Vakifbank Istanbul wins Champions League to qualify for 2013 Club World Championships
With the 25-17, 25-20, 25-23 victory, the Turks repeated their title-win from 2011 (versus Rabita Baku as well). The Player of the Match was MVP Jovana Brakocevic with 14 points. With this result Vakifbank Istanbul claimed a spot to compete at the 2013 FIVB Club World Championships coming up later this year.
Vakifbank Istanbul and Rabita Baku have met once before in the gold medal match of the 2011 CEV Volleyball Champions League for women. Two years ago, Vakifbank Istanbul delighted their home fans with a straight-set win over Rabita Baku. On Saturday, both teams thrilled their audiences with two outstanding performances in the semifinals. Vakifbank Istanbul defeated host Galatasaray Daikin 3:0, while Rabita Baku proved too strong for Unendo Yamamay Busto Arsizio (3:2).
The gold medal match started with Vakifbank Istanbul getting an early advantage with an 8-4 score as Giovanni Guidetti’s team covered the net well with excellent block work and remarkable offensive power. Rabita Baku on the other hand rolled their engines with Aurea Cruz spiking effectively. However, at 6-11, Rabita head coach Marcello Abbondanza asked officials for a first break to restructure their tactics. Jovana Brakocevic and Malgorzata Glinka combined their efforts to move the scoreboard forward in favour of Vakifbank Istanbul with blistering spikes over their opponents’ blocks. In the middle of the opening set, the Turks started leading 17-10 and never looked back. Melis Gürkaynak brought up a set point with a clever service winner, before Brakocevic ended the first set 25-17 in Vakifbank Istanbul’s favour.
Unlike the first set, the game was close in the second period.. Neither side was going to give up easily the chance to walk away a winner. At the second technical timeout, Vakifbank Istanbul led by two points. Volleyball fans from all over the world saw a classy final match with both teams showing their best at that stage of the duel. Madelaynne Montano hammered the Mikasa down for Rabita Baku, but Brakocevic answered with another searing winner from the right to make it 20-17 for Vakifbank Istanbul. Best setter Naz Aydemir blocked for a 22-18 score in Vakifbank Istanbul’s favour to pave the way for a well-deserved 2-0 (25-20) win.
Two sets down, Rabita Baku needed an urgent comeback to keep its hopes alive for the gold medal. Indeed, the Abbondanza squad showed a fierce reaction in the beginning of the third set. Nevertheless, an 11-7 lead was not good enough to pull through. The match balanced on a knife’s edge with both teams playing at their highest level. Best blocker Natasa Krsmanovic sent the Mikasa wide at 19-21 to offer Vakifbank Istanbul’s a two-point advantage. Rabita Baku came closer at 21-22, but the Guidetti squad kept calm with Glinka hammering for a 23-21 lead. At 24-21, Vakifbank Istanbul had their first match ball, but were unable to win the point. Guidetti called his ladies off court to give them a short break. After resumption, Vakifbank Istanbul captain Gizem Güresen seized the team’s third chance to win the tournament.
Earlier in the afternoon Unendo Yamamay Busto Arsizio of Italy settled for bronze after besting Galatasaray Daikin Istanbul in five sets ((25-21, 25-15, 23-25, 22-25, 15-11).
MVP: Jovana Brakocevic (Vakifbank Istanbul)
Best Spiker: Rosir Calderon (Galatasaray Daikin Istanbul)
Best Blocker: Natasa Krsmanovic (Rabita Baku)
Best Server: Maren Brinker (Unendo Yamamay Busto Arsizio)
Best Libero: Gizem Güresen (Vakifbank Istanbul)
Best Receiver: Yuko Sano (Galatasaray Daikin Istanbul)
Best Setter: Naz Aydemir (Vakifbank Istanbul)
Best Scorer: Madelaynne Montano (Rabita Baku)