Zurich, Switzerland, May 6, 2015 - "All teams here are very strong, but we're always thinking of ways to beat them," said head coach of Hisamitsu Springs Kobe, Kumi Nakada, in the pre-competition Press Conference. And did they indeed find a way.
Hisamitsu Springs scored a major upset over Eczacibasi VitrA of Istanbul on the opening day, to set the pace in the 2015 FIVB Volleyball Women's Club World Championship. The reigning Asian champions defeated the recently crowned European champions 3-2 (12-25, 28-26, 25-20, 19-25, 15-11)—but only after having to bring on their star opposite, Brankica Mihajlovic of Serbia who had been sidelined due to injury in the first set.
After a disastrous first set, Mihajolovic helped turn the game around, emerging second-best scorer of the match, with 17 points (to her team-mate's Yuki Ishii's 24). Eczacibasi, who have been struggling domestically after winning the CEV Denizbank Champions League last month, just couldn't get it right, despite the best efforts of USA's Jordan Larson-Burbach, Germany's Christiane Fuerst, Croatia's Maja Poljak and local gal Gozde Yilmaz.
This leaves Eczacibasi in a life-or-death situation tomorrow, when they take on Dinamo Kransodar and need nothing less than a win to stay alive in the race for a semi-final berth.
Meanwhile, hosts Volero Zurich survived a first-set scare in the hands of Mirador Santo Domingo, to come back and win in relative comfort 3-1 (20-25, 25-17, 25-15, 25-15) and set themselves up nicely for a semi-final berth. Cuban-born middle blocker Rachel Sanchez came off the bench to help Volero come back after that first set. The 26-year-old added 16 points to match top scorer Olesia Rykhliuk's 20, paving the way for the final victory.
Play in Zurich's Saalsporthalle continues Thursday, starting at 17:30 local time (15:30 GMT) with the Eczacibasi-Dinamo game, followed at 20:00 (18:00) with Volero v. Rexona-AdeS of Rio de Janeiro.Further resources
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