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Mixed results in last test for European sides ahead of Club World Championships

Gabi Guimaraes hits past the Nova KBM Branik Maribor of Ela Pintar and Nina Stojiljkovic as she helps VakifBank Istanbul reach a comfortable win in the European Champions League. (Photo: CEV)
Lausanne, Switzerland, November 27, 2019 - Just before heading off to China for the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Women's Club World Championship three of the four European entrants scored convincing wins in Round 2 of the European Champions League this week.

But while Istanbul rivals Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul and VakifBank and Italy's A. Carraro Imoco Conegliano all registered comfortable wins, defending European champions Igor Gorgonzola Novara stumbled in Stuttgart.

Despite an emphatic first set, Novara fell 3-1 (11-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-23) to Allianz MTV Stuttgart in Germany as they struggled in reception. USA's Megan Courtney scored 17 points for Novara, but it was way short of the match high of 28 by Stuttgart's Krystal Rivers, also of USA.

Reigning world champions VakifBank, meanwhile, scored their first win in the competition, defeating Nova KBM Branik Maribor 3-0 (25-13, 25-17, 25-14) in Slovenia.

The win comes after VakifBank's shock home defeat on the opening day of the Champions League to Italy's Savino Del Bene Scandicci.

Isabelle Haak of Sweden led the Turkish side with a match high of 19 points - the only player of either side to score in double digits - as Maribor struggled to find a way past the VakfiBank block which produced 14 stuffs (to just one).

Haak played the whole match, but coach Giovanni Guidetti took the opportunity to bring on several of his subs in the third set.

Elsewhere, three-time world champions Ecazacibasi VitrA Istanbul shut out LP Salo 3-0 (25-22, 25-10, 25-14) in Finland, inspired by Serbia's Tijana Boskovic who scored a match high of 16 points and Brazil's Natalia Pereira who added another 13.

Eczacibasi had full control of the net with 17 blocks to 3 and 44% (33/75) to 25% (23/91) in attack.

Finally, Conegliano dealt decisively with CSM Alba Blaj in Romania, coming away with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-14, 25-22) win.

Paola Egonu scored a match high of 19 points and Chiaka Ogbogu added another 12 for Conegliano who were dominant on the net with 13 blocks to 9 and 44% (39/89) to a mere 25% (22/87) in attack.

The Club World Championship will be held December 3-8 in Shaoxing. Alongside the four European entrants, the competition also features hosts Guangdong Evergrande, Asian champions Tianjin Bohai Bank, South American champions Itambe Minas Belo Horizonte and wild card Dentil Praia Clube of Uberlandia.

● Full details on the CEV website.

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