Diana Lunina: "We need a lot of joint game practice"

Diana Lunina

After the training camp in Tenerife and the tournament in Qatar, the beach volleyball team of SC "Prometey" Diana Lunina and Tetyana Lazarenko went to Brazil. It is there, on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, that Ukrainian beach volleyball players are preparing for future tournaments.

We would like to remind you that the duo Lunina\Lazarenko was formed recently and is one of the most promising teams in Ukraine.

In 2023, the beach volleyball team joined SC "Prometey" and will represent it and Ukraine at international tournaments under the auspices of the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV) and FIVB (International Volleyball Federation). The coaching staff included Bukin Vasyl Mykhailovych, Bukina Liubov Afanasiivna, and team manager Tetiana Mykhailivna Belkina.

On February 1, Lunina and Lazarenko played their first official match. It took place as part of the qualifying round of the prestigious Elite 16 tournament, which was held in Qatar from February 1 to 5. Unfortunately, in the debut match, the Ukrainians lost on a tie-break to the representative of Brazil Andressa\Vitoria (1-2). We decided to start a conversation with Diana from the memories of these competitions.

– Please share, what impressions did you get from one of the most prestigious Elite 16 tournaments in the world?

– Before Qatar, we played with other partners and each of us has a different style of game. And the impressions are good, but it is necessary to work more and feel a connection with a partner. Speed and height of the passes, we adapt to each other.

I would like to add that at the beginning of the game, a strange situation happened - the referee made a remark to us about the wrong passing, although Tatiana gave an almost perfect pass. He said that we used the error limits and that under the new rules, we are passing incorrectly! I was very surprised. In the next episode, the referee said the same thing to our opponents - both teams were confused. There was no time to ask the arbiter what was wrong, and you can't, because there was a risk of getting a card for the delay.  

I noticed that this only happened in the qualifying round matches. There was no such thing in the main draw...

By the way, in the last month before the tournament in Qatar, we practiced the upper pass precisely, because it allows us to play faster. We wanted to speed up our game and thereby try to outplay and outwit our opponent. And here it turned out that we do not understand how to pass at all. And giving a down pass during strong gusts of wind is somewhat problematic!

diana lunina

Nevertheless, you played a decent match: three sets against a pair ranked 13th in the world ranking. What was missing for victory?

– The quality of the game was not enough. The opponent made fewer mistakes. I repeat, the lack of joint game practice was also indicated: the first games are always emotionally very difficult!

How long do you think it takes to improve the joint game?

– Good question! Joint game practice is required. Working in training is one thing, but playing in a tournament against an opponent is another level. And we need more of this practice together. Currently, Qatar is the only tournament where we played together.

– Both your coach and your partner Tetiana Lazarenko said that the main goal of this season will be to qualify for the Olympics. What are the chances of the Lunina/Lazarenko duo getting to the Olympic Games in 2024?

– There are chances! We have a lot of urge for it. We will try to reach the desired result. Relatives and friends support us morally. And most importantly, the Prometey club gave us the opportunity to practice and improve our level of the game. We really appreciate it!

– Diana, what's next? What are the plans?

– The nearest plans are probably Mexico. We follow the tournaments, but the final decision is made by the coach, where it is worth or not worth going, - says Diana.

diana lunina

It should be noted that the beach volleyball team of SC "Prometey" plans to take part in the Challenge tournament - La Paz, MEX - 2023, which will take place from March 16 to 19.

We wish our team success and victories!