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Turkey take out Germany in five-set thriller

Neslihan Darnel hammered 26 points to lead the victory of Turkey in five sets

Tokyo, Japan, November 13, 2010 - Turkey delighted their fans who turned up at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Saturday by winning a very hard-fought 5-8 semifinal in five sets (25-23, 25-18, 14-25, 20-25, 15-11) against a tough German team who almost pulled off a stunning comeback.

Leading Turkey, as she has all tournament, was Neslihan Darnel who put up 26 points. Esra Gumus and Neriman Ozsoy registered 14 points apiece for the winning side while Eda Erdem added 11. The Turkish team had a big advantage in blocking, 16-8. Germany were led by Margareta Kozuch with 18. Corina Ssushke added 15 while Maren Brinker and Heike Beier each contributed 12 points.

Turkey edged out to an early lead in the first set, going up 10-7 after a powerful Darnel spike off a would-be German blocker. They extended their lead to five but Germany stayed close, eventually tieing it at 21-21 on a tremendous Kozuch block on the southpaw Darnel. But the Turkish attacker would have her revenge, driving an incredible kill down the centre at set-point to take a close set 25-23.

Turkey kept their momentum going in the second, grabbing a five-point lead early on, but Germany pressed hard with great tip at the net by Anne Matthes and a spike by Saskia Hippe, bringing it level at 12-12. It remained close until Turkey took eight out of nine points to finish the set 25-18, including a pair of stubborn blocks by Seda Tokatlioglu at the net.

Darnel continued to attack well for Turkey in the third set, but Germany’s Kozuch countered with a flying tip to bring it to 9-9. From there it was all Germany, as they took 10 of the next 11 points - including two more attacks from Kozuch - to go 19-10 ahead. A Corina Ssuschke block on Turkey’s Darnel would eventually snatch the set for the Germans 25-14.

Kozuch kept going in the fourth set with a spike of a Esra Gümus block giving Germany a three-point lead early on. But they couldn’t shake a determined Turkey who narrowed the gap to 16-15 thanks to three powerful attacks mid-set by Neriman Ozsoy. A great block by Bahar Toksoy on German attacker Heike Beier tied it at 18-18, but a flurry of attacks by Germany’s Ssuschke carried her team over the line at 25-20 and tied the match at two sets all.

A consecutive pair of blocks by Turkey’s Eda Erdem helped her team keep pace with Germany in the tie-break at 6-6. Ozsoy kept attacking well down the stretch, and Darnel chipped in a pair of attacks at the end to take the tie-break 15-11, and the match as well.

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