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23/01/2020 20:00
CLVolleyW - Istanbul takes it all
CEV Champions League Volley 2020 - Women

Luxembourg, January 23, 2020. Four games were planned on Thursday to close out the fourth leg of the women's CEV Champions League. After the victories, on the previous days, of Eczacibasi VitrA ISTANBUL, Fenerbahce Opet ISTANBUL, Savino Del Bene SCANDICCI, A. Carraro Imoco CONEGLIANO, NANTES VB, and Uralochka-NTMK EKATERINBURG, eight new teams were hoping to get the win. The matches were the following: Dinamo MOSCOW vs Maritza PLOVDIV, VakifBank ISTANBUL vs Nova KBM Branik MARIBOR, ŁKS Commercecon ŁÓDŹ vs Khimik YUZHNY, and Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA vs Allianz MTV STUTTGART.

In the first match, the third team from Istanbul to play this week won again, 3-0, against the Slovenians of Maribor. Never in a position to question the Turkish domination, the last team of Pool B with four losses quickly yielded (15, 11, 10). In this encounter, Isabelle Haak (see quote below) ended best scorer of the match with 16 points.

Then, the match-up between Moscow and Plovdiv was tighter, with the first true upset of this leg: the Bulgarians won their first match of this year's Champions League and can still hope to qualify for the quarterfinals in this very homogeneous Pool E. Aleksandra Milanova scored 18 points for her squad as Dinamo were missing their superstar Nataliya Goncharova due to illness and Irina Fetisova had just returned from sustaining a minor injury. The result accounts for Maritza's first-ever away win in the pool stage of the Champions League. Amazingly, it came against the most decorated team in the history of the competition - 11-time continental champions Dinamo. 

Later that night, the Polish players of Lodz claimed the throne in Pool C, waiting for the last game of the evening to unfold. Indeed, they beat Yuzhny 3-1 despite a good resistance. Monika Bociek helped her own team win the match with her 21 points overall.

Finally, Novara took their revenge against Stuttgart after losing in Germany in November. They swept their opponents in straight sets to secure their seventh win a row (considering domestic competitions as well) and claimed back the first place of Pool C from Lodz. Elitsa Vasileva scored 16 points in his match as the visitors were missing their star player and top scorer Krystal Rivers. This pool has now two co-leaders with 8 points and Stuttgart right behind with 7 - but with one win less. We are looking forward to the last two matches in February!

Match by match

Dinamo MOSCOW (RUS) vs Maritza PLOVDIV (BUL) 1-3 (23-25, 25-18, 23-25, 17-25)

“It is difficult to say something after defeats. I think everything that I will say would sound like an excuse. We have had problems from the very beginning of the season.”
Yana Shcherban, player of Dinamo MOSCOW

“We are very happy to beat this strong team. They were impressive in attack, but we were well prepared. It was difficult to pass their block, but finally we won. Did we believe in such a result? We could not be sure such a tough match would have ended this way, but we were definitely ready to fight.”

Jennifer Cross, player of Maritza PLOVDIV

VakifBank ISTANBUL (TUR) vs Nova KBM Branik MARIBOR (SLO) 3-0 (25-15, 25-11, 25-10)

"It was a quick game but we really prepared well for this. The goal was just to focus and we did well. It is really important to focus on these Champions League games because we want to be first in the group. I'm really happy about what the team did today; we played together."
Isabelle Haak, Istanbul's opposite

"It was a really nice gym, completely full.  VakıfBank is doing a great job not only on the court but also outside the court, motivating people to come to this hall. We had some problems with injuries so we were not complete. But we should have done better but unfortunately we did not."
Radovan Gacic, Maribor's Head Coach 

ŁKS Commercecon ŁÓDŹ (POL) vs Khimik YUZHNY (UKR) 3-1 (25-15, 25-19, 23-25, 25-22)

“I am very happy with our victory, but my team did not play perfect. We still make too many mistakes in attack and we have to improve our reception. But three points is the most important thing.”
Marek Solarewicz, coach of ŁKS Commercecon LODZ

Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA (ITA) vs. Allianz MTV STUTTGART (GER) 3-0 (25-11- 25-22, 25-19)

“Congratulations to Novara for the performance and for the win. We did our best, they started pushing a lot but in the second set where we had a chance to level the match, but unfortunately we did not take it. We look forward to our upcoming game: the match against LODZ is crucial for our European campaign.”
Martina Samadan, player of Allianz MTV STUTTGART

“We did quite well and it was not easy against a team like STUTTGART. They played hard, they had good defence but we delivered a good performance and secured a very important victory. We must stay focused as we need two more victories, we know it will not be easy but our goal is to be for the third consecutive year among the best eight teams in Europe.”

Massimo Barbolini, head coach of Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA

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