Eczacıbaşı VitrA crowned champions of European women’s volleyball
SZCZECIN - Anadolu Agency
Turkish teams have come to dominate the competition in recent years, winning four of the past five tournaments. AA PhotoTurkish women’s volleyball club Eczacıbaşı VitrA has been crowned the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League winner in Poland after beating Italy’s Unendo Yamamay in three straight sets in the final.
Skipping past another Turkish club, VakıfBank, 3-1 in the semifinal, the women of Eczacıbaşı VitrA won the title after beating the Italian team 25-22, 25-20, 25-21 on April 5.
Meanwhile, VakıfBank won against Poland’s Chemik to secure third place in the tournament.
Turkish teams have come to dominate the competition in recent years, winning four of the past five tournaments.
It was Eczacıbaşı’s sixth time in the Champions League Final Four. After failing to clinch the trophy in their five previous attempts, the Istanbul club finally broke the jinx.
“We prepared very hard and worked very hard for this tournament,” Eczacıbaşı VitrA captain Esra Gümüş Kırıcı said after the game.
“I am very happy that we won this cup, it is a great feeling. It is my first gold medal from a European competition. I know that the Polish fans are very loud during the matches and they really like volleyball so it is amazing that we had such large support not only from our fans,” she added.
Both teams played a very competitive first set in the final. Unendo Yamamay put on some great blocking efforts, but eventually could not hold on to a 16-12 lead. Maja Poljak continued her great performance from Saturday’s semifinal. In the end she blocked a spike by Valentina Diouf to close the set at 25-22.
Eczacıbaşı VitrA started the second set with a 3-0 lead. Unendo Yamamay managed to catch up on several occasions, but was never able to turn things around. With Bethania De La Cruz on fire on offence, the Turkish squad regained control and won the set by a comfortable 25-20 margin.
With their backs against the wall, the players of Unendo Yamamay put up a fight in the third set. The suspense was alive through 16-16. After 20-19, however, Eczacıbaşı Vitra broke away with three consecutive points.
Their opponents responded with two, but it was not enough to change history. At 25-21, Eczacıbaşı Vitra deservedly was standing on top of Europe.
Four players scored 13 points each to jointly top the scorers’ chart of the match – Eczacıbaşı’s Gözde Yılmaz, De La Cruz and Jordan Larson-Burbach and Unendo Yamamay’s Valentina Diouf.
Larson-Burbach was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Final Four.
“It is just a reflection of my teammates,” Larson-Burbach said of the award.
“Without their help I couldn’t become the MVP of the Final Four. We did a great job in last the few weeks and that led us to the win,” she said.
In addition to the MVP award, Eczacıbaşı VitrA players dominated the “Dream Team” of the tournament.
De La Cruz was named “Best Outside Spiker,” Gülden Kayalar Kuzubaşıoğlu was named “Best Libero,” Poljak was named “Second Best Middle Blocker” and Christiane Fuerst received the “Fair Play” award. tournaments.