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Tiebreaker Times

2016 FIVB Women's CWC

Eczasibasi VitrA thwarts rival Vakifbank to clinch Finals seat

Defending champions Eczasibasi VitrA stepped up in the most anticipated match of the 2016 FIVB Women’s Club Championship, outlasting fellow Turkish club Vakifbank Istanbul in the semifinal 25-23, 19-25, 25-17, 25-23 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

With both teams featuring the best players from the 2016 Olympics, the match came down to execution and ball control.

Trading heavy hits in the opening, Eczasibasi only pulled away during the set’s last three points. Serbian Tijana Boskovic unleashed an off-the-block hit to bring Eczasabasi to a 23-all deadlock. Her fellow Serbian, setter Maja Ogjenovic then found two aces, targeting the same zone to clinch the first set.

Vakifbank took their turn to break away late in the second set. Rio MVP Zhu Ting notched blocks and spikes in a 5-0 swing that gave Istanbul a 22-18 lead and clinched the set.

The third set saw a spirited rally from Eczasibasi’s Russian winger Tatiana Kosheleva who swung for three points in a 4-0 stretch that buoyed her team to an 18-13 lead. Vakifbank’s errors deterred any chance at a late comeback.

Vitra then coughed up numerous service errors that allowed Istanbul to keep the fourth frame close. Eczasibasi’s two-time Olympic gold medalist Thaise Paller kept her team afloat for a good stretch, finishing quick plays and nailing blocks, one of which gave Vitra set point at 24-22. American winger Jordan Larson capped the match with a hit-out.

“I thought both teams are evenly matched talent-wise. We just worked better as a team and played aggressively longer than Vakifbank so we got the win,” said 19-year old Boskovic who finished with 22 points.

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Eczasabasi had four other players go for double-digits with Kosheleva adding 13, Thaisa pitching in 12, and Ogjenovic and Larson each contributing 10.

Zhu led Vakifbank with 23 markers off 20 attacks, two blocks, and an ace. Dutch opposite Lonneke Slöetjes managed 10 markers.

Eczasibasi will face the winner of the Volero Zurich-Pomi Casalmaggiore match for the championship tomorrow at 7 pm. Vakifbank plays the loser for bronze.

The Scores

Eczasibasi VitrA (3) – Boskovic 22, Kosheleva 13, Thaisa 12, Larson 10, Adams 10, Akoz 0, Demir 0, Kayalar (L)

Vakifbank (1) – Zhu 23, Slöetjes 10, Rasic 9, Kirdar 9, Akman 8, Hill 7, Aydemir 2, Cetin 0, Gürkayanak 0, Ozbay 0, Yurtdagülen 0, Örge (L)

Written By

Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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