Turkish Squads Lead Charge Into Club Worlds Semis

Eczacibasi VirtA Istanbul and VakifBank Istanbul went undefeated in the group stage of the 2018 FIVB Women’s Club World Championships to win their respective pools and advance to the semifinals. 

Taking on the two Turkish squads in the semifinals will be Praia Clube and Minas Tenis Clube, both of Brazil’s Superliga, which move on with identical 2-1 records. 

VakifBank Istanbul, the reigning club world champ, made it through Pool A without dropping a set. Eighteen-year-old Ebrar Karakurt of Turkey, who earned the start after an injury to starting opposite Lonneke Sloetjes, led VakifBank with 17 points in the team’s first match of the tournament versus Zhejiang. The next two nights, Chinese all-star Ting Zhu took over, scoring an impressive 23 points versus Volero Le Cannet and 18 in the match against Minas Tenis Clube. 

Outside hitter Kelsey Robinson, the only American on the VakifBank roster, has contributed 24 points in the team’s three matches.

In Pool B, Eczacibasi was almost as perfect as its Turkish rivals, only dropping a one set to fellow semifinalist Praia Clube. Reigning World Championships MVP Tijana Boskovic led Eczacibasi in its first two matches of the tournament, tallying 19 versus Altay and 16 versus Supreme Chonburi. Team USA captain Jordan Larson smashed 23 points in the final pool play match versus Praia Clube to secure the first-place finish for Eczacibasi. 

Former U.S. national teamer Nicole Fawcett has played a starring role for Praia Clube so far at Worlds, leading the team in points two of its three matches, including collecting an impressive 19 points versus Altay. 

In the classification matches for fifth-eighth place, Zhejiang will take on Altay Volley and Supreme Chonburi faces Volero Le Cannet.

2018 FIVB Women’s Club World Championships Playoffs Schedule

Friday, Dec. 7, 2018

Classification 5-8: Zhejiang vs. Altay, 8 p.m. CT

Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018

Classification 5-8: Supreme Chonburi vs. Volero Le Cannet, 12 a.m. CT

Semifinal: Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul vs. Minas Tenis Clube, 3 a.m. CT

Semifinal: VakifBank Istanbul vs. Praia Clube, 6 a.m. CT

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