Third Time European Champion

Treviso, Italy, April 23, 2017. The best was surely yet to come, as we entered the Gold Medal match. The home team of Imoco Volley CONEGLIANO were in the final and up against the powerhouse of VakifBank ISTANBUL.

Third Time European Champion

Treviso, Italy, April 23, 2017. The best was surely yet to come, as we entered the Gold Medal match. The home team of Imoco Volley CONEGLIANO were in the final and up against the powerhouse of VakifBank ISTANBUL. The Palaverde in Treviso was packed to the rafters. The home team started the brightest, but the first set went the way of VakifBank 25-19. While the second set was fairly comfortable (25-13), the third set was a real thriller with it going right to the wire, before VakifBank eventually took it 25-23.

For more regular updates go to Twitter @CEVolleyballCL or search for the official event hashtag: #CLF4Treviso

Set 1
After an entrance to remember, both teams took to the court determined to make their own history. VakifBank were looking for their 3rd Champions League title (after 2011, 2013), while the home team of Imoco Volley were after their maiden win. VakifBank had already guaranteed one thing, having never before failed to win a medal once qualified for a Final Four. The score at the first technical was 8-6 to the Turkish team, who despite losing the first couple of points came back strong in the first third of the set. From here the away team kicked (16-13) on for what was in the end a fairly comfortable set victory.

Their only real scares came at 20-18 when some confusion over a Challenge call ended up with the point going to the home team. However from here the home team could only get one more point, while VakifBank accelerated to the set victory 25-19.

With Imoco struggling in the blocking department, thoughts could not help but turn to their injured middle blocker, Robin de Kruijf who is out with an ankle injury.

Set 2
With the crowd a little quieter, VakifBank started the second slightly more confident and this told as they strode to an 8-3 lead. From here the points went at around a rate of 2 for VakifBank and only 1 for Imoco as the Turkish team continued to dominate. It was 16-8 at the second technical time-out and before the home crowd of 4,831 spectators knew what had happened it was 2-0 with a final set score of 25-13.

Set 3
So this was it, and it started with everyone in the room knowing it. VakifBank were one set from a triple Champions League crown, while the home team had nothing to lose and they went out with everything they had. After some great action, it was closer at the first technical than it had been for the whole match at 8-7.

The score stayed close, but with the Turkish team constantly having a slight edge. With the crowd really wanting more an Imoco error ended up granting VakifBank the title with a third set score of 25-23.

Nicole Fawcett, opposite of Imoco Volley CONEGLIANO: "VakifBank ISTANBUL really stepped up their game from yesterday. We played the team who seems to be making every perfect play and it was tough for us. They did a great job and I think in the third set we came back really well and fought hard but it wasn’t enough. It’s hard to say how we could have stopped them. They had an effect on how we play which was not by any means our best, but I think if we were to bring our best, it would not be a three sets match."

Raphaela Folie, middle blocker of Imoco Volley CONEGLIANO: "The semi-final was amazing and we didn’t expect to reach the final in such a way. Today we started a little bit slow and we only found our rhythm in the third set, but it was too late to do anything. Vakifbank ISTANBUL was the stronger team today, but I feel we could have done more. It was our first Champions League final, so we will try do better next year."

Kimberly Hill, outside hitter of VakifBank ISTANBUL: "It’s an incredible feeling! You don’t have any kind of expectations when you come in to this kind of match. You just go in and try to play good. It’s easy with this kind of teammates. Everyone is supporting one another and makes it really fun."

Giovanni Guidetti, head coach of VakifBank ISTANBUL: "I don’t think about this match. I just think about this team. This year we were really down so many times, we got a lot of punches on the way, but they never gave up. We lost in the Turkish League semi-final and we came here after 10 days of great work, so I am really proud of these players."

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  • VakifBank kept winning streak in Champions League 2/8/2018

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    VakifBank kept winning streak in Champions League

    The ‘Match of the Week’ featuring titleholders VakıfBank ISTANBUL and Russia’s Dinamo MOSCOW will draw much of the attention – especially since the Muscovites need a positive result in order to remain in contention for a spot in the Playoffs.  

    VakifBank ISTANBUL (TUR) vs. Dinamo MOSCOW (RUS)

      • VakifBank ISTANBUL claimed four titles in 2017, i.e. the CEV Volleyball Champions League, the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship, Turkey’s Supercup and national cup.
     • VakifBank ISTANBUL were the first Turkish team to win Europe’s elite club competition – in 2011 – and the only one to have three titles to their name – 2011, 2013 and 2017.
     • VakifBank have not lost a Champions League home match since December 11, 2014 when they lost 1-3 to France’s RC CANNES.
     • It is the last home match in Pool D for VakifBank where they have three wins in as many matches so far.

     VakifBank team captain Gözde Kirdar: “Dinamo MOSCOW is an incredibly strong team, especially in attack. They recently transferred a player to strengthen their roster. It will be a very important match for us, because we want to secure first place in Pool D. We are working very hard for this match and I hope our supporters will not leave us alone.”

     VakifBank middle blocker Milena Rasic: “Dinamo MOSCOW is a very good team. I am sure they will come here to give everything they can. We know how important this game is for us and for them as well. We have to be ready for this match.”

    VakifBank ISTANBUL head coach Giovanni Guidetti: “For sure this will be a very different match from the one that we had in Moscow. This match will be Dinamo MOSCOW’s last chance to stay in contention for a spot in the Playoffs. They have a new and very good player in attack. It will be a very difficult match for us. We have to play very carefully.”

  • From Russia with the 3-0 1/24/2018

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    From Russia with the 3-0

    VakıfBank ISTANBUL continued their fine form in the competition winning away in Russia meaning that they are undefeated since the final in 2016 - a run of 15 matches.

    Dinamo MOSCOW (RUS) vs VakifBank ISTANBUL (TUR) 0-3 (20-25, 22-25, 18-25)

    • Vakifbank started the game very confidently and although the score was level in the early exchanges the home team trailed at the technical breaks.
    • The home side were clearly directed to place more risk on the serve by coach Zoran Terzic.
    • Zhu Ting (top scorer with 16 points) and Kübra Akman Caliskan were very effective and directed their team to a 25-20 first set win.
    • In the second set Dinamo MOSCOW looked closer and had a slight advantage at the second technical time-out causing some tension for VakifBank. However, the travelling side showed their true qualities with Gözde Kirdar very accurate and aggressive - highlighted by it being her ace that ended the set 25-22.
    • The third set offered the last chance for Dinamo, however a number of unforced errors lead to a seven point deficit at the second technical (9-16). From here Turkish setter Naz Aydemir Akyol orchestrated things and the reigning champions took another victory (25-18 in the final set).

     Milena Rasic: We had a great match today. We won in front of a powerful team. We are also happy to have won 3-0. We want to keep winning series.

    Giovanni Guidetti: I am very happy for winning. Because it's an important game. We were very good especially in the blocks. We made exactly 16 blocks today. We played aggressive, focused and careful. Now we are the leader in the group. But every match is like a final for us. We have many challenging matches to play in the future.

  • 2 consicutive wins in Champions League 1/10/2018

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    2 consicutive wins in Champions League

    VakifBank ISTANBUL (TUR) vs. Grot Budowlani LODZ (POL) 3-1 (25-16, 24-26, 25-15, 25-16)

    • Zhu Ting top scored in the match with 21 points for VakifBank.
     • Milena Rasic recorded as many as eight blocks for the home side out of 18 for VakifBank.
     • VakifBank claimed a 10-point lead in the third set at 23-13, the highest point difference in the match.

     Milena Rasic, player of VakifBank: “We played a very good match but I think we could have won 3-0. Unfortunately, we lost focus and let them play their own game in the second set. They played very well but after we found our rhythm again, we were able to take three points from this match.”

     Giovanni Guidetti, coach of VakifBank: “The best thing out of this match is that we took three points. We played this match after some intensive training and I know that my team is a little bit tired. However, I do not like it, when my team does not play well in defence. That is the reason why we failed in the second set but in the end we are happy with the three points we have taken from this match.”

  • VakifBank started with a home win 12/14/2017

    VakifBank claim Istanbul derby after four closely-fought sets

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    VakifBank started with a home win

    VakifBank claim Istanbul derby after four closely-fought sets

    Luxembourg, December 14, 2017. VakifBank ISTANBUL claimed the eagerly anticipated derby with Galatasaray SK ISTANBUL (3-1; 25-22, 25-18, 23-25, 26-24) to start their journey in the pool stage of the 2018 CEV Volleyball Champions League – Women in emphatic style. VakifBank are chasing their fourth title in Europe’s elite club competition, but first have to progress to the Playoffs 6 before setting their sights on another continental crown.

    • The Chinese star player of VakifBank, Zhu Ting, top scored with 25 points.
    • Milena Rasic and Sinead Jack killed five blocks apiece for VakifBank and Galatasaray, respectively.
    • VakifBank scored as many as 13 blocks.
    • VakifBank looked incredibly dominant in the second set, where they had an edge of 10 points (18-8) over their rivals.
    • Galatasaray played their first Champions League match since the 2013 Final Four – which they hosted in Istanbul and where they had to settle for fourth place. Back then, VakifBank had won their second title in the competition.

    Kelsey Robinson, player of VakifBank:
    “The first match in the group stage of the CEV Champions League is always tough. Therefore, the Galatasaray match was also tough. In the first set, our opponent played very good, especially in attack. However, I think that we responded very well to their challenge. In the third set, I think we relaxed a little bit but in the final set, we fought for every point and we eventually won.”

     Giovanni Guidetti, head coach of VakifBank: “You cannot expect an easy victory from this kind of matches. Our opponent Galatasaray is a very strong team. We should have won 3-0 and I am a little bit upset because of the third set. We gave away as many as 15 points to Galatasaray. In the final set, on the other hand, we fought for every point. We won this game because we deserved it. Details are always important to me.”

  • VakıfBank Qualified Perfectly11/11/2017

    VakıfBank Istanbul 3-0 Minchanka Minsk

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    VakıfBank Qualified Perfectly

    VakıfBank Istanbul 3-0 Minchanka Minsk
    Sets: 25-21, 25-16,25-16
    Duration: 1h 15min

    First 6 of VakifBank: Gözde Kırdar, Zhu Ting, Kübra Çalışkan, Naz Aydemir, Milena Rasic, Lonneke Sloetjes- Gizem Örge.
    First 6 of M. Minsk: Nadzeya Stoliar, Volha Palcheuskaya, Katsiaryna Sakolchyk, Aksana Kavalchuk, Nadzeya Smirnova, Anzelika Barysevich – Hanna Hryshkevich
    Top Scorer: Lonneke Sloetjes (14 pt.)
    Top Blocker: Zhu Ting (3)
    Top Block Points: Minchanka Minsk (9pt.)
    Top score difference: 10 pt. (3rd Set –VakıfBank-Minchanka Minsk: 23-13) 
    VakıfBank Team Captain Gözde Kırdar: It was not easy in Minsk, so we worked really hard after this match. Guidetti expected a better game today, so I am very happy we maket his happen. It’s all about confidence and teamwork. We will play better and better, after we get used to eachother with new players. I congratulate M. Minsk they really give effort and forced us. I think in group stage we will perform better quality and better volleyball. We sure want to win Champions League title again and we are focused as we focus every year to this goal. I feel very lucky to play in a volleyball temple like this.  

    Headcoach of VakıfBank Giovanni Guidetti:
    Our squad is stronger than M. Minsk. But Minsk performed great volleyball in this two games. I want to congratulate them. I am happy because of the result. But I am also aware that we need to play better volleyball. I trust my team so we will perform better volleyball in next games. I would to thank all our players and our fans.

    Headcoach of M. Minsk Viktar Hancharou: I want to say thanks to my team for their performance on the first and second sets. Also we are glad to play in this gym. VakifBank is the one of the top teams of Europe and World. It was very hard for us to play against such a team like them, because we have only Russian players in our squad. Both games in Minsk and in Istanbul were good experiences for us. The level of the players of VakifBank is much better than us, so they win. I wish good luck to VakifBank to win Champions League again.

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