Milena Rasic: The Silent Warrior
Milena Rasic is one of the fiercest middle blockers in the world
Can she do it all again in 2019? At the Volleyball Nations League? And how about a run at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games?
Rasic had a terrific year in 2018 built on a clear understanding of her role on court and the consistency and proficiency with which she applied her skills. Arguably it was her Serbia teammate Tijana Boskovic who emerged as the best female volleyball player of the year, but it was Rasic who won almost every title on offer over the last twelve months.
The 28-year-old won the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship title in October in Japan with the Serbian national team. With her club VakifBank Istanbul she also claimed victories at the FIVB Volleyball Women's Club World Championship, the CEV Volleyball Champions League, in the Turkish Championship and Cup. And at each of these competitions, she won the award for Best Middle Blocker. Such was her dominance that you can only assume she will be one of the players to keep an eye on this year too.
“Middle blockers don't often make it into the limelight because people like to see the players who hit the ball really hard,” Rasic said. “We are on court always ready to get the ball - or not - but we do get our moments of glory when we make a very quick attack and a good block.
“I won titles in every competition I participated in last year, except the Volleyball Nations League. It was a dream year and if I win even half of that in 2019, I will be completely overwhelmed,” Rasic said.
Rasic is not complacent with her achievements either, which also include a silver at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. And she is in the hunt for more medals.
“The only medal I didn’t have before was the World Championship medal, but now that we have won it, I am aiming for gold at Tokyo 2020 – that would complete the gold medals from all competitions.”
One person Rasic is hoping to be with on the court at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is setter Maja Ognjenovic.
Milena Rasic lifts the World Championship trophy in 2018
“She’s the best setter on the planet and our team’s perfect brain. When everyone is expecting a ball on Tijana, Maja pushes it to Brankica [Mihajlovic] to hit against a single block. A great setter is someone who does something completely different from what the opponents think they will do. All players are different and the setter needs to know what kind of set fits each hitter and Maja knows us that well.”
Meanwhile, Rasic and her teammates will be back for the second consecutive year at the Volleyball Nations League, aiming to improve on their fifth place finish in the inaugural edition. Serbia will play hosts to the Netherlands, Turkey and Korea in week 1 from May 21 to 23 before traveling to Italy, Belgium, Japan and China in the following weeks. Can she get her team a place on the podium in 2019?
Quick links - Volleyball:
FIVB.com - Volleyball Nations League
FIVB.com - Volleyball
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