Regional League

Mladost wins Regional League for the first time!

Havk Mladost Photo: Facebook/Hrvatski vaterpolski savez

Mladost Zagreb clinched the winning trophy in the Regional League for the first time in the club’s history! In the final game, Mladost edged out Jug, the winner in the previous three editions – 13:12.

The Final Four was held in Zagreb. Mladost was the host, as it took the 1st place in the league competition. The Zagreb-based side collected 49 points (16 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss).

In the semifinals, Mladost beat Jadran Split (11:7), while Jug downed Jadran Herceg Novi much easier than it was expected – 14:9. The Montenegrins, obviously, still haven’t recovered from a loss to Marseille in the final of the Euro Cup.

The difference between Mladost and Jug was just a goal at the end of the final, but the hosts dominated for more than three quarters.

Mladost had a fantastic start in today’s final. The hosts stunned the visitors from Dubrovnik in the opening minutes. In the middle of the 2nd quarter, Mladost had a 4:0 lead. Jug needed 12 minutes and 15 seconds to score its first goal. The visitors came close in the last minutes of the first half (2:4 and 3:5), but Mladost dominated and it built a new 4-goal lead early in the third quarter (8:4), while the hosts went 11:5 up a minute and 23 seconds before the last break.

The hosts entered the last period with an 11:6 advantage. They added two goals in a span of 50 seconds and their big lead increased to 13:6 with 6:46 remaining on the clock. Jug started a fantastic comeback. The team from Dubrovnik scored the last six goals in the match, but it was too late. Luka Loncar hit the back of the net for the final score – 13:12 just two seconds before the last buzzer.

Mladost suffered just one loss in the 2018/19 Regional League (against Jadran in Herceg Novi in February), so this was a well-deserved trophy.

The best scorer in the winning team was Lovre Milos (3 goals). Hrvoje Benic scored 5 goals for Jug, his teammate Elvis Fatovic found the net 3 times.

Lovre Milos was voted the MVP of the Final Four. Cosmin Radu (Mladost) was chosen for the best player of the league, Ivan Marcelic (Mladost) was the best goalkeeper, while Danil Merkulov (Jug) received the trophy for the best scorer in the league competition. He netted 49 goals before the Final Four.

Mladost is one of the clubs which has written the history of men’s water polo. The Zagreb-based team has won 7 titles in the Champions League (Champions Cup earlier), but the winning trophy in the 2018/19 Regional League is their first trophy in the last 7 years, since the season 2011/12, when they took the Croatian Cup.

A week ago, Mladost’s female team won the Regional League for women, by defeating Palilula (Serbia) in the final game (10:7).

2018/19 Regional League Final Four (Zagreb)

Semifinals (April 19th)

Jadran HN 9:14 Jug
(2:5, 2:3, 3:4, 2:2)

Jadran Carine Herceg Novi: Dj. Radovic 5, Averka 2, Vucurovic, Draskovic, M. Petkovic
Jug Dubrovnik:Benic 3, Fatovic 2, Jokovic 2, Garcia 2, Lozina 2, Merkulov 2, Papanastasiou.

Mladost 11:7 Jadran S
(2:1, 3:1, 4:3, 2:2)

HAVK Mladost: A. Petkovic 3, Cuk 2, Radu 2, Milos, Biljaka, Buljubasic, Herceg,
Jadran Split:Milradovic 3, Kunac, Krapic, Kovacic, Delic.

Final (April 20th)

Mladost 13:12 Jug
(3:0, 4:4, 4:2, 2:6)

HAVK Mladost: Milos 3, Radu 2, Cuk 2, Cagalj, A. Petkovic, Lazić, Bajic, Biljaka, Buljubasic.
Jug CO: Benic 5, Fatovic 3, Garcia 2, Loncar, Papanastasiou.

Final ranking

1 Mladost (Croatia)
2 Jug (Croatia)
3 Jadran Herceg Novi (Montenegro)
4 Jadran Split (Croatia)
5 Sabac (Serbia)
6 Mornar (Croatia)
7 Crvena Zvezda (Serbia)
8 Primorac (Montenegro)
9 Partizan (Serbia)
10 POSK (Croatia)

Play out: Solaris (Croatia) – Partizan (Serbia) 9:9, Partizan (Serbia) – Solaris (Croatia) 13:9
Promoted to A1 League: Budva (Montenegro)
Relegated to A2 League: POSK (Croatia)

All winners

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)
2018/19 Mladost Zagreb (Croatia)

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