Turkey books place in Grand Prix finals
Turkish women’s national volleyball team will compete at the The World Grand Prix finals later this week and at the 2012 London Olympics in August. EPA photo
Turkish women’s national volleyball team booked a ticket to the Volleyball World Grand Prix Finals for the first time after clinching a 23-25, 25-14, 25-21, 25-17 victory over Japan in Osaka on June 23.
The achievement comes weeks after the squad clinched a berth in the Olympics for the first time.
In its last game in the World Grand Prix, Turkey lost 24-26, 25-17, 25-18, 25-15 to Germany yesterday in a result that was merely academic. Margareta Leading the way for Germany was captain Margareta Kozuch with 22 points, including three blocks.
She was supported by Maren Brinker who posted 13, including four of Germany’s 15 blocks. For Turkey, Bahar Toksoy led with nine points. Neriman Özsoy, Turkey’s leading scorer in the tournament, sat out the match and Neslihan Darnel was used sparingly.
Darnel leads Turkey in scoring
Turkey was led on June 23 by its star player Darnel with 16 points, including three aces. She was supported by Eda Erdem Dündar who scored 16, three off of blocks.
Leading all scorers was Japan’s Mizuho Ishida, who posted 21 points in a losing effort.
Japan’s Saori Kimura and Yoshie Takeshita were used sparingly in this match.
“We are happy to win and qualify for the finals here against Japan,” Turkish captain Gümüş said after the match. “We had good serving, defense, and attack today. The first set was hard for us but after that we were good overall. The spectators here were great and the atmosphere was good. We’re very happy to play here [in Osaka].”
Speaking before the loss to Germany, Turkey coach Motta Marco Aurelio said his team had lost only one game in the World Grand Prix.
“Like my captain said we are very happy, as this is our first time to qualify for the finals,” Aurelio told reporters after the game.
“It’s our eighth match in this World Grand Prix, and we won seven matches, losing only against Cuba. Our performance today was good, and I’m very happy for that.”
The World Grand Prix finals will run from June 27 to July 1 in the Chinese city of Ningbo.