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Reigning Club World Champions VakifBank retain Turkish national league crown

 
The players and coaching staff of VakifBank celebrate their second straight title in Turkey's national league
Istanbul, Turkey, May 3, 2014 - VakifBank Istanbul retained their title in the Turkish national league sponsored by Acibadem finishing on Saturday the Championship series with Fenerbahce after four rounds. VakifBank scored a 3-1 victory (25-23, 25-22, 24-26, 25-20) to complete their campaign by topping the charts for the second straight season.

This way VakifBank could also draw the line of an already memorable season with yet another trophy after winning the 2013 edition of the Club World Championship, Turkey’s national cup as well as a silver medal in the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League.

VakifBank had opened the series by routing Fenerbahce in straight sets (25-13, 27-25, 25-16) to follow with a much more contested tie-break victory in the second round (31-29, 22-25, 17-25, 25-22, 15-13). Only a couple of days ago Fenerbahce had re-opened the fate of the finals by scoring a 3:1 victory (25-22, 17-25, 25-19, 25-21).

On Saturday Fenerbahce caught a flying start in the first set of the fourth match played at Burhan Felek Volleyball Hall. The “Yellow Angels” – winners of the 2014 CEV Volleyball Cup – claimed a 7:1 lead powered by the excellent spikes killed by Aneta Havlickova. However, VakifBank was able to respond with a 6-0 run propelled by the spikes of their captain Gözde Sonsirma Kirdar and by excellent serving contributed by Christiane Fürst. This way Fenerbahce’s lead was reduced down to 8:7 at the first technical time-out. VakifBank drew level at 12 and with a series of good actions set the pace at the second mandatory stop (16:13). Havlickova and Korean superstar Kim Yeon-Koung responded by leveling the score at 18 all; the teams exchanged the lead back and forth before VakifBank sealed the final 25-23 on a couple of terrific blocks and a spike by Jovana Brakocevic.

VakifBank stretched momentum to the early phases of the second set leading the way by 4:1 before Fenerbahce scored three unanswered points to make it 4 all. VakifBank responded with another series of five points (9:4) and could keep that margin also at the second technical time-out (16:12) as Turkey’s reigning champions were paced by Brakocevic and Sonsirma. It was still a long way to go since Fenerbahce stormed back to level the score at 18 all but could eventually not keep the pace of their opponents who went on to cash the provisional 2:0 (25-22).

VakifBank continued to dictate the tempo of the game also in the third set (8:4) but Fenerbahce responded once more by making it 14 all. After another close run, where both teams completed their side-outs, Fenerbahce came out on top (26-24) thereby prolonging the game to a fourth set.

VakifBank was off to a flying start also in the fourth set (6:3) but Fenerbahce reduced their gap down to a minimum (6:5), before flipping the charts around to lead at the first technical time-out by 8:6 on blocks by Alisha Glass and spikes by Kim. Still after the break Fenerbahce started making too many mistakes and this way helped their opponents get back control of the game (10:8). With a series of great attacks killed by Sonsirma Kirdar VakifBank made it to 13:10 first and then to 17:14; a time-out asked by Fenerbahce mentor Marcello Abbondanza did not help change the course of the game as VakifBank looked unstoppable with Sonsirma, Brakocevic and Jelena Nikolic on fire. VakifBank cashed their 3:1 victory (25-20) to retain the title they had claimed last year.

Individual awards
MVP: Gözde Sonsirma Kirdar (VakifBank)
Best Scorer: Kim Yeon-Koung (KOR/Fenerbahce)
Best Spiker: Kim Yeong-Koung (KOR/Fenerbahce)
Best Server: Bahar Toksoy Guidetti (VakifBank)
Best Blocker: Eda Erdem Dündar (Fenerbahce)
Best Setter: Naz Aydemir Akyol (VakifBank)
Best Receiver: Gözde Sonsirma Kirdar (VakifBank)
Best Libero: Merve Dalbeler Seniye (Fenerbahce)

Last 6 years’ champions
2008/2009: Fenerbahce Acibadem
2009/2010: Fenerbahce Acibadem
2010/2011: Fenerbahce Acibadem
2011/2012: Eczacibasi VitrA
2012/2013: VakifBank
2013/2014: VakifBank




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