Turkish volleyball side Vakıfbank wins second European crown in 3 years
Vakıfbank, who has not lost a single game this season, wiped out their Azeri rivals Rabita Baku 25-17, 25-20 and 25-23. AA photoTurkey’s women’s volleyball achieved glory at the most prestigious European competition for the third time in a row when Vakıfbank defeated Rabita Baku in three straight sets during the finals of the CEV Champions League Final Four, held March.10 in Istanbul.
Vakıfbank, who has not lost a single game this season, crowned its extraordinary run by wiping out their Azeri rivals 25-17, 25-20 and 25-23.
The other Turkish team participating in the Final Four, Galatasaray Daikin, lost its third place ranking in five sets against the Italian team Yamamay Busto Arizio, ending their European campaign just on the brink of the podium.
Boosted by the cheers of its fans, Vakıfbank clinched its second European Champions title in three years. Vakıfbank previously won a trophy in 2011 with another victory in three straight sets against Rabita Baku, ending a six-year reign of supremacy by Italian clubs and paving the way for the successes of other Turkish teams. The title went to Fenerbahçe last year and only a week ago Halkbank won the second-tier men’s competition, lifting the first trophy for a Turkish volleyball club in a continental men’s competition.
Vakıfbank started the game aggressively, opening the gap early in the first set, which only lasted 25 minutes. The Azeris gave fought harder during the second set, but Vakıfbank pulled ahead entering the second time-out at 16-14. The Istanbul side did not allow their rivals to close the gap and won the set 25-20. In the third set, Rabita Baku managed to take the lead 8-6 during the first time-out and 16-14 during the second. However, they could not resist against Vakıfbank’s surge as the Turkish side netted the set 25-23.
After the game, Vakıfbank’s coach Giovanni Giudetti praised the collective display shown by his team. “[The players] manage to control the turning points of every important came. They never play for their name or number. I am proud to be the coach of this team,” said Giudetti. Vakıfbank’s captain, Gözde Sonsırma, said the whole team played “an incredible” game. “If I have a contribution in bringing our volleyball game to such levels, I am proud of that,” she said.
Vakıfbank’s Serbian hitter Jovana Brakocevic was chosen as Most Valuable Player of the Final Four tournament.
Turkish President Abdullah Gül and Sports Minister Suat Kılıç congratulated the team on its new success.