Turkey happy with second home victory and leadership in Pool A
2014 CEV Volleyball European League - Women
Bursa, Turkey, June 22, 2014. Turkey claimed on Sunday also their second match on schedule for the third round of the prelims in Pool A of the 2014 CEV Volleyball European League – Women. This time, however, the hosts had to work a little harder before edging past their opponents from Azerbaijan by 3:1 (25-27, 26-24, 25-22, 25-14). These victories propelled Turkey into the top position of the current standing in their group with 12 points, one more than runner-ups Bulgaria. Azerbaijan and Turkey will be playing each other once more next week in Baku.
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On Saturday Turkey had easily routed Azerbaijan in straight sets but this time the hosts got a very difficult time, especially in the opening set. Turkey quickly trailed 5:8 at the first technical time-out, but scored five consecutive points to get back control of the game at 11:10. Both teams showed excellent actions in defence and could keep the number of their errors to a minimum. In the end, it was Azerbaijan that cashed the first set at 25-27 after hitting a series of powerful attacks.
The story of the game did not change in the second set where Turkey tried to shake Azerbaijan’s defence with some powerful serving. The serves by Yeliz Basa and blocks by Cansu Cetin helped the home side lead the way by three points at the second technical time-out (16:13). Though after the break the guests from Azerbaijan responded with the attacks killed by their Slovak-born spiker Jana Matiasovska-Aghayeva, this time Turkey did not let the set slip away from their hands and closed it out at 26-24.
Turkey exploited some mistakes made by their opponents to claim an 8:6 lead in the third set. It was especially Özgenur Yurtdagülen who helped the home side get a five-point lead by the second technical time-out; Azerbaijan fought back at the end of the set and reduced their gap to only two points, but still it was Turkey to have the upper hand at 25-22.
After a provisional 6 all in the fourth set, Azerbaijan seemed to run out of fuel, Turkey moved the score up to 16:7 in their favour and easily cashed the set (25-14) and the match by 3:1.
Özgenur Yurtdagülen top scored for Turkey with 17 points, the same tally recorded also by Jana Matiasovska-Aghayeva and Katerina Zhidkova for Azerbaijan whose charts were topped by Anastasiya Gurbanova with 18.
Turkey’s head coach Ferhat Akbas said: “The match was tough as we expected it to be. We did not start very well but we played a lot better in the remainder of the game. This is very important for such young team. We have a tough schedule ahead but I am happy that we got the leadership in our Pool after the third leg.”
Middle-blocker and top scorer Özgenur Yurtdagülen: “The first game was easy for us but we knew that the second would be a lot harder; after the second set we played really well. We are a young team but our goal is to make the final.”
Azerbaijan’s team captain Anastasiya Gurbanova: “The first game we had played yesterday was not as good as we expected. We performed much better today. This is a good experience for us as we have to learn from these matches and develop step by step.”