- Fenerbahce 3, Eczacibasi 2 (16-25, 25-22, 25-19, 21-25, 15-12)
- Istanbul, Turkey
- Attendance: 3586
- Box Score
The quarterfinals of the Women’s Champions League continued Thursday with the first leg of two playoff series.
Eczacibasi and rival Fenerbahce, both from Turkey’s first division, played the first of a home-and-home series to start the action. Fenerbahce won the match 3-2 by scores of 16-25, 25-22, 25-19, 21-25, 15-12 in Istanbul. The teams will face off against on Tuesday, April 4 to determine which will advance to the Champions League semifinals.
Esczacibasi features Americans Jordan Larson (Nebraska 2005-08) and Rachael Adams (Texas 2008-11). Larson had 11 kills and two aces in the match, while Adams registered four blocks.
Wow :O Did you expect this result for the derby in Istanbul between Eczacıbaşı VitrA Voleybol and Fenerbahçe?! What a game! Here's one of those fantastic rallies we could see during the game!
Posted by CEV Champions League Volley on Thursday, March 23, 2017
- Vakifbank 3, Volero Zurich 1 (15-25, 25-20, 25-17, 25-21)
- Zurich, Switzerland
- Attendance: 2300
- Box Score
The second match of the playoffs featured Volero Zurich, from the Switzerland NLA, against Vakifbank , from Turkey’s first division. Vakfbank won the match 3-1 by scores 15-25, 25-20, 25-17, 25-21 in Zurich. The teams will meet again on Wednesday, April 5 to decide the series.
Volero Zurich’s roster includes American Foluke Akinradewo (Stanford 2005-08), while Kim Hill (Pepperdine indoor 2008-11, beach 2012-13) plays for Vakifbank. Akinradewo posted nine kills, two blocks and two aces, while Hill managed nine kills and two aces.
Full results from Champions League action are here. Conegliano, from Italy’s Serie A1, has already advanced into the semifinals.
Courtesy of CEV
Istanbul played host to one of the Champions League thrillers, as a local derby commenced between two teams to determine which one will be at the Final Four next month. In a game with many twists and turns, it was Fenerbahce SK ISTANBUL who came out the victor beating Eczacibasi VitrA ISTANBUL 3-2 (16-25, 25-22, 25-19, 21-25, 15-12), although it should be said that in terms of total points the losing team actually won more, 103 to 102.
In a match that has been highly anticipated since the Playoff 6 Drawing of Lots, both teams started strongly exchanging points until the home teams American star Jordan Larson stepped up and helped her side to lead at the first technical time-out 8-6. After this, Fenerbahce bounced back with some important points from Natalia Zilio Pereira (11-12) before Brazil’s Thaisa Daher Pallesi’s effective serving forced Fenerbahce to take their first team time-out at 14-12. Eczacibasi VitrA continued to lead at the second technical time out 16-14 and the orange and white blocks helped the home team win the first set 25-16.
The second set started with the same energy from the both teams with Fenerbahce leading 8-7 when their Korean star Kim’s serving forced Eczacibasi to take their first team time-out trailing 8-11. This had little influence though with Fenerbahce continuing to dominate and home team coach Massimo Barbolini took their second team time out 16-10. Eczacibasi did start to mount a comeback but Fenerbahce won the second set 25-22 in the end.
Fenerbahce continued their domination in the third set and led 8-5, then 14-11, and 16-13 at the second technical time-out. Barbolini made some substitutions, but Fenerbahce remained in control and won the third set 25-19.
The fourth set was similar when an early lead by the travelling team (8-6) seemed to indicate that the match may have gone away from Eczacibasi. However they rallied, led in particular by the outside hitter Jordan Larson, and they were actually ahead by the second technical time-out 16-14. Two blocks in a row then helped the home team to extend their lead with Eczacibasi crucially winning the fourth set 25-21. With the score level at 2-2, the 3,586 spectators at the Burhan Felek Voleybol Salonu hall were confident that they could cheer their team onto a home victory. However, Fenerbahce started the fifth set the stronger and were ahead 8-6 at the change of ends. Eczacibasi fought back and made the score 8-8, although this was a good as it got for the home team. Fenerbahce won most of the crucial points at the important moments and triumphed 15-12 meaning that they have the advantage for the second match in a fortnight.
VakifBank ISTANBUL fought their way back after a bad start to eventually prevail 3-1 (15-25, 25-20, 25-17, 25-21) over multiple time Swiss champions Volero ZÜRICH. This puts the Turkish side in pole position to back up their victory when the 2nd leg returns at their home in a fortnights time.
Volero ZÜRICH versus VakifBank ISTANBUL. If there is one matchup in European women’s club Volleyball that needs no introduction, it’s this battle between the team from the shores of Lake Zurich and the team from the Turkish metropole Istanbul. Volero did not disappoint the high expectations of their home crowd. ZÜRICH started strongly with an aggressive serving game as well as a cold-blooded offense, the reigning Swiss champs outclassed the Turkish top team at the very start of the game. VakifBank, on the other hand, were with their backs to the wall in the opening set where a home lead of 18-9 was testament to that. One of the main reasons for the result was Volero setter Bojana Zivkovic. The Olympic silver medallist had to replace Fabíola since the Brazilian national player suffered a knee injury in a training session before the game. Zivkovic played a huge game and led her team to the win in the first set. Foluke Akinradewo’s ace to 25-15 was the perfect conclusion.
VakifBank had to step up. But Giovanni Guidetti wouldn’t be Giovanni Guidetti if he didn’t know how to manage such difficult stages. The star coach found the right words to bring his team back on track during the first set interval. The leading power on the court, on the other hand, was without doubt opposite Lonneke Slöetjes. The Dutch international overpowered the Swiss defence and booked eight points in the second set alone. VakifBank ISTANBUL eventually prevailed 25-20 and were back in the game.
In the third set, the two teams spoiled the 2,300 spectators in the stands with Volleyball at its finest. Big saves, incredible blocks, and thrilling spikes; this set had a little bit of everything. But it was once again Lonneke Slöetjes and Olympic champ Zhu Ting who made the difference with their cold-bloodedness in the offence. Volero ZÜRICH were not able to find an answer to VakifBank’s offensive power and consequently, the visitors won the set again, this time 25-17.
Volero ZÜRICH were now under pressure and had to fight their way back into the game if they wanted to avoid to start with a handicap in the away game. But Lonneke Slöetjes and VakifBank just proved too strong in the offence. Therefore, the team from the Turkish metropole eventually prevailed 25-21 in the fourth set to claim the crucial away win.
Volero ZÜRICH coach Zoran Terzic. “In the first set, we played with a free head. We had a strong serve and attack. Unfortunately, we then started to be afraid of our own mistakes. It is impossible to win over VakifBank ISTANBUL like this; because VakifBank is one of the best – if not the best – team in the world. Nonetheless, I told my players that it takes two good games to win such a series. Now we have to start as well into the game in Istanbul, like we did today, then everything is possible. I believe in my team and in our chances.”
Volero ZÜRICH setter Bojana Zivkovic could not hide her disappointment. “We played a really good opening set, but then all of a sudden it looked like we stopped playing. Nevertheless, I am very confident for the away match.”
VakifBank ISTANBUL coach Giovanni Guidetti did not want to overestimate this win saying: “Volero started really strong into this game. I would not say we played bad, but we were just too slow in our offence. I think the pressure was possibly a reason why because when you are VakifBank you have to win every game. Nevertheless, we stayed calm as a team and fought our way back into the game. But honestly, this win is not enough. It’s like leading 2:0 in a game. It’s a first step, but we have to win the game in Istanbul too.”
VakifBank ISTANBUL setter Naz Aydemir Akyol: “I think it’s normal to struggle a little bit in the first set when you play abroad in another gym. But we did a great job afterwards. We committed too many errors and could not take advantage of our service in the opening set. It is always better to face a team you know. And it’s like Volero ZÜRICH played in the Turkish league because we are going to face them now for the sixth time in two years.”