Istanbul fly to first Women’s Club World Champs title
Zurich, Switzerland, October 13, 2013 – European champions Vakifbank Istanbul captured their first FIVB Volleyball 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 23-22 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 16-15. 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 9-7. 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 further behind her and Turkey jumped for joy. The set was theirs at 25-16, and with it they had their first world title.
Vakifbank Istanbul coach Giovanni Guidetti: “It was an incredible volleyball match. Both teams played on the highest level, showing the 2,000 fans an outstanding duel. We played extremely well in block-defense. I am proud of my players. Once again, they showed their passion and fighting spirit. It is an amazing feeling.”
Vakifbank Istanbul captain Kirdar Sonsirma Gözde: “I’m so proud of my team. Unilever Volei are a really strong team and they played well today, but we did an amazing job as a team. Our attack and our reception weren’t good at all in the beginning. However, we came back strongly. We are never afraid. I cannot explain our domination in Turkey, the Champions League and here at the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship. I think that the word “family” describes us the best.”
Vakifbank Istanbul setter Naz Aydemir: “Our staff did an excellent job with a perfect game plan. We won the title with a fantastic block-defense game. In difficult situations, I can always count on Jovana Brakocevic. She is an outstanding player. Furthermore, the transfer of Carolina Costagrande helped us a lot to stabilize our passing.”
Unilever Volei coach Bernardo Rocha de Rezende: “We played really well the first two sets and had some good opportunities, which we didn’t grasp. In the third set, our performance wasn’t as good as before. We committed too many errors and had to pay a high price against a very strong team from Vakifbank Istanbul. Considering the short preparation and the hard program of some of my players, our performance was pretty good. As we played two good sets today, I’m sure there’s a lot of potential in my team. However, the Brazilian season will be hard as there are good teams. We want to come back in May.”
Unilever Volei captain Fofão: “Vakifbank is an extremely well-organised team. We played two good first sets. We had a big opportunity in the first set, but couldn’t grasp on it even with better blocks. We played on the same level as our opponents. Nevertheless, our errors made the difference today.”
Guangdong beat Zurich 3-1 to claim Women’s Club World Champs bronze
China clinched the bronze medal in the 2013 FIVB Women’s Club World Championship Finals on Sunday after a tough 3-1 (24-26, 25-23, 25-18, 25-21) win over host Volero Zurich. One set down, Lang Ping’s team fought back bravely to secure their spot on the podium.
Ting Zhu was the top scorer for the Asian champions with 24 points. Kenia Carcaces was Zurich’s top scorer with 23. The Swiss came up with 10 blocking points to China’s four, but Guangdong had the edge in serving, seven-five.
Guangdong Evergrande captain Ruoqi Hui: “It was a tough game today against Volero Zurich. Our comeback in the second set was very important for the rest of the game. We displayed a strong fighting spirit. Our defensive play was well-organised and I personally played better this time.”
Guangdong Evergrande coach Lang Ping: “We are happy with the bronze medal. I think our players know each other better now and we start to improve our level. An important difference between the first match against Volero Zurich and the one today was that we knew our opponent better.”
Volero Zurich captain Nneka Onyejekwe: “We experienced many ups and downs. We started well but could not control Ting Zhu and their fast middles. I don’t know why we could not pull through.”
Volero Zurich coach Jan de Brandt: “It’s a pity. We made a very impressive comeback in the first set but lost focus in the crucial moments of the match. We are not used to play constantly at such a high level. China saved more balls in defense what helped them to set up a strong transition game. We won the duel against them in the preliminary phase; today they were better.”
2013 Women's Club World Championship Dream Team
Best Opposite Spiker: Sarah Pavan (Unilever Volei)
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)
Most Valuable Player: Jovana Brakocevic (Vakifbank Istanbul)
FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship Performances
Top Scoring Performances
Top Blocking Performances
6 – Jovana Brakocevic of Vakifbank Istanbul v Unilever Volei (October 11)
Top Blocking Performances by Team
Top Serving Performances
Top Serving Performances by Team
Highest Scorers by Day
October 13 – Ting Zhu of Guangdong Evergrande v Volero Zurich (24 points)
Highest Match Score