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23/10/2013 23:17
VakifBank too much to handle for Belgian rookie
2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Women

Gent, Belgium, October 23, 2013. Belgium’s rookie GENT Dames could not upset world champions and titleholders VakifBank ISTANBUL of Turkey in their debut in Europe’s elite club competition, the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Women. The winners of the last edition stormed to a straight victory (25-15, 25-22, and 25-21) to prolong their positive streak. GENT Dames made a way too many mistakes in the first set but in the second and third was able to keep the score relatively close.
VakifBank head coach Giovanni Guidetti changed some of the players from his starting six as his side did not show their usually superb play in the second and third set. His wife Bahar Toksoy top scored in the end with 12 points while Karolien Verstrepen paced the home side with 11. Marlies De Smet suffered an injury during the second set but even without her GENT Dames played very well in attack.

VakifBank opened strong (4:1) with an ace of their captain Gözde Sonsirma Kirdar but Verstrepen was able to almost close the gap (11:9). De Smet scored twice in a row to reduce the gap to the slimmest margin (13:12) but VakifBank got back on track and showed great blocking to win  the opening set 25-15.
After De Smet got injured by the score of 7 all in the second set, the home team was still able to react and went to the front (12:8). VakifBank got back on track helped by Polen Uslupehlivan and Jelena Nikolic, and then they controlled also the final section of the set with Bahar Toksoy scoring three times in a row to seal the final 25-21.
Karolina Goliat and Laura De Schrijver helped the home side set the pace of the game (8:4) at the first technical time-out of the third set but after drawing level at 16, VakifBank did not look back anymore and wrapped it up in straight sets.

“Tonight we got to see a very interesting game” said VakifBank mentor Guidetti. “GENT Dames showed some fast Volleyball and they were able to cause us problems in many circumstances. We had to concentrate fully on the game to win, as we normally play better than we did tonight”. Gözde Sonsirma Kirdar congratulated GENT Dames on their performance and the resistance they showed as they took on the reigning world champions.    

“Of course we miss power but we were able to control Jovana Brakocevic and Kirdar who never really got into the game” said home mentor Stijn Morand. “We did what we could against this star-studded team and I am satisfied”. “If I see the way we played tonight, I think we deserved to win at least one set” concluded GENT Dames most prolific player Karolien Verstrepen.  

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