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22/04/2017 19:36
VakifBank win semi-final 3-0 against Eczacibasi securing them another chance at glory
2017 CEV Volleyball Champions League - Women

Treviso, Italy, April 22, 2017.  It was a Turkish derby held in north-eastern Italy and it was the team of VakifBank who came out strongest winning 3-0 (25-20, 26-24, 25-22).  In the first match of a packed weekend of top quality Volleyball, which was breaking new ground both on and off the court, the crowd were treated to a real spectacle in the first set with VakifBank winning 25-20. Eczacibasi VitrA ISTANBUL started the second set strongly and had a 10-point lead at one stage, but it was this moment that triggered an unbelievable comeback with VakifBank taking the second set 26-24 - where they did not lead in the set until they had match point.  The third set was a close affair which could have gone either way, but it was Zhu Ting who made the difference when it mattered with VakifBank taking it 25-22.

For more from the match go to @CEVolleyballCL on Twitter or just search for the official hashtag #CLF4Treviso

Before the match started we caught up with the two coaches:

Set 1

VakifBank ISTANBUL came flying out of the blocks and accelerated to an 8-3 lead dominating in most areas of the game. They continued to lead through the set; despite a spirited comeback by their city rivals Eczacibasi VitrA ISTANBUL in the middle of the set, the VakifBank lead was too much and some excellent set distribution from Naz Aydemir Akyol was giving her attackers the spaces they needed to finish the points.  At one point Eczacibasi got to within two points (21-19), but that was all they really had to celebrate as they went down 25-20 with the final point coming off the net tape from a service.  One notable statistic from the first set was an 80% kill rate for VakifBank opposite Lonneke Slöetjes.

Set 2

The second set started as if it was a different match. Eczacibasi took the first couple of points after some long rallies and from here the VakifBank players seemed to freeze and things they were doing with ease in the first set suddenly became difficult.  This was highlighted by a large number of service errors which were non-existent in the previous set. This led to the team trailing in sets to be 8-2 up at the first technical time-out.  Despite the chance for VakifBank to regroup, before they knew it the score was 14-4.

Being 10 points down seemed to be the trigger though as they started to fight back and the deficit was only five points soon after the second technical.  They did not stop there with every point that Eczacibasi took, VakifBank took two or three. Soon after a run of excellent serving from Kimberly Hill we were all square at 23-23.  The first set point went to Eczacibasi but Zhu Ting stepped up when it mattered and soon it was set point to VakifBank.  They took it at the first time of asking when middle blocker Kübra Akman Caliskan blocked down an over pass and unbelievably it was 2-0 with a final set score of 26-24.

Set 3

After all the excitement the third set started a bit flat, both on and off the court.  Both teams traded points with Eczacibasi doing all they could to get an advantage.  The score was 8-6 at the first technical time-out to VakifBank and Massimo Barbolini took the opportunity to fire up his team, who came out and straight away leveled the score at 8-8.  It stayed close (11-11), however from here the height (both physical and jump) told and VakifBank started to pull away.  It went 16-14, 16-16, then a run of serves from VakifBank meant 19-16.

Knowing it was their last chance, Eczacibasi were trying everything. Understandably both sides started to tense up knowing the moments that were fast approaching. Eczacibasi were granted a gift when VakifBank were caught out of position and it was 20-20.  Big players step up when it matters, and as Zhu Ting moved to the front of the court the crowd sensed the inevitable. It finished 25-23 to VakifBank making it 3-0 granting them a place in tomorrows final.

Rachael Adams (Eczacibasi) on finding the will to play tomorrow: "I mean you are here at the Champions League Final Four, you won't just not show up to play the third place."

On lost advantage (7pt, from 0-7 to 23-23) throughout 2nd set: "Of course when you start a set so strong and you are leading by that much it definitely doesn't feel good to lose this set. It's a little bit discouraging but we did our best to come back in the third set, but that wasn't enough."

Kim Hill (VakifBank):
"We just took one point at a time and fought for each other and I'm really proud of my team tonight."

Giovanni Guidetti (VakifBank)
On his thoughts at 0-7 in 2nd set:
"I thought What the.....! but it is not appropriate to repeat" I often start with setter in position one, because it is usually not our bad rotation and we are strong in that position. We found two or three good serves but we lacked discipline in block and side out. After a successful challenge call when Kimberly Hill's ball was inside I tried to change our setter to see how the team responds. I just couldn't accept to lose the set this way. The team had a great reaction and they never gave up. I have huge respect for them for they did tonight."

On proving that "We never give up" is not an empty talk: "We have been talking about it in the past 10 days. I always ask of my team not to win but to fight every point. Of course we want to win, but to do it we need to fight every step of the way. Some of our losses were without a fight from our side and we don't want to repeat that in Treviso."

For more go to:

   


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22/04/2017 19:00:00
Maria Antonelli/Carolina Horta earn Xiamen semi-final spot
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