Rabita could not hold on to an early 4-1 lead and allowed to opponent to momentarily gain the advantage at 5-6. However, a four-point run gave the home side another advantage, and they did not let it go through the end. Despite Eczacibasi’s better blocking performance, Rabita’s more successful efforts in spiking and serving paid off with 25-21 at the end of the set.
The next set featured total domination of Rabita, blocking and attacking more efficiently from the beginning through the final 25-12, with help by Aurea Cruz’s elegant hit off the opponent’s block.
third set was by far the most interesting one in the match. There was a tough
battle on the court for every point as Eczacibasi tried to turn things around
with more aggressive spiking, but made too many unforced errors. After several
changes in the lead, Rabita allowed a 16-12 lead slip away to prompt an
exciting over-time ending. The home side did not take advantage of the first
two set points, but then finished it all off with a kill block by TeTori Dixon
to give a green light to the celebrations.
Ewa Skowronska-Dolata topped the scorers’ chart of the match with 15
points. Teammate Aurea Cruz contributed another 12 to Rabita’s victory,
while Neslihan Demir was Eczacibasi’s most prolific player with 11 points.
“It was very tough for both teams as everybody lacked motivation,” Rabita captain Sanja Starovic said. “But we pushed ourselves till the end of the match. Our fans helped us do it. But once again, sorry for yesterday. We could not give them the trophy.”
were completely out of motivation,” said Eczacibasi’s captain Esra Gumus
Kirici. “Although we lost to VakifBank Istanbul yesterday, we could have
shown a good performance at this match, but unfortunately we did not do it at
all. I am sorry for this year, but I hope next year we will perform
we made a better game and did not expect to lose against VakifBank,” head coach
Lorenzo Micelli said. “Today we made some terribly stupid mistakes and
this ended up with our loss. Congratulations to the home team.”
The winning team’s mentor Eldar Yusubov was positive about the win.
“Yesterday after the match I just released the players so that they could recover a little before today. It worked. They played with motivation and fought through the end. I am not very happy because we had been focused on the final, but unfortunately we performed badly yesterday. This was my first Final Four experience, so maybe the third place is not too bad.”
Click here for more details of the match including statistics.
The final match between Russia’s Dinamo KAZAN and Turkey’s VakifBank ISTANBUL is set to start at 19:00 local time (16:00 CET).
All games are streamed live online by LAOLA1.tv.
Live photogallery from the events in the Azerbaijani capital is available here.
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