Minas Tenis Clube, VakifBank Istanbul Headed For Gold Medal Match

With clutch semifinal victories, Minas Tenis Clube and VakifBank Istanbul are heading to the gold-medal match of the 2018 FIVB Women’s Club World Championships. 

In Saturday’s first semifinal, Minas Tenis Clube rallied back after losing the opening set to achieve victory over Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul in five (22-25, 26-24, 25-13, 23-25, 15-12).

Watch the FIVB Women's Club World Championship LIVE on FloVolleyball

Three players from the Turkish Eczacibasi squad had 20 or more points, including Team USA captain Jordan Larson, but it wasn’t enough to counteract 31 points from Minas Tenis Clube’s Natalia Pereira, an outside hitter who also stars on the Brazilian national team. 

“At the beginning they were better than us in passing and attacking tactically,” Minas Tenis Clube head coach Stefano Lavarini said. “In the first two sets we were worried because we could not find the kind of plays that they used to show, and at the same time we were losing. But then we were lucky and then we played better.”

In the second semifinal reigning world champ VakifBank squashed a comeback from Praia Clube to secure its spot in the semifinal with a victory in four sets. Praia wracked up 14 blocks in the match but still couldn’t do enough to slow down the multifaceted VakifBank offense. 

If it wasn’t the match’s top scorer Zhu Ting smashing balls from the left pin and back row, it was Dutch opposite Lonneke Sloetjes, who finished the four-setter with 18 points, getting it done from the right. Kelsey Robinson also had 13 points, and Serbian middle Milena Rasic led the match with seven blocks and totaled 15 points.

Backed by the skillful blocking of Ana Carolina Da Silva and aggressive offense of Fernanda Rodrigues, aka Fe Garay, Praia Clube won the third set after going down 0-2 to its Turkish opponent, but the Brazilian squad, which includes Americans Nicole Fawcett and Carli Lloyd, couldn’t hold onto its moment in the fourth. 

VakifBank won with a final scoreline of 25-21, 25-21, 22-25, 25-18.

“VakifBank deserved to win,” Praia Clube captain Fe Garay said. “We had a chance to go to the fifth set but we couldn’t.”

Eczacibasi and Praia Clube will play each other in the third-place match tomorrow. In the fifth-place match, Altay Volleyball and Volero Le Cannet face off after winning their respective classification matches on Saturday. Zhejiang and Supreme Chonburi will compete in the seventh-place match.

2018 FIVB Women’s Club World Championships Schedule

Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018

Zhejiang vs. Supreme Chonburi, 8 p.m. CT

Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018

Altay Volleyball vs. Volero Le Cannet, 12 a.m. CT

Eczacibasi vs. Praia Clube, 3 a.m. CT

Minas Tenis Clube vs. VakifBank Istanbul, 6 a.m. CT

Americans Roar Out Of The VNL Gates, Dominate Belgium

Belgium vs United States | Women's VNL

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

It took a little bit of concentration to seal the first set, but USA got off to a cracking start in the 2019 FIVB Women's Volleyball Nations League as they began the defence of last year's title with a solid and convincing 3-0 (25-23, 25-8, 25-22) win over Belgium at Ruse.

VNL Week 1 Preview: New-Look USA Heads To Bulgaria


The U.S. Women’s National Team kicks off its 2019 season on the road in Ruse, Bulgaria, for the first of five weeks of Volleyball Nations League pool play. 

2019 FIVB VNL Preview: Korea Women's National Team


Korea’s national women’s volleyball team is on the verge of a new era as it is set to welcome new Italian coach Stefano Lavarini into the fold. 

2019 FIVB VNL Preview: Germany Women's National Team


As Germany steps onto the court of the FIVB VNL 2019, it will also step into a new era as it undergoes changes and improvements to its young team. 

2019 FIVB VNL Preview: Belgium Women's National Team

Belgium’s women’s national team did just enough at last year’s competition to continue playing in the FIVB VNL 2019. 

The Internet's Most Super CEV Champions League Superfinal Preview

By the time the 2018-19 CEV Champions League women’s Super Final rolls around on May 18, there will be absolutely nothing left unknown between the finalists Imoco Volley Conegliano and Igor Gorgonzola Novara. 

A Closer Look At The Final VNL Roster For The USA Women


The picture of the group that will don the red, white and blue jerseys, and represent the USA in this summer’s women’s Volleyball Nations League is coming into focus. 

U.S. Women Finalize 25-Player FIVB Volleyball Nations League Roster


The U.S. Women's National Team officially announced the 25 players who will represent the country in the upcoming 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

2019 FIVB VNL Preview: China Women's National Team


Led by a former coach of the USA women’s national team, China is among the favorites to win the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League. 

2019 FIVB VNL Preview: Turkey Women's National Team


It was an up and down 2018 for Turkey.