MVP Zhu Ting (right), celebrating with the two other Dream Teamers of VakifBank – Milena Rasic (middle) and Gizem (left)
Lausanne, Switzerland, January 2, 2019 – While VakifBank Istanbul retained their title of club world champions, their Chinese star Zhu Ting also retained her crown of the Most Valuable Player of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship. At the 2018 edition in her native China, she received the highest individual honour just like she did the previous year in Japan.
24-year-old Zhu Ting not only became the first player in the history of the competition to be named MVP twice, but also became the best scorer of the championship for the third time in her career (after 2013 and 2016), also the only athlete to have ever topped the chart more than once. At Shaoxing 2018, she accumulated a total of 98 points (90 spikes and eight stuff blocks), after top-scoring in all but one of VakifBank’s five matches at the tournament.
Zhu Ting receives the MVP award
In the individual ranking of the best spikers, Zhu Ting finished runner-up on a success rate of 51.72% in attack, second only to Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul’s opposite Tijana Boskovic.
The Dream Team of the Club World Championship
However, both of these players made it on the Dream Team of the 2018 Club World Championship, Zhu Ting claiming one of the two outside hitter spots, an honour she deserved at the other two FIVB competitions in 2018 she took part in as well – the Volleyball Nations League and the World Championship.
Two more of VakifBank’s players were awarded as members of the tournament’s ideal squad of seven outstanding athletes. Hatice Gizem Orge was in the libero position. The 25-year-old Turk was the best digger on an average of 4.25 saves per set and the third best receiver of the championship.
Milena Rasic, who was one of the middle blockers on the Dream team of the World Championship in Japan, where she won gold with the national team of Serbia, earned it again at the Club World Championship with VakifBank. This way, in addition to being the only volleyballer in the world, who is currently a world champion at both the national team and the club level, the 28-year-old athlete also appears among the perfect seven of both competitions. Statistically, Rasic was the second best blocker of Shaoxing 2018 on an average of 1.12 stuffs per set.
Silver medallists Minas Tenis Clube Belo Horizonte of Brazil also had three of their players selected on the Dream Team. Gabriela Guimaraes earned the other outside hitter spot, across from Zhu Ting. Gabi had received the same award at the 2017 Club World Championship as a player of Rexona-SESC Rio de Janeiro. In 2018, the 24-year-old Brazilian did it again, this time wearing the Minas jersey. With 85 points on her tally, she was the third best scorer of the tournament. She appeared among the top 10 in two other individual charts as well – fourth for best spiker and fifth for best receiver.
22-year-old Mayany Cristina Araujo De Souza made the ideal squad of the Club World Championship impressing the jury with her performance at the middle of the net. The young Brazilian also finished eighth in the individual ranking for blockers.
Macris Carneiro got the role of the playmaker on the Dream Team to match her #1 spot on the statistical chart for best setters. The 29-year-old Brazilian, who appeared the most experienced player among the perfect seven, made a fantastic 136 running sets for her attackers in the 20 game sets she played at the championship. Carneiro was also her team’s best server of the tournament with four aces to her name.
Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul’s Tijana Boskovic was her team’s only representative on the Dream Team. The 21-year-old Serbian striker, who had been awarded as the MVP of the World Championship for national teams in Japan less than two months earlier, was the youngest individual honouree at Shaoxing 2018, but she claimed the recognition as the best opposite of the Club World Championship for the third year in a row. On a success rate of 52.27% in attack, Boskovic topped the best spikers ranking. She was also the fourth best scorer with a total of 81 points, as well as the ninth best server.
Yang Hanyu from the host team of Zhejiang, which finished seventh in the final standings, did not make the Dream Team, but topped one of the individual charts of the Club World Championship. The 19-year-old middle player was the best blocker of the tournament on a total of 24 stuffs or an average of 1.13 per set. The year before, this rising Chinese star was chosen MVP and best middle blocker of the U20 World Championship. Her Zhejiang teammate Liu Yanhan also deserves mentioning as the second best scorer of Shaoxing 2018. She scored 90 points, eight short of Zhu Ting, but five clear of Gabi.
Deserving their place among the big stars of the Club World Championship were also Kazakhstan’s Sana Anarkulova of Altay Oskemen and Turkey’s Gamze Alikaya of Eczacibasi VitrA, the tournament’s best servers with seven aces apiece, and VakifBank’s American outside hitter Kelsey Robinson, the best receiver of the event on a 46.67% efficiency rate.