Vakıfbank women achieve historic success, winning intercontinental volleyball trophy
After the Turkish League, the Turkish Cup, the CEV Champions League and the Turkish Super Cup trophies, Vakıfbank also won the FIVB Women's club World Championship title in Zurich, beating Brazil's Unilever Vollei 3-0 in the final on Oct. 13. AA photoVakıfbank's domination in women's volleyball shows no signs of fading, after the Turkish and European champions defeated Brazil's Unilever Volei 3-0 in the final of the FIVB Women's club World Championship in Zurich on Oct. 13.
Confounding its rivals yet again, the Istanbul team registered its 52nd straight victory to win the intercontinental trophy, crowning an amazing season that saw them sweeping up the treble of the Turkish League, the Turkish Cup, and the CEV Champions League.
"I cannot explain our domination in Turkey, the Champions League and here at the FIVB Women's Club World Championship. I think the word 'family' describes us best," captain Gözde Kırdar Sonsırma said after the victory.
Despite finishing the game without dropping any sets, Vakıfbank had to fight hard during the first two sets against the talented Brazilians, two days after beating them 3-1 in the group stage.
Vakıfbank edged a very tight first set battle 25-23, with decisive points from Jovana Brakocevic, who was ultimately selected as the game's MVP.
The second set saw more of the same, with Unilever Vollei mounting dogged comebacks against Vakıfbank's attempts to extend their lead. In the end, however, the Brazilians efforts were in vain, as the European champions managed to maintain their calm and show enough consistency to edge the set 27-25.
Unilever Vollei's resistance was finally broken after losing the hard-fought second set and Vakıfbank walked away with the third 25-16.
Brakocevic finished the game with 23 points, including 3 blocks and 1 serving ace. Gözde Sonsırma chipped 14 tallies while Chrisitiane Fürst added 7 points.
"It was an incredible volleyball match. Both teams played at the highest level, showing the 2,000 fans an outstanding duel. We played extremely well in block-defense," said Vakıfbank's ecstatic Italian Coach Giovanni Giudetti. "I am proud of my players. Once again, they showed their passion and fighting spirit. It is an amazing feeling."
Vakıfbank had earned the silver medal in the competition in 2011, losing against Azerbaijan's Rabita Baku in the final. Another Turkish team, Fenerbahçe, won the 2010 edition, the first organized after a 16-year hiatus. Last year, the Brazilians of Sollys Nestlé Osasco lifted the trophy, with Fenerbahçe taking third place on the podium.
Meanwhile, Vakıfbank's rivals in this year's semi-finals, Chinese team Guangdong Evergrande, caused a sensation by winning their third place playoff game against hosts Volero Zurich.