Three superstars to carry Lokomotiv’s CL hopes as 2013 gold medallists are back
Novosibirsk, Russia, November 3, 2017. Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK emerged as the top team in Europe in 2013 – when they hosted the Final Four of the CEV Volleyball Champions League in Omsk and delighted a raucous home crowd by seizing the most coveted crown in men’s Volleyball after a dramatic final with Italy’s Bre Banca Lannutti CUNEO. Lokomotiv are back for more after a few seasons away from the European stage – and they are likely to be a force to reckon with as their roster includes the likes of three elite players such as Lukas Divis, Nikolay Pavlov and György ‘Hammerschorsch’ Grozer. Lokomotiv will soon play Slovenia’s ACH Volley LJUBLJANA for a spot in the group stage of the competition – where they would join a Russian contingent including titleholders Zenit KAZAN and Dinamo MOSCOW.
Let’s get to know a little more of their ‘supreme’ players born in Slovakia, Ukraine and Hungary.
Name: Lukas Divis
Shirt number: 2
Position: Оutside hitter
Date of birth: 20.02.1986
Born: Zilina, Czechoslovakia
Divis started to play Volleyball in Zilina, at the age of 17, before he moved to the Czech Republic. He played for Volejbal BRNO from 2003 to 2006, before joining the ranks of Germany’s VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN from 2006 to 2009. After that, he spent the following season with Fenerbahce SK ISTANBUL in Turkey and one year with JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel in Poland. Divis is a Czech national champion with Volejbal BRNO (2004), three-time German champion with VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN (2007, 2008 and 2009) and winner of the Turkish national league with Fenerbahce in 2010. Back in 2007, Divis claimed the most-coveted trophy in European Volleyball, the CEV Volleyball Champions League, at the Final Four held in Moscow – where he also received the award for the Best Receiver of the event.
Divis joined Russia’s Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK in the fall of 2011 and has been with this team ever since. He claimed his second Champions League crown in 2013 – and last year was the captain of Lokomotiv.
Divis debuted with the Slovak national team in 2005 and played at three consecutive European Championships in 2007, 2009 and 2011 – in 2011, he also won European League gold with Team Slovakia. Throughout his career, he played 171 matches for Slovakia on the international stage. When contesting a World Championship qualifier in January 2014 in Poprad, Divis informed the Slovak Volleyball Federation of his intention to change allegiance to Russia. He became a Russian citizen in April 2014 and made his international debut for Russia in June 2016 - in a World League match against France in Lodz, Poland.
Divis hails from a Volleyball family – his elder brother Peter, born in 1978, is a player as well.
Name: Nikolay Pavlov (captain)
Shirt number: 6
Position: Opposite hitter
Date of birth: 22.05.1982
Born: Poltava, Ukrainian SSR
Pavlov started playing Volleyball in Ukraine. In 1999, he played for the junior national team of his native country, which took fifth place at the U20 European Championships in Poland and at the World Championships in Saudi Arabia. Until 2005, he wore the shirt of Yurakademiya KHARKIV, becoming a two-time winner of the Cup of Ukraine and two-time vice-champion of the country. While staying in Kharkiv, Pavlov graduated from the Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University.
Pavlov represented Ukraine at the 2005 European Championship before moving to Russia to play for Luch MOSCOW. At the end of the 2005-2006 season, Luch was disbanded and Pavlov together with a group of former players from Luch moved to Novosibirsk to play there for Lokomotiv. In what was Lokomotiv’s comeback to the highest division of the Russian national league, Pavlov & Co. settled for tenth place. During that season, Pavlov scored a record 39 points in the matchup with the team from Bashkortostan.
Pavlov became a Russian citizen in 2007 – and remained with Lokomotiv until 2011, winning the 2010 edition of the Russian national cup with the team from Siberia. Pavlov represented Russia internationally for the first time in 2011, doing so in a friendly match with Poland played in Milicz, while preparing for the World League. However, he could not represent Russia anymore since two naturalised players cannot feature on the same team – and at that time, Russia head coach Vladimir Alekno opted for Belarusian-born setter Alexander Butko.
Pavlov left Novosibirsk to play for Dinamo MOSCOW – and won the 2012 edition of the CEV Cup after two five-set matches with Asseco Resovia RZESZOW of Poland. He scored 30 points in the return match and received the award for the MVP of the Finals. Together with Dinamo, Pavlov was also a runner-up in the Russian national league. After that, he moved to Guberniya NIZHNIY NOVGOROD, finishing fourth in the 2012-2013 edition of the Russian championship and scoring so many points that the coach of the national team, Andrey Voronkov, called him back to join the ranks of Team Russia. As a result, Pavlov played his first official match with Russia on June 7, 2013 in Kaliningrad – with Russia routing Iran 3-0 in a World League fixture. Pavlov had a fabulous season, scoring more than 20 points per match during the World League, including 22 in the gold medal match with Brazil – helping Russia secure the title and with it, the MVP award for himself. In 2013, Pavlov became a European champion and silver medallist from the World Grand Champions Cup as well.
In 2014, Nikolay played the CEV Cup finals for the second time in his career, this time with Guberniya – but this time around, he lost at the golden set to France’s PARIS Volley even though he scored 35 points in the return match. That same year, Pavlov was the best scorer of the Russian national league with a haul of 528 points in 28 games – and as a result, he received the award named after the late Andrey Kuznetsov.
Plagued by injuries, Pavlov had a disrupted 2014-2015 season while wearing the shirt of Guberniya and in the summer of 2015, he moved to Italy to play for Andreoli LATINA. After spending one year there, he returned to Russia to play for Lokomotiv – and he is the current captain of the Siberian team.
Name: György Grozer
Shirt number: 9
Position: Opposite hitter
Date of birth: 27.11.1984
Born: Budapest, Hungary
Grozer was born in Budapest and started to play Volleyball in Hungary, namely for the teams of Vasas, Dunaferr and Kometa-Kaspovar. Back in 2002, at the age of 18, he moved to Germany, where he played for many years for MOERSER SC. He became a German citizen in 2007 and helped Team Germany win the 2009 edition of the European League. Grozer is a two-time German champion with VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN (2009 and 2010). He spent two years with Asseco Resovia RZESZOW in Poland, and in 2012 helped this team claim their first national league title in 37 years.
While competing at the London 2012 Olympics, Grozer set two records – for the fastest serve (127 km/h) in the match with Russia and for the highest number of points (39, including 29 spikes) scored in the group stage fixture with Serbia. Despite Grozer’s contribution, Germany lost to Bulgaria in the quarterfinals, thus failing to win their first Olympic medal since 1972.
Grozer joined Belogorie BELGOROD in 2012 – completing a clean sweep of all domestic competitions in Russia (national league, national cup and Supercup) – and winning the CEV Volleyball Champions League and Club World Championship as well. In 2014, Grozer helped Germany win a historic bronze medal at the World Championship held in Poland.
At the beginning of the 2015/2016 season, Grozer moved to Korea to play for the Samsung Bluefangs. After failing to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics, he announced his retirement from the German national team – but came back in 2017, helping Germany claim a historic EuroVolley silver medal after losing a five-set final to Russia. Grozer was the top scorer of the tournament and a member of the ‘Dream Team’ as well. In the summer of 2017, the German superstar signed a contract with Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK after spending the previous season in China.
Information by cev.lu