Greece Men’s Volleyball Struggling to Find Good Results

  0 Brandon Johnson | October 02nd, 2017 | European volleyball, International Volleyball, News

Greece men’s volleyball took the world by storm in the summer of 2004. As the host country for the Olympic Games that year, the team earned an automatic spot in the volleyball tournament and made the most of the opportunity. In the first round of pool play, the team won three matches while losing two and held a tiebreaker to finish in 2nd place. Along the way, they defeated Tunisia in three sets, Poland in four sets, and France in five sets.

In the quarterfinals, the magical run came to an end in the fifth set against the United States. In front of a sold out crowd of 9,300 fans at Peace and Friendship Stadium in Athens, Antrej Kravarik led the team with 22 kills and 4 blocks while Marios Gkiourdas chipped in 10 kills and a match high 6 aces.

Since that match, Greek volleyball has come upon hard times. Greece has yet to qualify for the Olympic Games since that match, has not qualified for the FIVB World Championship since 2006, and has not earned a place in the European Championships since 2009. The team competed in the FIVB World League off and on between the years of 1993 and 2005, finishing as high as 5th place in 2004. However, the team did not participate in the yearly event between the years of 2006-2014. When they did make a return to the World League, it was in group 3 and even then the team has struggled to show good results, finishing in 25th place, 27th place and 36th place the last three years.

Even the professional teams in Greece are struggling. Although the A1 Ethniki league, the highest professional league in Greece, is still considered to be one of the top leagues in the world, their teams have not been showing consistent results at international tournaments. Greece has regularly sent teams to the CEV Champions League, but their last medal was won in 2007/2008 by Iraklis. At the 2016/2017 Men’s CEV Cup, Greece sent two teams to the 64 team tournament. But Olympiacos fell in the round of 32, while PAOK Thessaloniki made it the final 16 before losing to Tours VB of France.

So what is next for Greek volleyball? The Greek national team will look to get younger as the average age of their World League roster was 28.7 years old. However, their two top scores, Rafail Koumentakis (82 points) and Meneloas Kokkinakis (62 points), are both only 24 years old so the future looks bright. The team also made a good run at the 2017 European Championship qualification tournament but fell just short of earning a spot.

Volleyball in Greece has lost its shine since that magical night in 2004 in Athens. If Greece volleyball wants to recapture the excitement the volleyball world felt at the 2004 Olympic Games, the national team, as well as Greek professional teams, will need to start accumulating better results in international tournaments.

Leave a Reply


Don't want to miss anything?

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive our latest updates!