Turkish Eczacibasi on top of the world

Two clubs from Balkan took gold and silver medals on FIVB World Club Championship

by Press

Türkiye’s Eczacibasi Dynavit Istanbul are the 2023 club champions of the world! They emerged victorious from a five-set battle against archrivals VakifBank Spor Kulubu of Istanbul in the 2023 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship final in Hangzhou to claim their third world title, after 2015 and 2016, and their sixth overall medal. Four-time champions VakifBank’s silver placed them on their ninth Club World Championship podium. The bronze medals went to Chinese hosts Tianjin Bohai Bank, their first podium in the competition after three participations.

Eczacibasi Dynavit persevered through a five-set saga in Sunday’s gold medal match to defeat VakifBank Spor Kulubu by a thrilling 3:2 (19:25, 25:23, 25:23, 23:25, 15:9) and return to the throne.

VakifBank were well in control throughout the first set and took it by a wide margin. Their domination was extended into the second set and they broke away with a lead as wide as eight points at 12-4, but then Eczacibasi worked their way back, caught up at 20-20 and went on to claim the set by 25-23. The third set offered a fierce and even battle. The lead changed hands several times before Eczacibasi again emerged with a narrow 25-23 win to edge forward in the match. Set four was not much different, but it was VakifBank that were ahead in the score for the most part, with Eczacibasi taking over occasionally. In the end, the set was once again decided by the narrowest of margins, but VakifBank’s way, to prompt a tie-breaker. Powered by their Generation O star Tijana Boskovic and Canadian outside Alexa Gray, Eczacibasi took an early lead in the fifth set and never let go. The Serbian striker hammered the 15-9 match winner with a block-out swing to get the title celebrations underway.

The even duel on the court resulted in mixed overall statistics. VakifBank outblocked (16-14 in stuffs) their opponents and committed fewer unforced errors (16-24), while the winners prevailed in offence (73-63 in spike kills) and in serving (4-2 in aces). Tijana Boskovic led Eczacibasi to victory with 27 points to her name. Her tally included one ace and one block. Outside hitter Hande Baladin contributed another 20 points, while Alexa Gray and middle blocker Sinead Jack finished with 17 and 12 points, respectively. VakifBank’s opposite Jordan Thompson topped the match chart with as many as 33 points, also including one ace and one block. Chiaka Ogbogu and captain Gabriela Guimaraes scored 16 points each for VakifBank.

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