Dinamo claims CEV Champions League title, FIVB Women's Club Championship ticket
The Russian powerhouse dethroned the reigning champions from VakifBank Istanbul, by defeating them 3-0 (25-23, 25-11, 25-23) in Sunday’s final match in Baku.
Fans of both teams, as well as thousands of volleyball lovers from the Azerbaijani capital, flocked to the Crystal Hall to observe the grand finale of Europe’s most prestigious club competition.
The two teams exchanged leads before the first technical time-out, but then VakifBank took a more permanent control of the scoreboard. Dinamo showed better performance in serving and blocking to turn things around in the conclusive moments of the first set. Ekaterina Gamova contributed as many as 10 points, including the perfect hit for the last one that shaped up the final 25-23.
The Russian team showed a fantastic volleyball spectacle in the second set. Dinamo was functioning like a well-tuned machine and completely dominated on the court and took the set by a landslide 25-11.
At 2-1 VakifBank was in the lead in the third set for the last time. However, it was once again a very tight set. Similar to the first part, the battle of the blockers was an exciting show, as they contributed many points on both sides of the net. The score was close and the gap never exceeded three points. The gap was this wide when Dinamo reached its first match point, but VakifBank managed to stay alive for two more rallies before the Russians converted for 25-23 to rejoice as Champions League winners.
Ekaterina Gamova was once again the best scorer of the match with 21 points for Dinamo. Jordan Quinn Larson-Burbach added another 16. Captain Gözde Sonsirma was VakifBank’s most prolific player with 10 points.
“We were expecting this,” Gamova confidently said after the final. “We are stronger and we put all our force to win the Final Four. Here it is - we are the champions.”
“I am happy to prove that we are the best team in Europe and will continue to encourage our fans to love our team more and more,” said Dinamo head coach Rishat Gilyazutdinov. “We are all happy. Many thanks to everybody who was here to support us and thanks to the organizers. It was a real nice event that we will never forget.”
“We are really sorry that we could not handle the ball well,” VakifBank player Gizem Karadayi said. “So the team was motivated, but there was something missing. I think that we made a wrong tactic choice. But we are looking forward to win the Turkish championship and participate here again next year.”
“I do not know what happened to the team,” said head coach Giovanni Guidetti. “In the first set we made a nice performance despite losing it. But after that we totally gave up. We understood that we would not able to surpass this team. Sorry about that, and congratulations to the opponents!”
Click here for more details of the match.
The golden medals and the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League cup were handed to Dinamo KAZAN by CEV President André Meyer, accompanied by DenizBank CEO and President Hakan Ates.
CEV President Meyer also presented an award to Ekaterina Gamova who was declared the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Final Four. In line with the Fair Play. Volleyball Way campaign of the European Volleyball Confederation, a special Fair Play award was presented to VakifBanks’s setter Naz Aydemir Akyol by CEV Vice President Jan Hronek. Also participating in the Awarding Ceremony were CEV Senior Vice President Aleksandar Boricic, CEV Vice President Renato Arena, President of the European Cups Commission Riet Ooms, President of the European Refereeing Commission Jan Rek, VC Rabita BAKU President Jalil Jafarov and representatives of DenizBank and the Azerbaijan Volleyball Federation.
As usual, seven more individual awards were handed:
Best Scorer: Ekaterina Gamova (RUS/Dinamo KAZAN)
Best Setter: Nootsara Tomkom (THA/Rabita BAKU)
Best Receiver: Carolina Costagrande (ITA/VakifBank ISTANBUL)
Best Libero: Brenda Castillo (DOM/Rabita BAKU)
Best Server: Antonella Del Core (ITA/Dinamo KAZAN)
Best Blocker: Jordan Quinn Larson-Burbach (USA/Dinamo KAZAN)
Best Spiker: Neslihan Demir (TUR/Eczacibasi VitrA ISTANBUL)
Live photogallery from the events in Baku is available here.