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12/10/2013 20:00
VakifBank to play Brazil’s Unilever for gold at Women’s Club World Champs
News from the FIVB

Zurich, Switzerland, October 12, 2013. Turkey’s VakifBank ISTANBUL and Unilever Volei of Brazil will play on Sunday the final match of the 2013 FIVB Women’s Club World Championship after they routed China’s Guangdong Evergrande and hosts Volero ZÜRICH in the semis on Saturday. On Sunday VakifBank will try to improve on the silver medal they won in 2011 so as to become Turkey’s second team to seize the title after Fenerbahce did so in 2010. Unilever Volei on the other hand will be trying to follow in the footsteps of their compatriots Sollys Osasco that won the title last year in Doha, Qatar.
The winners of the 2013 CEV Volleyball Champions League, VakifBank ISTANBUL, cruised to their 51st consecutive victory since the last season as they swept Asian champions Guangdong Evergrande in straight sets in the first semi-final (28-26, 25-15, and 25-20). China’s Zhu Ting topped all scorers with 18 points while Jovana Brakocevic paced VakifBank with 16. The players from Turkey’s megalopolis showed their supremacy in blocking (eight to six) and especially in serving, registering five aces vs. 1 for Guangdong Evergrande.  
VakifBank head coach Giovanni Guidetti said: “It was a tough match today with our opponents playing much better than they had done in their pool games. Nevertheless, my team found excellent solutions to counter the strong Chinese offense. My players kept cool in the crucial phases of the match. We trusted in our strength.”
Team captain Gözde Sonsirma Kirdar added: “I am proud of my team. We played at a very high level today. It is a special feeling to celebrate the 51st consecutive win. However, it is not over yet. Playing the gold medal match means playing for the top of the podium. We will give everything we have in Sunday’s match.”  

In the second semi-final Brazil’s Unilever Volei swept hosts Volero in straight sets as well (25-23, 25-20, and 25-16). Canadian Sarah Pavan scored 18 points for Unilever Volei while middle blockers Juciely and Carol totalled 13 apiece. Ukrainian Olesya Rykhliuk top-scored with 11 points for Volero. Unilever out-blocked Volero 14 to 8 to claim the second ticket to the final match coming up on Sunday afternoon.
Unilever Volei coach Bernardo Rezende said: “We forced Volero to commit many errors. Brankica Mihajlovic and Sarah Pavan did a great job today. Nevertheless, the final game is another story. We need to get a 100% of concentration for tomorrow. VakifBank certainly is a strong team. We have to commit fewer errors than in the last games; otherwise we will pay a high price. I think there’s more pressure on our opponents than on our team. Mental aspects may make the difference.”
Unilever Volei captain, 43-year old Fofão: “Today’s game was very important for us. We knew that it would be hard against Volero as they played in front of their home crowd. However, we believed in our strength and worked hard for each other. The first set was fundamental for our victory but most of all it was important to hold the pace high. Our block-defence system and our transition game have to work well tomorrow if we want to win against VakifBank.”  

Volero mentor Jan de Brandt: “Congratulations to Unilever and congratulations to Sarah Pavan, she played an excellent match tonight. We could not control her, neither their first tempo spikers. Regarding our game, we have to play faster. I tried to help with some substitutions but it did not work.”

Volero team captain Nneka Onyejekwe: “We started well but suddenly lost focus. Unilever played an excellent match, especially in block-defence and with strong serving. We did our best to bounce back but could not find suitable solutions to overcome their strong blockers.”  

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