Szczecin, Poland, April 5, 2015 – Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul of Turkey triumphed in the women’s final of the 2015 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League on Sunday, shutting out the Italian team of Unendo Yamamay Busto Arsizio 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-21).
The win earned the Turkish team a ticket to the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship Zurich 2015.
The two teams played a very competitive first set in the breath-taking atmosphere at the Azoty Arena in Szczecin. Unendo Yamamay made some great blocks but eventually could not hold on to their 16-12 lead. Maja Poljak continued her great form from Saturday’s semifinal and blocked a spike by Valentina Diouf to close the set at 25-22.
Eczacibasi VitrA started the second set with a 3-0 lead. Unendo Yamamay managed to catch up on several occasions, but were never able to turn things around. With Bethania De La Cruz on fire in attack, the Turkish squad regained control and won the set 25-20. With their backs against the wall, the players of Unendo Yamamay put up a fight in the third set. At 20-19, the Turkish team broke away with three consecutive points. Their opponents responded with two, but it was not enough to change the outcome.
Four players scored 13 points in the match: Eczacibasi’s Gozde Yilmaz, Bethania De La Cruz and Jordan Larson-Burbach, and Unendo Yamamay’s Valentina Diouf.
Esra Gumus Kirici, captain of Eczacibasi VitrA commented: “We prepared very hard and worked very hard for this tournament. I am very happy that we won this cup; it is a great feeling. It is my first gold medal from a European competition. I know that the Polish fans are very loud during matches and they really like volleyball, so it is amazing that we had such big support not only from our fans.”
Francesca Marcon, captain of Unendo Yamamay said: “When you play, you want to win everything, so we are a little sad about the result of the final match, but very happy about this silver medal. I want to congratulate my teammates, because I think we made great progress during this season. This arena, its audience and hard matches against strong teams – this is what I am going to remember from this Final Four.”
Another powerhouse from Istanbul, VakifBank, won the bronze medal. The host team of the Final Four in Szczecin, Chemik Police, once again pleased the full stands of Azoty Arena with a good performance, but could not please them with a victory. The Turkish team proved its superiority with a 3-0 (25-19, 25-21, 25-17) win.
With an incredible performance by middle blocker Milena Rasic, well supported by captain Gozde Sonsirma and the rest of their teammates, VakifBank secured the first set 25-19. Although the inspired home stars of Chemik had the lead through most of the set, the conclusive moments were a true display of VakifBank’s power. The story of the second set was quite similar, although this time the lead switched more often. Rasic and Sonsirma once again led their team as they prevailed 25-21. The third set was not as competitive as the previous two. Despite the fantastic home crowd in Szczecin doing their utmost to inspire the Polish team, the players seemed to have already lost faith. VakifBank took control and cruised to a 25-17 win with Sheilla Castro brilliantly finishing the match off with an ace.
Gozde Sonsirma with 18 points and Milena Rasic with 16 were the top scorers in the match. Stefana Veljkovic and Agnieszka Bednarek-Kasza were Chemik’s most prolific scorers with nine points each.
Gozde Sonsirma, captain of VakifBank commented: “It was a great tournament, but we are sad that this was not the gold-medal match. I want to thank all our supporters. I am glad that our Turkish colleagues won the gold.”
Anna Werblinska, captain of Chemik: “We are very sad. We lost because we do not have the experience. I would like to thank all the people involved, our fans and the team.”
A perfectly organized Final Four tournament came to an end with an attractive and emotional awarding ceremony, which culminated with CEV President André Meyer handing the trophy over to the new European champions.
The top honour of being declared the Most Valuable Player of the Final Four tournament went to Eczacibasi VitrA’s outside spiker Jordan Larson-Burbach.
I am really pleased with the way this tournament was organized,” said CEV President Andre Meyer. “The work done by the club of Chemik Police with the valuable assistance of the national federation of Poland here in Szczecin produced perfect results, displaying the full extent of our sport’s beauty. As usual, the fans here in Poland were also a major contributor to the fantastic atmosphere and to what I can say was a spectacular conclusion of the season in the 2015 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League.”Final Standing
1. Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul (TUR)
2. Unendo Yamamay Busto Arsizio (ITA)
3. VakifBank Istanbul (TUR)
4. Chemik Police (POL)Most Valuable Player (MVP): Jordan Quinn Larson-Burbach (USA / Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul)Dream Team
Best Setter: Maja Ognjenovic (SRB / Chemik Police)
Best Opposite: Valentina Diouf (ITA / Unendo Yamamay Busto Arsizio)
Best Outside Spiker: Bethania De La Cruz De Pena (DOM / Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul)
Second Best Outside Spiker: Helena Havelkova (CZE / Unendo Yamamay Busto Arsizio)
Best Middle Blocker: Milena Rasic (SRB / VakifBank Istanbul)
Second Best Middle Blocker: Maja Poljak (CRO / Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul)
Best Libero: Gulden Kuzubasioglu (TUR / Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul)Fair Play Award: Christiane Fuerst (GER / Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul)Stars in Motion videos:
Sixth Set videos:
Links:Final Four official websiteFinal Four live photo galleryFinal Four on FacebookFinal Four on TwitterFinal Four on YouTubeFinal Four results, statistics, news on CEV website