Maja Poljak, the Croatian middle blocker of Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul, in action against Galatasaray at the Turkish League playoffs in Izmir.
Lausanne, Switzerland, April 25, 2015 – Just days before setting off for Zurich for the 2015 FIVB Women’s Club World Championship, Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul have been struggling in the finals of the Turkish League.
Eczacibasi lost their opening two matches in the first round of the playoffs in Izmir, falling to cross-town rivals Fenerbahce Grundig 3-1 (25-19, 26-24, 18-25, 25-17) and then to yet another Istanbul side, Vakifbank, 3-0 (25-18, 25-16, 25-20). The recently crowned European champions did bounce back last night with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-19) win over Galatasaray Daikin, but they remain in dire straits.
The latest victory leaves Eczacibasi theoretically still alive in the race for the title—though only just barely. Fenerbahce have taken a distinct advantage over their rivals, remaining unbeaten in three matches and leading the table.
Ecacibasi had to do mostly without the services of their Dominican star, Bethania de la Cruz, who scored 32 points against Fenerbahce on the opening day at Izmir, but was then sidelined for the remaining two matches apparently due to a nagging shoulder injury.
The Turkish League playoffs feature the top four teams of the Regular Season (all of them from Istanbul, as it turned out) in two round-robin legs. The first leg was completed in at the Ataturk Volleyball Hall last night; the second leg follows next week at Ankara’s Baskent Volleyball Hall, 29 April-1 May.
The 2015 FIVB Women’s Club World Championship begins on 6 May at the Saalsporthalle in Zurich.