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18/04/2017 11:09
Getting to know the ‘Magnificent Four’ – Eczacibasi VitrA ISTANBUL
2017 CEV Volleyball Champions League - Women

Luxembourg, April 18, 2017. Eczacibasi VitrA ISTANBUL are one of four teams still in contention for Europe’s most coveted Volleyball crown, which will be at stake later this weekend at Palaverde in Treviso, Italy. Eczacibasi will play city rivals VakifBank in the first semi-final on Saturday, April 22 – in a remake of the matchup they won back in 2015 on the way to the first, historic CEV Volleyball Champions League crown they claimed at Azoty Arena in Szczecin, Poland.

Eczacibasi VitrA ISTANBUL started their journey in the 2017 CEV Volleyball Champions League – Women back in late October when playing the second round with Bulgaria’s national champions Maritza PLOVDIV. After that, they beat Minchanka MINSK of Belarus to progress to the group stage – where they won four matches out of six, losing twice to VakifBank ISTANBUL. In the semis, therefore, they will be trying to make amends for those losses after in the Playoffs 6 Eczacibasi already ousted another Turkish team in Fenerbahce SK ISTANBUL.

Eczacibasi VitrA are making their sixth appearance in the Final Four of the CEV Volleyball Champions League – they ended up in fourth place in 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2014, before seizing gold two years ago in Szczecin. The Turkish team are also the two-time reigning club world champions and they will be trying to defend their crown in May when the 2017 edition of that competition takes place in Kobe, Japan.

Even though they will be missing their Brazilian-born star middle blocker Thaisa Daher Pallesi, who suffered a horrific ankle injury in the Playoff 6 rematch with Fenerbahce SK, Eczacibasi still have plenty of options and elite players to rely on – such as Tijana Boskovic, Jordan Larson, Tatiana Kosheleva, Maja Ognjenovic and Neslihan Demir Güler to name only a few.

The Istanbul derby with VakifBank will set the tone for a real Volleyball party at Palaverde and the eventual winners of that matchup will be trying to extend Turkey’s supremacy in the competition. Teams from this country have won the CEV Volleyball Champions League four times over the last six years – VakifBank in 2011 and 2013, Fenerbahce in 2012, and Eczacibasi in 2015.

“We have played many tough matches in Europe and Turkey this season,” head coach Massimo Barbolini said. “We are happy that we will compete in the Final Four. We keep on training with much discipline and determination to reach our goals.”

“We faced many strong teams this season,” team captain Neslihan Demir Güler added. “Now, it is time to compete and do our best in the Final Four. We will take off to Italy on Thursday, and we want to see all the Italian fans at our game.” American star Jordan Larson commented: “I trust all of my teammates. Our motivation is at a high level and we believe we will bring this cup home once again.”

Click here for further information or visit the official website

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