Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul are back to defend their title
Manila, Philippines, June 16, 2016 – Defending FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World champions Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul have been unveiled as the first of four wild cards for the 2016 edition of the tournament, due to take place in Manila from October 18 to October 23.
The Turkish outfit claimed their maiden title in Zurich in 2015 and are back to try and defend club volleyball’s most coveted prize.
The volleyball giants from the Bosporus made history with their first CEV Champions League title in 2015 and topped off an outstanding season with success at the Club World Championship.
But the past season has seen them suffer two major setbacks, dropping out of the CEV Champions League in Round 12 and finishing with the bronze medal in the Turkish League.
However they are poised to come back stronger, adding to their already impressive squad with the signing of two-time Olympic gold medallist Thaisa Menezes of Brazil just this week.
Thaisa is regarded as one of the best middle blockers in the world and her comeback in the jersey of the Brazilian national team in the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix last weekend after missing last year’s tournament due to surgery on both knees was long-awaited and welcomed by volleyball fans around the world.
She will join the likes of FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship 2014 gold medallist Jordan Larson Burbach of USA and left-handed local heroine Neslihan Demir.
Larson Burbach – known as “The Governor” due to her fame in her native Nebraska – has been riding the wave of success in the last years. The wing spiker claimed gold at the Club World Championship with Dinamo Kazan in 2014 as well as with her current club Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul in 2015 and at the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix in front of her home fans in Omaha in 2014.
With Russian wing spiker Tatiana Kosheleva, star setter Maja Ognjenovic from Serbia and US middle blocker Rachael Adams also added to their ranks, the 28-time Turkish champs are leaving no stone unturned.
Kosheleva is likely to be a shrewd signing. The 27-year-old led the Russian national team to gold at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship in 2010, the CEV European Championship in 2013 and 2015 and former club Dinamo Krasnodar to a sensational bronze medal at the last year’s Women’s Club World Championship.
Ognjenovic, on the other hand, has been the cornerstone of Serbian success over the last year. The setter laid the foundation of her county’s bronze medal finish at the Women’s World Championship in 2006, gold medal at the European Championship in 2011 and of silver medal success at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Cup last year.
The stacked squad will now have to prove themselves in Manila against the hosting “All Stars” squad from the Philippine SuperLiga, defending Asian champions Bangkok Glass, CEV Champions League winners Pomì Casalmaggiore, 2016 South American Club champions Rexona AdeS Rio de Janeiro, and three other wildcard teams due to be announced in the upcoming weeks.Quick links:FIVB Volleyball Women's Club World Championship