VakifBank Istanbul Wins Third World Title

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Both Turkish teams competing in the gold- and bronze-medal matches at the 2018 FIVB Women’s Club World Championships celebrated victory on Sunday. Now-three-time world champ VakifBank Istanbul defeated Minas Tenis Clube of Brazil in the championship match, and Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul swept Praia Clube to take third.

VakifBank’s 25-23, 25-21, 25-19 victory makes it the most decorated team in the history of the competition. 

Re-Live VakifBank Istabul's Gold Medal Victory

Minas Tenis Clube posted a 10-8 advantage in blocks and had the match’s only ace, but VakifBank led in every other statistical category, out-hitting the Brazilian squad 55 to 41 and out-digging the South Americans 39 to 35. 

VakifBank benefitted from a sort of home-court advantage, with the fans in Shaoxing, China, cheering emphatically for outside hitter Zhu Ting, and by proxy, her VakifBank squad as a whole.

Zhu had 21 points in the gold-medal match and finished the tournament as the top scorer with 98 total points in five matches. She earned the event’s MVP honor, while her teammates Milena Rasic (a middle from Serbia) and Hatice Gizem Orge (a libero from Turkey) were also selected to the Dream Team. 

In the gold-medal match, American national teamer Kelsey Robinson ranked second on the VakifBank scoresheet with 13 points on 12 kills and a block. Brazilian outside hitter Gabriela Guimaraes, aka Gabi, had 16 points, with 12 kills and a match-high four blocks.

Eczacibasi earned a dominant 25-16, 25-18, 25-19 victory in the bronze-medal bout, fueled in particular by the Turkish squad’s impenetrable front-row defense. Eczacibasi posted 14 blocks to Praia Clube’s two, with 5-10 setter Gamze Alikaya leading the match with an impressive five blocks and Team USA middle Lauren Gibbemeyer tallying three.

Turkish opposite Gozde Yilmaz led the match with 17 points, while American outside hitter Jordan Larson added 12 and Turkish middle Beyza Arici had 10. Conversely, not a single player on the Praia Clube roster managed to reach double-digit points.

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