Vakifbank Istanbul didn’t hold back as they graduated from European to world champions. In front of 2,000 fans at Zurich’s Saalsporthalle, they beat their South American counterparts Unilever Volei from Brazil in straight sets (25-23, 27-25, 25-16) to capture their first ever FIVB Club World Championship.
Istanbul star Jovana Brakočević finished the match with 23 points, including three blocks and one service ace, while 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, while Gabi added 10 points.
“It was an incredible volleyball match,” Vakifbank Istanbul coach Giovanni Guidetti said.
“Both teams played at the highest level, providing the 2,000 fans with an outstanding duel. We played extremely well in block-defence. I am proud of my players. Once again, they showed their passion and fighting spirit. It is an amazing feeling.”
Women’s Club World Championship home page
The gold-medal match was the second time in the tournament that the teams had met after Istanbul had won 3-1 in the pool phase. The Turkish side also beat Iowa Ice in pool play before going on to defeat Guangdong Evergrande in the semifinals.
“I’m so proud of my team,” said Vakifbank Istanbul captain Gözde. “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.”
Guangdong bounced back from losing in the semifinals to claim the bronze medal following a tough 3-1 (24-26, 25-23, 25-18, 25-21) win over host team Volero Zurich that continued the revolution that Guangdong and national team coach “Jenny” Lang Ping has brought to Chinese volleyball in 2013.
“I think our players know each other better now and we have started to improve our level,” Lang Ping said. “An important difference between the first match against Volero Zurich and the one today was that we knew our opponent better.”
When the action moved to Betim in Minas Gerais State in Brazil for the Men’s Club World Championship, the home fans were left delighted with the outcome. Local favourites Sada Cruzeiro beat European champions Lokomotiv Novosibirsk 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 25-20) in front of 7,200 ardent fans at Divino Braga Gymnasium in Betim.
Men’s Club World Championship home page
Trentino recovered from their semifinal loss to Novosibirsk, which stopped them from winning a fifth consecutive gold, by defeating UPCN of Argentina 3-1 (25-23, 23-25, 25-21, 25-19) to claim the bronze.
Cuban Yoandry Leal finished with 13 points for the new champions, including four aces and one block, Wallace Souza scored 12 and was rewarded for his towering performance by being named MVP for the tournament. Meanwhile, middle blockers Douglas Cordeiro and Eder Carbonara contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively.
“We played at an excellent level,” Sada Cruzeiro coach Marcelo Mendez said. “It was an exceptional game for us in all the fundamentals. The serve was our main weapon and we were able to control the game starting from that.”
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