Manila, Philippines, October 22, 2016 - Defending champions Eczacibasi VitrA returned to the championship stage after defeating crosstown Istanbul rivals and 2013 titlists VakifBank 3-1 (25-23, 19-25, 25-17, 25-23) in the first semifinal of the 2016 FIVB Women's Club World Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday.
Resting their big guns in the previous game against PSL-F2 Logistics Manila on Friday night, Eczacibasi went full blast this time deploying Tijana Boskovic, Thaisa Menezes, Jordan Larson, Tatiana Kosheleva and Rachael Adams.
A dramatic first set was crucial to the development of the game. In a most remarkable turn of events, Eczacibasi led 21-18, before Adams sent her service long and Kim Hill stepped up to the service line to turn the tables with a 5-0 run (incldung one straight ace) for 21-23. It was not to be for VakifBank, however. Hill sent her 5th service wide and Zhu Ting spiked wide for Eczacibasi to equalise 23-23, before Maja Ognjenovic finsihed it off with two straight aces 25-23.
It seemed like VakifBank were on track to force a tie-break, when they led by as many as five points at the start of the fourth, but Eczacibasi clawed their way back and brought the game home with a couple of kills by the MVP of the 2015 edition Larson.
The two Istanbul sides engaged in back-and-forth battle, with Eczacibasi narrowly winning in number of attacks, 56-54. They were also even on blocks 8-8.
But when the going got tough, Eczacibasi wound up with offensive gems led by Larson, who launched the winning spike off the block. It also displayed stronger serves, winning in aces, 11-6.
Eczacibasi remain undefeated, hav won all their four matches so far in the tournament. They will face the winner between Volero Zurich and Pomi Casalmaggiore in Sunday's final.
VakifBank will play the loser for bronze.Quick links:
- FIVB Volleyball Women's Club World Championship Manila 2016 - Website
- FIVB Volleyball Women's Club World Championship Manila 2016 - Results & Schedule
- FIVB Volleyball Women's Club World Championship Manila 2016 - Teams