Having only been a member of the FIVB since their approval in 2015, Kosovo has been trying to improve their play to the level of their very talented competitors around the world.
The team was the 221st member of the FIVB and took their first step onto the international stage at the 2018 FIVB World Championship Men’s European Qualifier event. After being swept the first two days of the competition, the Kosovo seemed to be headed down that same path once again.
The Romanian squad took easy sets one and two victories of 25-12 and 25-15. With the two easy wins under their belt, the Romania squad fell relaxed in the third, giving the Balkan team the perfect opportunity to swoop in and pick up a win. This is exactly what Kosovo did, as they took advantage of the lackadaisical play of the Romanian team.
Late in the third, Kosovo held a 24-21 lead, a net touch by a Romanian player ended the set and wrote history for the Balkan squad, winning their first international set ever.
The Kosovo team captain, Valon Nikqi said, “Of course the set victory is very important to us. It is also good that while the previous two matches we fell apart in the third set and lost it by a wide margin, today we were more focused.”
A number of mistakes on the Romanian side helped out the Kosovo side, but nonetheless, they were able to pull it together in the third to show some promise for the teams future. Despite that third set win, they were not able to keep that momentum running as they were downed by the Romanian squad in the fourth to end with scores in favor of Romania 3-1, (25-12, 25-15, 21-25, 25-15).