Manila, Philippines, June 21, 2016 – Eleven-time Swiss champions Volero Zürich have been unveiled as the second of four wild cards set to compete at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship in Manila, Philippines from October 18 to 23.
The club from the economic heart of Switzerland are back for another bite at the big time, looking to improve on their bronze medal finish in 2015 at the most prestigious club competition in women’s volleyball.
The side will once again compete with seven other volleyball titans for the most coveted trophy in women’s club volleyball.
The side will rub shoulders with volleyball’s elite for the fourth time after having successfully hosted the tournament over the last three years. While 2013 and 2014 were good years for the side, the 2015 edition will be remembered by their fans as the first time a Swiss team has ever medalled at the tournament.
Volero Zürich have, admittedly, had a difficult 2015/16 season, their high ambitions off the court not matched with results on it as they missed out on a semifinal spot at the CEV Champions League despite a strong performance in the quarterfinals.
They dominated the Swiss League and Cup once again, winning their eleventh double in twelve years – an impressive demonstration of power that emphasised Volero’s pioneering role in their domestic league.
In the upcoming season, Zoran Terzic’s and Zeljko Bulatovic’s squad are eager to hunt for international trophies again. The key players in the stacked squad from the shores of Lake Zurich are without doubt opposite spiker Olesia Rykhliuk, Brazilian star setter Fabíola, libero Silvija Popovic, and 2014 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship gold medallist Foluke Akinradewo.
Rykhliuk has been one of the shining stars of the CEV Champions League over the past few years. The Ukrainian-born Opposite has garnered a reputation as a nightmare for defences. Unsurprisingly, Rykhliuk has regularly been ranked among the five best scorers of Europe’s premier club competition over the last three years. The 28-year-old even topped the list with an impressive 226 kills in 2014.
The star from Kiev made her mark at last year’s Club World Championship as well, scooping the Best Opposite award.
Meanwhile Brazilian star setter Fabíola is set to make her comeback to international volleyball after giving birth to her second daughter, Annah Vitória, less than a month ago. Fabíola will represent her home country in the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix and is doing everything in her power to be in peak form for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August.
The Brasília-native is regarded as one of the best setters in the world and already has a Club World Championship title to her name, winning the tournament in 2012 with Sollys Osasco.
The tower of strength in the middle of Volero Zürich is, without doubt, Foluke Akinradewo. The middle blocker has been riding the wave of success with the US national team over the last few years. In 2014 Akinradewo was part of the first ever US side to win gold at the Women’s World Championship, under the guidance of legendary player and coach Karch Kiraly, shining with an impressive hitting efficiency of 41.2 per cent. In the FIVB World Grand Prix last year, the ambitious 28-year-old added another gold medal to her trophy collection, helping her team by converting 48.5 per cent of attacks.
Along with renewing the contracts of the core of their squad, Volero have also signed some important reinforcements for the upcoming season.
Two promising signings are Irina Malkova and Mari Paraíba.
Middle blocker Malkova already knows what it takes to win the Club World Championship having lifted the trophy with former club Dinamo Kazan in 2014.
Mari Paraíba has made the Brazilian national team after two very strong seasons in the Brazilian Superliga Feminina with Minas Tênis.
Standing in the way of Volero Zurich will be the “All Stars” squad from the Philippine SuperLiga, defending Asian champions Bangkok Glass, CEV Champions League winners Pomì Casalmaggiore, 2016 South American Club Championship gold medallists Rexona AdeS Rio de Janeiro, Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul, and two other wild-card teams due to be announced in the upcoming weeks.