Turkey beats under-par Poland for volleyball gold
CİHAN photoTurkey eased to a straight sets victory over Poland to claim the women’s volleyball gold medal at the European Games on June 27.
The Poles had beaten the Turks in five sets in their pool match, but it was to be very different this time.
Turkey dominated from the opening minutes, making light work of their opponents as they took the first set 25-11.
Poland responded in the second set and the two teams played out a series of lengthy rallies, but Turkey’s quality again showed as they claimed it 25-19.
Polish libero Agata Sawicka was forced out of the game late in the third set after twisting her knee, as her demoralized teammates struggled to find their rhythm.
Turkey showed no mercy as they wrapped up the game with a resounding 25-13 win in the final set.
“The game turned out to be much easier that we expected,” said Turkey’s Polen Uslupehlivan. “We have improved our play match after match at these games.”
“We played with the Turkish flag in our hearts. Poland are all really good players, but they didn’t play their best volleyball today,” Neriman Özsoy said.
Turkey coach Ferhat Akbaş said he was proud of his players. “I was expecting a difficult match because the Polish team has some experienced players, but we dominated the game and we are very happy.”
Poland coach Jacek Nawrocki said they were disappointed. “We were very poor. But overall in the tournament, we are happy to finish in second place and win the silver medal.”
Serbia wins bronze
Earlier on, Serbia twice came from behind to win the bronze medal match against hosts Azerbaijan 3-2 (21-25, 25-19, 17-25, 25-14, 15-9).
Serbia coach Zoran Terzic said: “Believe me, for us, the semi-final was a big success. We came to this competition without nine players from last season, almost a whole team. A lot of very young players, players who’ve never played this kind of competition. It was a very good experience for them.”
After an even contest, Azerbaijan crumbled in the fourth set as Serbia set up a tiebreaker fifth set that was decided by Milena Rasic’s quick reactions at the net to kill the ball.
“Azerbaijan played extremely well in the competition. We played very well with a lot of courage,” Terzic said.
Favorites too powerful for Bulgarians
Germany won the European Games gold in the men’s volleyball final on June 28, defeating Bulgaria 3-1 (25-16, 25-18, 29-31, 25-21) at Crystal Hall.
Earlier on the final day of the games, Russia took bronze by defeating Poland, also by three sets to one (26-24, 23-25, 25-23, 25-23).
“I think at the moment, it’s tough to take it all in. It was a hard game. We had maybe a little too easy of a start, but of course everyone is happy now,” German captain Jochen Schops said afterward. “Being the first winners [of the European Games] does make it a little more special, for sure. Maybe not right now, but when we are home and we have had to think about it, it is nice to think that we will be in the history books.”