Jug water polo players won their 3rd straight title in the Regional League, as they defeated Mladost Zagreb in the final game of the competition. The final tournament (F4) was held in front of Jug’s fans, in Dubrovnik.
Mladost was better than Jadran Herceg Novi in the semifinals. Jug beat Jadran Split with an ease, so the final game was another Croatian “Water Polo Classic”.
Mladost has been Jug’s archrival for years, but today’s encounter was far from a thrilling match. Jug dominated from the beginning. The home side had a five-goal advantage in the 10th minute (6:1). Jug, led by Loren Fatovic and Vincenzo Renzuto, continued to march on and Mladost water polo players found themselves 3:10 down early in the third quarter. From that point on, the visiting team managed to maintain the gap. The hosts recorded a 15:8 win and completed the Regional League season with a perfect record (20 matches – 20 wins).
Loren Fatovic, who was a hero of Croatia’s victory in the Europa Cup final in Rijeka six days ago, and Italian Vincenzo Renzuto were the top scorers, with 4 goals each. An experienced Pavo Markovic (Mladost) netted three goals.
Fatovic was voted the MVP of the Regional League Final Four.
This was the 10th edition of the Regional League. Jug has 4 gold medals, Primorje Rijeka won the competition three times, Jadran has two titles. Pro Recco took the trophy in its only appearance in the Regional League (2011/12).
Mladost secured its place in the final game after a thrilling semifinal, which was decided after a penalty shoot-out. The Zagreb-based team faced Jadran Herceg Novi. The Croats grabbed an early 2:0 lead (3rd minute). Jadran responded with six goals in a row to go 6:2 up in the 15th minute. Mladost reduced the deficit step-by-step and managed to equalize two and a half minutes from the end (9:9). Both teams scored a goal each until the last buzzer. The match ended in a 10:10 draw. Mladost made no mistake in the penalty shoot-out, Jadran missed twice and the Croats went through (14:12).
Jug faced Jadran Split in the 2nd semifinal game. The hosts rushed to a 9:2 lead (18th minute). In the remaining time, Jug slowed down to save energy for the final game and achieved an 11:7 win.
2017/18 Regional League, Final Four
Jug 15:8 Mladost
(4:1, 4:2, 3:3, 4:2)
Jug CO Dubrovnik: Fatovic 4, Renzuto 4, Jokovic 2, Loncar, Garcia, V. Rasovic, Pavlicevic, Stahor.
HAVK Mladost Zagreb: P.Markovic 3, Basic 2, Milos, Radu.
Jadran HN 12:14 Mladost
(4:2, 2:1, 1:3, 3:4, 2:4)
Jadran Carine Herceg Novi: M. Petkovic 2, Draskovic 2, Spajic 2, Dj. Radovic 2, Gardasevic 2, Merkulov, Krijestorac.
HAVK Mladost Zagreb: Bukic 4, Milos 2, Basic 2, Radu 2, Zovic 2, P. Markovic, Valecic.
Jug 11:7 Jadran S
(4:1, 3:1, 3:3, 1:2)
Jug CO Dubrovnik: Fatovic 4, Jokovic 2, Renzuto 2, Ivankovic, Benic, Lozina.
Jadran Split: Power 3, Goreta 2, Krapic 2.
Regional League, A1 Group, Final standings
1. Jug (Croatia)
2. Mladost (Croatia)
3. Jadran HN (Montenegro)
4. Jadran S (Croatia)
5. Mornar (Croatia)
6. Partizan (Serbia)
7. POSK (Croatia)
8. Primorac (Montenegro)
9. Budva (Montenegro)
10. Primorje (Croatia)
Play-out: Sabac (Serbia) – Budva (Montenegro) 10:8 (1st match), 10:10 (2nd match)
Relegated to A2 group: Budva and Primorje.
Promoted to A1 group: Crvena Zvezda (Serbia), which won the 1st place in the A2 group, and Sabac.
2008/09 Jug Dubrovnik (Croatia)
2009/10 Jadran Herceg Novi (Montenegro)
2010/11 Jadran Herceg Novi (Montenegro)
2011/12 Pro Recco (Italy)
2012/13 Primorje Rijeka (Croatia)
2013/14 Primorje Rijeka (Croatia)
2014/15 Primorje Rijeka (Croatia)
2015/16 Jug Dubrovnik (Croatia)
2016/17 Jug Dubrovnik (Croatia)
2017/18 Jug Dubrovnik (Croatia)
Mladost winner of 1st Regional League for women
Mladost’s male team wasn’t able to upset Jug, but one gold medal comes to Zagreb. Before the clash Jug – Mladost, the final match of the 1st Regional League for women was held in Dubrovnik. Mladost Zagreb defeated Crvena Zvezda, the champion of Serbia. In the middle of the second period, Mladost had a 5:4 lead. The Serbs staged a 6:2 run by the end of the third period and they entered the last quarter with a three-goal advantage (10:7). The fourth period saw a new turn. Mladost levelled the score (11:11) with 2.13 remaining on the clock. In the next attack, the ladies from Zagreb found the net once more for a 12:11 win.
Mladost 12:11 Crvena Zvezda
(2:2, 4:4, 1:4, 5:1)
ZAVK Mladost: Lordan 3, Topic 2, Zupanic 2, Balic 2, Skelin, Bukic, Crnicki.
Crvena Zvezda: Rudic 4, Josifovic 2, Jakovljevic 2, Cegar.