Vakifbank Istanbul clinch first Women’s Club World Champs title
Zurich, Switzerland, October 13, 2013 – European champions Vakifbank Istanbul captured their first FIVB Women's Club World Championship by defeating Unilever Volei from Brazil in straight sets (25-23, 27-25, 25-16) in front of 2,000 fans at Saalsporthalle in Zurich on Sunday. Guangdong beat Zurich 3-1 (24-26, 25-23, 25-18, 25-21) to claim Women’s Club World Champs bronze.
Istanbul’s superstar Jovana Brakocevic finished the match with 23 points, including three blocks and one serving ace. Captain Kirdar Sonsirma Gözde, Christiane Fürst and Carolina Costagrande contributed 14, seven and five points respectively. Middle blocker Carol topped the scoring for Unilever with 12 points, including seven blocks. Gabi chipped in with 10 tallies.
Sarah Pavan and Carol got in a couple of smashes and a nice tipover early on but Turkey’s Jovana Brakocevic responded with some good shots of her own, but there was little to separate the two teams in the first stages of the opening set. A kill by captain Kirdar Sonsirma Gözde put Vakifbank Istanbul two points up at the second technical timeout. A quick Brazilian combination helped Unilever to reduce the gap to one point at 22-23 but it was already too late. At 24-23, Brakocevic brought up set point with a blistering winner from the right wing. The South Americans then failed to deal with another Brakocevic hammer and the Europeans were 1-0 up in the match.
Showing no sign of fatigue after a tough tournament, Istanbul roared ahead 10-6 in the second set, igniting a party atmosphere among the Turkish fans wearing red and black. Brazil coach Bernardinho called a timeout and Unilever soon smashed their way back into the set, inching to within one point at 15-16. However, it did not last, Turkey edging back in front with setter Naz serving two winners to make it 18-15. The roller-coaster ride continued with strong Brazilian defense and the Bernardinho team firing back. Brakocevic and her teammates kept calm and when Gabi missed wide, the European champions had their first set point. They needed three attempts to eventually prevail with Sarah Pavan’s shot landing some centimetres behind the baseline.
Gözde and Fürst each showed their power to move the score on to 8-4 for Vakifbank Istanbul early in the third set. Desperate to stay alive in the final, Brankica Mihajlovic finally penetrated the Turkish wall to narrow the gap to 7-9. Both teams set up quick attacks through the middle combined with powerful spikes from their outstanding opposites. Brakocevic smacked another winner to extend Turkey's lead to 16-11 at the second technical timeout. Fürst's monstrous hit made it 18-11, forcing Bernardinho to call his last timeout. Gabi retaliated for Brazil, yet there was no stopping Brakocevic's relentless assault as Istanbul moved forward. Fittingly on match point, it was Brakocevic who soared high and launched a missile deep into Unilever's back-court. Amanda stretched as far as she could, but her bump sailed farther behind her, and Turkey jumped for joy. The set was theirs at 25-16, and with it they had their first world title.
2013 Women's Club World Championship Dream Team
1st Best Outside Spiker: Kenia Carcaces (Volero Zurich)
2nd Best Outside Spiker: Kirdar Sonsirma Gözde (Vakifbank Istanbul)
1st Best Middle Blocker: Christiane Fürst (Vakifbank Istanbul)
2nd Best Middle Blocker: Carol (Unilever Volei)
Best Libero: Yuko Sano (Volero Zurich)
Best Setter: Jingsi Shen (Guangdong Evergrande)
Best Opposite Spiker: Sarah Pavan (Unilever Volei)
Most Valuable Player: Jovana Brakocevic (Vakifbank Istanbul)