Outstanding Gros and Sterbik claim October awards
There were comprehensive victories for Ana Gros and Arpad Sterbik in the EHF Player of Octber awards.
An international panel of journalists felt these two athletes shone brightest in a month full of impressive individual performances in EHF competitions.
26-year-old Gros has contributed 23 goals in three victories for Metz Handball so far this Women’s EHF Champions League season. The Slovenian is the star performer so far for the team which holds one of just two 100% records halfway through the group matches.
Arpad Sterbik repeatedly shut down opposition attackers throughout the month as Vardar maintained their unbeaten record and boast the best defensive record of the VELUX EHF Champions League.
Keep the momentum going
“Is that true?” says Gros with a laugh when she is told about the distinction. “I am shocked to be honest. I am really happy about it, I guess that reflects how well I feel on the court these days.
“But none of this would be possible without my teammates, I might be the best scorer but without all the work they do, everything would be tougher for me.”
The Slovenian right-back, who has played for Metz since 2014, does not want to stop here. Her team have a big away task against Buducnost on Saturday 4 November and she jokingly suggests that if Metz wins their three remaining group games, she might be elected Player of the Month twice in a row.
“Why not? I just hope that we will keep the momentum for a little longer. We will do everything to come back from Montenegro with a win and if I get the same good surprise next month, it means we have done a pretty good job.”
EHF Player of October - women:
1. Ana Gros (SLO, Metz Handball)
2. Iveta Luzumova (CZE, Thüringer HC)
3. Louise Burgaard (DEN, FC Midtjylland)
4. Cristina Neagu (ROU, CSM Bucuresti)
5. Kim Naidziniavicius (GER, SG BBM Bietigheim)
At the height of the seasonal start current title holders HC Vardar are demonstrating superb handball with perfect defence, putting them at the top of the EHF journalists’ latest power ranking. One of the key players in the defending champions’ squad is VELUX EHF FINAL4 MVP player Arpad Sterbik, who was vital to HC Vardar claiming top spot in Group A.
“When I was younger all individual recognition meant a lot for me and as time passes by I focus more on the team achievements. However, taking in consideration that soon I’ll be 38 and there are so many good goalkeepers in the Champions League, of course I feel very glad to be chosen as an EHF Player of the Month.”
“We had very difficult matches in October because in Szeged we faced an opponent at the same level as ours and every team faces difficulties playing on their court in Hungary.
“Also, you never know what to expect when you play against Zagreb, but our advantage was that we played in the Jane Sandaski arena and did a very good analysis of our opponent beforehand.“
The Macedonian champions’ month was made perfect with a commanding victory against FC Barcelona Lassa and Arpad Sterbik was responsible for shutting the Catalan club’s attack down, which also earned him player of the round plaudits.
“This victory against Barcelona meant a lot for us and for the first position in the group.
“According to the experts we are listed among the favourites, but from my experience I can say that favourites change all the time. We had a good run and even if we finish first in the group it will be very hard for us later in the season.
“We move gradually, step by step and analyse every opponent. Our goal is to do our best in every match and of course we would like to play in Cologne and face some great opponents there.”
EHF Player of October - men:
1. Arpad Sterbik (ESP, HC Vardar)
2. Andy Schmid (SUI, Rhein-Neckar Löwen)
3. Sander Sagosen (NOR, Paris Saint-Germain Handball)
4. Vuko Borozan (MNE, HC Vardar)
5. Momir Ilic (SRB, Telekom Veszprém HC)
Author: Amina Idrizi, Kevin Domas / cor