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Turkey secure 2019 VNL semifinal berth with straight-set win over Italy

 
Nanjing, China, July 4, 2019 – Last year’s FIVB Volleyball Nations League runners-up Turkey are on their way to the final four in Nanjing, following a straight-set (25-21, 25-15, 25-21) win over FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championships silver medallists Italy on Thursday.

The Turkish team got redemption from their five-set loss to Italy in the preliminary round on June 19.

In their latest encounter, Ebrar Karakurt nicked 17 points from 15 attacks and two blocks, then Kubra Caliskan helped out on defence with four blocks. Paola Egonu only had 12 points for Italy.

Turkey led on all fronts with 38 attacks, 12 blocks and five aces to overwhelm their rivals. The two wins guaranteed their spot in semifinals, leaving Italy and China to fight for the available spot on Friday.

Italy-Turkey Match Centre

Pre-match stats:

Italy - Turkey (July 4, 2019)

Head-to-Head

• Italy and Turkey will meet for the 14th time at world level major competitions. Italy won 11 of the previous 13th encounters (W11-L2).
• Italy have won six of their last seven matches against Turkey at world level, with the only exception in that run a straight-set defeat in last year's VNL preliminary round. On 15 May 2018, Turkey won 3-0 in Lincoln in what was both sides' first ever VNL match.
• These teams most recently met on 19 June, when Italy came from 2-1 down to beat Turkey in five sets in the 2019 VNL preliminary round. Indre Sorokaite (20) won most points for Italy. Ebrar Karakurt (22) scored the most for Turkey.

Italy
• Italy qualified for the final six of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League for the first time. Last year, they finished the preliminary round in sixth place but missed out on a spot in the final round as ninth-placed China took their ticket as hosts of the final phase.
• Italy, runners up at the 2018 World Championship, won 11 of their 15 preliminary round matches in the 2019 VNL. Last year, they finished the preliminary round with a W10-L5 record.
• Four of Italy's last five defeats in the VNL came in five sets. In this year's VNL, only Brazil managed to beat Italy in less than five sets (3-0).
• Italy lost their last VNL preliminary round match 3-2 against Belgium. They can suffer back-to-back defeats for the second time in the VNL after a run of four defeats in their opening four fixtures in last year's edition.
• Indre Sorokaite (203) and Elena Pietrini (203) finished the 2019 VNL preliminary round as Italy's top points scorers. Last year, Paola Ogechi Egonu (180) won the most points for Italy in the VNL.
Sorokaite scored 24 aces in the 2019 VNL preliminary round, the joint-most along with Marlies Janssens (Belgium) and Juliet Lohuis (Netherlands).
With an average of 6.08, Nootsara Tomkom was the best setter in this year's VNL preliminary round.

Turkey
• Turkey won their opening match of the 2019 FIVB Nations League Finals 3-1 against China.
• Last season, Turkey lost their VNL Finals opener 3-2 against USA. They still managed to reach the final which they again lost versus United States (3-2).
Three of Turkey's five VNL Finals matches have gone to five sets. The exceptions were their 3-0 win over Brazil last season and their 3-1 victory over China on Wednesday.
• Gözde Yilmaz (18), Ebrar Karakurt (16), Kubra Caliskan (14) and Meliha Ismailoglu (14) all reached double figures in scoring in Turkey's win over China.
• Caliskan scored five of her 14 points from blocks, more than any other player on the court.
Karakurt is Turkey's top scorer this VNL campaign on 233 points (5th overall). Dominican Republic's Brayelin Elizabeth Martinez (2nd, 258), Bethania De La Cruz De Peña (3rd, 241) and Brazil's Gabriela Braga Guimaraes (4th, 234) are all within reach.


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