleyball fight. We are creating a kind of subscription system based on small, systematically transferred amounts, and thus partially building the club’s budget.
We must also remember that as an unknown newcomer, the element of surprise, which we spent without big names in the squad, is no longer available to us (laughs). No one will lower us anymore, and we take this into account, of course, we have more difficult work ahead, including tactical work.
Points, tactics, budget … What about emotions?
Above all, pride. The seventh place in the table of the highest level volleyball players is the success of the team, a cause of great satisfaction for the University of Opole and the city. We are the youngest team in the league with the smallest budget, but I think our wolf teeth will be bitten here and there.
Interview with Beata Łabutin