Ekaterinburg, Russia, February 28, 2017. VakifBank ISTANBUL maintained their perfect record in Pool D of the 2017 CEV Volleyball Champions League – Women after on Tuesday they rallied to a 3-1 away victory (25-17, 25-27, 25-20, 25-18) over Uralochka-NTMK EKATERINBURG to complete a clean sweep of their matches in the group stage of Europe’s elite club competition.
The Turkish team caught a flying start to the match and rallied to a 3-0 advantage. Uralochka-NTMK fought their way back and took the lead at the first technical time-out (8-7). Home star Kseniia Parubets finished some closely contested rallies but the Turkish block – and especially Milena Rasic, who did most of the work – looked as solid as a rock. The head coach of Uralochka-NTMK, Nikolay Karpol asked for a time-out when Gözde Kirdar scored and moved the score to 13-10 for VakifBank. However, the visitors were not to stop and a mistake made by Uralochka closed the set out at 25-17 for VakifBank.
In the second set the young Russian team showed some masterful combinations involving middle blocker Elena Irisova and opposite Hanna Klimets, thus taking a 16-14 lead. A successful spike from Lonneke Slöetjes provided VakifBank with two set balls at 24-22 but Uralochka-NTMK did not lose composure and cancelled both of these set points. An ace from Parubets gave the home fans a chance to celebrate as the score moved to 26-25 in favour of the home side before Klimets sealed a hard-fought 27-25 win for Uralochka.
Turkey’s powerhouse dominated again at the beginning of the third set and put a lot of pressure on the Russian team. Chinese-born superstar Zhu Ting played a key role for the visitors. Uralochka-NTMK fought back to 18-20 with the help of their outside spiker Margarita Kurilo. However, American star Kimberly Hill brought the final point to VakifBank (25-20).
The Turkish team continued to impose their rule in emphatic style – they showed a number of great offensive combinations and rallied to a massive 8-2 lead in the fourth set. Karpol tried everything within his power to change the course of the set with many substitutions. VakifBank, however, did not look back and comfortably cruised to a comfortable 25-18 win.
Nikolay Karpol, head coach of Uralochka-NTMK: “The third place in this pool is a good result for our team. We fought well and we gained a lot of experience. Our main task now is to prepare for the second game on schedule for the quarterfinals of the Russian Superleague.”
Giovanni Guidetti, head coach of VakifBank: “We made too many mistakes in attack but I promise that we will play better in the next rounds. It was very comfortable to play here in Ekaterinburg, the local fans are very welcoming and it is obvious that they know a lot about Volleyball. Our team will now move on to the next round; we know that it will be hard to win the Champions League but we will fight for it.”
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