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11/12/2012 22:00
Volero fights bravely but eventually loses to Pool leader Vakifbank
2013 CEV Volleyball Champions League - Women

Zurich, Switzerland, December 11, 2012. Vakifbank ISTANBUL finished the prelims of the 2013 CEV Volleyball Champions League – Women with an immaculate record of six wins in as many matches after cruising to a 3:2 away victory on Tuesday to edge Volero ZÜRICH (24-26, 25-21, 25-18, 21-25, and 15-7).
Even though they were missing Malgorzata Glinka-Mogentale – out due to illness – the guests from Turkey opened with a good pace and went up 8:5 by the first technical time-out. Volero was having problems in reception and as his side was trailing 5:12, head coach Dragutin Baltic brought in a young member of the Swiss national team, Laura Unternährer. Even though she performed quite well, it took until the second mandatory stop for the hosts to find their rhythm and their Cuban star Nancy Carrillo was also struggling to find her best play. Still Volero fought its way back to 19:21 and compensated for that gap scoring five points in a row, with Nadja Ninkovic eventually pocketing that set with an ace (26-24) for the joy of the home public.  

Vakifbank made some mistakes in the early phases of the second set and Volero went up 11:9 there as Carrillo was finally playing her best. The score then remained close up to 18 all before the guests changed gear, quickly moving to the front (20:24), and it was Japanese star Saori Kimura to score the last point for Vakifbank (25-21).

Vakifbank head coach Giovanni Guidetti pretended from his players more focus and attention in set 3 and this resulted into a massive lead (even 10 points). Still Volero attempted a sort of comeback (14:22, 18:24) once again anchored by Carrillo but Vakifbank was not to stop cashing its tenth set ball (25-18).  

Volero fought bravely also in the fourth set as Ines Granvorka – another member of the Swiss national team – stabilized their play in reception. Volero controlled the game with ease (20:12) but their opponents – who wanted to keep up the morale of their teammate Polen Uslupehlivan, out due to an ankle injury she sustained during this set – did not surrender. Vakifbank almost closed the gap but after a very close final rush and two points scored by Naoko Hashimoto and Nadja Ninkovic, Volero could stretch the game to the tie-break.

There Volero ran out of fuel as Vakifbank played on a class of its own storming to a 13:7 lead and claiming a flurry of match balls with an attack killed by Kimura. The match ended with a net violation of Carrillo but still Volero could be proud of its performance against one of the strongest teams in the world. Nancy Carrillo paced the Swiss side with 31 points while Christiane Fürst top scored for Vakifbank with 21.  

“We played very well tonight and we somehow forced our opponents to play a different game than they had thought, being able to implement our tactics in at least two sets” says Volero captain Nneka Onyejekwe.  
“We played two good sets and we brought them home. I am particularly happy with the performance of the players included in the roster of the Swiss national team who showed they are on a good track for next year’s European Championship. Granvorka and Unternährer helped us turn the game around twice and I am glad to state they have turned into a valuable support for the team” stresses home mentor Dragutin Baltic.

“We expected Volero to fight bravely especially as they have great players such as Carrillo in their ranks” adds Vakifbank captain Gözde Sonsirma Kirdar. “We had a very tough game on Saturday with Eczacibasi for the national league and we are still tired but I am proud that we were able to display our quality in the final phases of the game”.

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the match

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