Tuesday, April 4
Eczacibasi 3, Fenerbahce 1 (29-31, 25-14, 27-25, 25-23)
Wednesday, April 5
Vakifbank 3, Volero Zurich 1 (22-25, 25-21, 25-16, 25-22)
Wednesday, April 5
Dynamo Moscow 3, Liu Jo Nordmeccanica Modena 0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-21)
The semifinals of the European Women’s Champions League are set after quarterfinal action concluded Tuesday and Wednesday. Joining the host Conegliano, from Italy’s Serie A1, in the Final Four are Eczacibasi and Vakifbank from Turkey’s first division and Dynamo Moscow, from the Russian Super League.
Vakifbank will now take on Eszacibasi on April 22, while Dynamo Moscow will face Imoco Volley Conegliano. Both Final Four matches will be played in Treviso, Italy.
Eczacibasi claimed its spot by taking a four-set win over rival Fenerbahce, in Istanbul on Tuesday. After losing the first leg of the home and home series in five sets March 23, Eczacibasi bounced back with a 29-31, 25-14, 27-25, 25-23 win despite losing its best player, Thaisa Daher Pallesi, to an severe ankle injury in Set 3.
Esczacibasi features Americans Jordan Larson (Nebraska 2005-08) and Rachael Adams (Texas 2008-11). Adams scored 16 points in the match (13 kills, 2 aces, 1 block), while Larson added 10 (8 kills, 1 block, 1 ace). Esczacibasi won the CEV Champions League title in 2015.
Watch the final point of the match here.
On Wednesday, the final two spots were secured. Vakifbank swept the series with Volero Zurich, from Switzerland NLA, with a 2-25, 25-21, 25-16, 25-22 win in Istanbul. Vakifbank also won the March 24 meeting in four sets (15-25, 25-20, 25-15, 25-21). This marks Vakifbank’s sixth CEV semifinal appearance in the last seven years.
Kim Hill (Pepperdine indoor 2008-11, beach 2012-13) plays for Vakifbank, and registered 10 points in the match (7 kills, 3 aces). Volero Zurich’s roster includes American Foluke Akinradewo (Stanford 2005-08). Akinradewo managed six points (5 kills, 1 ace).
Dynamo Moscow, of the Russian Super League, recorded its second straight sweep of Liu Jo Nordmeccanica Modena, of Italy’s Serie A1, in Moscow, to secure the last spot in the semifinals. Dynamo Moscow won 3-0 (25-22, 25-13, 25-13), March 23 in Modena, Italy. Dynamo Moscow is making its first semifinal appearance since 2009.
Istanbul, Turkey, April 4, 2017. Eczacibasi VitrA ISTANBUL stormed back from a 2-3 loss they suffered two weeks ago at the hands of city rivals Fenerbahce SK to claim the rematch 3-1 (29-31, 25-14, 27-25, 25-23) and secure a spot in the Final Four of the 2017 CEV Volleyball Champions League – Women. On April 22-23 at Palaverde in Treviso, Eczacibasi VitrA will be trying to claim back the crown they won in 2015 in Szczecin, Poland. Fenerbahce SK and Eczacibasi VitrA traded points up to the first technical time-out of the first set before Eczacibasi broke away to lead 16-13. However, Fenerbahce responded well and after a very close fight, the ‘Yellow Angels’ eventually took the first set by 31-29. The second set followed a different plot, with Eczacibasi claiming an early lead (8-5), which they extended at the second technical time-out (16-11) before rallying to a compelling 25-14 win to double their lead in the match. Eczacibasi VitrA played the same way also in set three leading the way at both technical time-outs (8-4, 16-11). However, Fenerbahce regrouped and were able to tie the score at 19-all. Nevertheless, this was not enough to come out on top as Eczacibasi VitrA stormed to a 27-25 win despite a serious injury suffered by their star middle blocker Thaisa Daher Pallesi. The fourth set was a close race and it looked like Fenerbahce were back on track. The ‘hosts’ claimed a 16-14 lead at the second technical time-out but they ended up losing 23-25, and as a result Eczacibasi VitrA secured their progression to the Final Four where they will be playing VakifBank ISTANBUL or Volero ZÜRICH in the semis.
Istanbul, Turkey, April 5, 2017. VakifBank ISTANBUL claimed also the re-match of their fixture with Volero ZÜRICH 3-1 (22-25, 25-21, 25-16, 25-22) to make sure they will compete at the Final Four of the 2017 CEV Volleyball Champions League – Women, thus making their sixth appearance in the deciding stage of Europe’s elite competition in the last seven years. The major star of VakifBank, China’s Zhu Ting top scored with 21 points, as Lonneke Slöetjes and Kübra Akman Caliskan contributed to their team’s success with 18 and 12, respectively. In the semis scheduled for April 22 at Palaverde in Treviso, VakifBank will play city rivals Eczacibasi VitrA ISTANBUL. Volero took the first set 25-22 to keep their hopes alive and even though the visitors from Switzerland edged ahead at the first technical time-out of set two (8-5), VakifBank showed a remarkable performance after the break with Zhu Ting and Slöetjes scoring nine and eight points in this set to shape up a 25-21 win for the Turks. VakifBank displayed an extremely well organised game in set three and by taking this one (25-16), they made sure they would progress to the Finals. Since they had won 3-1 two weeks ago in Zurich, VakifBank needed to take two sets from the rematch to book their ticket to Treviso. Though the fourth set did not have any significance, VakifBank showed no mercy and pulled out a 3-1 victory to keep a perfect record in the competition this season.
Moscow, Russia, April 5, 2017. Dinamo MOSCOW will be making their first appearance at a Final Four of the CEV Volleyball Champions League – Women since 2009 after they comfortably claimed also the second round of their Playoffs 6 fixture with Italy’s Liu Jo Nordmeccanica MODENA. Dinamo MOSCOW rallied to a second 3-0 victory (25-20, 25-19, 25-21) in as many matches and on April 22 the Russians will challenge hosts Imoco Volley CONEGLIANO in the semis for a spot in the ‘grand finale’ of the competition. Though Dinamo MOSCOW had cruised to a comfortable 3-0 victory in Italy two weeks ago, everyone expected the rematch to be a lot more challenging. However, the Muscovites looked extremely motivated to progress to the next stage of the competition and claimed an early 6-2 lead in the first set. MODENA closed in at 7-5 but after that, the visitors made many mistakes and could not find a way through the Russian block, thus helping Dinamo MOSCOW shape up a 14-10 lead. Nataliya Goncharova set the pace for the hosts and Yana Shcherban spectacularly closed the first set at 25-20. Dinamo MOSCOW looked even more in control in the second set and at the end of a long rally, Bethania de la Cruz scored to contribute to an 8-2 lead for the Russians. Though the Italians attempted a comeback and they reduced their deficit to three points (18-15), Dinamo played a perfect game and with their 25-19 win, the Muscovites secured their progression to the Final Four. The third set did not have any significance and Dinamo initially lost focus but eventually regrouped to finish the match by pulling out a 3-0 victory.