Halkbank becomes first Turkish men’s volleyball side to win European trophy
ANKARA – Doğan News Agency
Following the path of women Volleyball clubs, Halkbank became the first men side to lift a continental trophy. AA photoTurkish volleyball side Halkbank has won the CEV cup, the second-tier men’s European club competition, after defeating Italian outfit Andreoli Latina in five sets in Ankara on March 3.
Halkbank, which won the fixture 21-25, 26-24, 25-17, 22-25, 15-11, had already won its first leg against the Andreoli by three sets to one in Italy.
In clinching the first trophy for a Turkish club in a continental men’s competition, Halkbank added to Turkey’s growing success on the international volleyball stage after Vakıfbank Türk Telekom and Fenerbahçe won the Women’s Champions League, the most prestigious trophy in women’s volleyball, in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
Despite being well-placed for victory after winning the first leg away, Halkbank was made to work for the ultimate win, as they were pushed to five sets by the Italians. Andreoli took advantage of Halkbank’s sloppy start, which included many unforced errors in serving and poor blocking, to take the first set 21-25.
The Turkish squad managed to find consistency in the middle of the second set, earning key points to edge the Italians 26-24. Halkbank carried the momentum into the third set, exerting total domination in every aspect of the game, but Andreoli came back in the fourth thanks to a good defense.
Ultimately boosted by their fans, however, Halkbank’s players held their nerves to overcome their rivals in a thrilling tie-break set.
The Ankara side’s American hitter William Priddy was selected the game’s most valuable player, while
Turkish Sports Minister Suat Kılıç handed the cup to Halkbank, producing an unforgettable moment for Turkish volleyball fans.