Sopot, Poland, November 26, 2013. Atom Trefl SOPOT could not take any points from their much anticipated game with Turkey’s standout VakifBank ISTANBUL. This year’s club world champions and winners of the 2013 CEV Volleyball Champions League stretched their winning streak to 63 matches as they edged Poland’s champions 3:1 (19-25, 25-14, 25-19, and 25-18) with 4,300 fans in attendance at ERGO Arena.
The match started with some long rallies and the audience was driven just crazy. The hosts caught a good start (5:2) and set the pace of the game at the first technical time-out (8:5). VakifBank head coach Giovanni Guidetti stopped the game once more as his side was trailing 9:14 but with an ace by Charlotte Leys SOPOT widened their lead to 16:10. Guidetti asked for his second time-out by the score of 20:13 but this could not help much as SOPOT continued to display great Volleyball to cash the opening set at 25-19.
VakifBank finally found their way into the game with a terrific start (5:1) in the second set powered by their spiker Carolina Costagrande. The guests from Turkey were 8:4 up at the first technical time-out and at this point home mentor Teun Buijs decided to change Brizitka Molnar with Klaudia Kaczorowska. However, VakifBank kept on scoring (16:6) and even after Justyna Lukasik replaced Yuliya Shelukhina, SOPOT could only see VakifBank widen their lead (20:8). With some great actions in defense SOPOT could score another four points in the set but VakifBank was not to stop and went for the 1:1 (25-14).
The start of the third set was very close and by the score of 10:10 Guidetti decided to change team captain Gözde Sonsirma Kirdar with Güldeniz Önal Pasaoglu. The teams continued to play point for point up to 12 all before VakifBank changed gear and claimed a margin of four points by the second mandatory stop. With Leys and Kimberly Hill on fire, Trefl could reduce the gap a bit (17:19) but the Turkish giant was just too much to stand and could wrap it up at 25-19.
Shelukhina and Anna Podolec helped the home side catch a good start of their race in set 4 (6:3) and SOPOT called for the first technical time-out leading the way 8:4. VakifBank responded by scoring four consecutive points thereby forcing SOPOT coach Teun Buijs into a time-out (9:8). As they stopped Molnar and Judith Pietersen at the net, VakifBank flipped the tables around (11:14) and slowly but surely imposed their rule (16:21). Buijs tried some more substitutions but it did not work and VakifBank could cruise to a well-deserved 3:1 victory (25-18) to keep an immaculate record in the competition.
“This was the first demanding game for my team this season” Guidetti said. “The previous matches were just too easy. I am glad that we had the opportunity to change our play during the game and happy that we found a way to react after losing the first set.”
“I am really proud of my team. They showed tonight world-class volleyball and fought until the last ball” commented Teun Buijs. “We still need to work a lot and improve our offense. Our passing and defense were not perfect but I am quite satisfied about that” he concluded.
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