Eczacibasi players celebrate with their fans after their Champions League win over Uralochka
Lausanne, Switzerland, November 22, 2018 – Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul made a flying start in the 2019 CEV Champions League. In their only match of the continental competition before heading off to Shaoxing, China for the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Club World Championship, the Turkish standout hammered out a 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-21) victory over Pool B rival Uralochka-NTMK Ekaterinburg of Russia.
Korean star Kim Yeon-Koung contributed 19 points to Eczacibasi’s home win. Serbian talent Tijana Boskovic added another 17.
Eczacibasi’s city rivals and reigning club world champions VakifBank Istanbul are set to start the defence of their Champions League crown with a home match against Germany’s Allianz MTV Stuttgart on Thursday.
Both Istanbul powerhouses delivered straight-set victories in the fifth leg of the Turkish league. On Friday, Eczacibasi shut out THY Istanbul by 3-0 (25-14, 25-21, 25-23) with Boskovic scoring 20 points. On Saturday, VakifBank mastered a 3-0 (25-13, 25-18, 25-21) away win at Aydin Buyuksehir Belediyespor. Eczacibasi continue to lead the standings with an impeccable 5-0 win-loss record without a single set lost so far this season. Also unbeaten in five matches, VakifBank are in the runner-up position. Next Saturday, VakifBank are scheduled to entertain Nilufer Belediyesi Bursa, while Eczacibasi travel for an away match at Canakkale Belediyespor.
Volero Le Cannet also celebrated an emphatic victory in their first European match of the season. The French team had their CEV Challenge Cup game with Greece’s Olympiacos Piraeus moved to an earlier date to avoid a clash with Shaoxing 2018. With 17 points to her name, Heidy Casanova Alvarez led her teammates to a 3-0 (27-25, 25-17, 25-14) win before the rematch in Greece on November 27.
Volero players celebrate during their match against Olympiacos
Volero also claimed their fifth consecutive win in France – a 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-23) shutout of visiting Saint-Raphael – and continue to lead the rankings on a 5-1 record. Ana Bjelica was the best scorer of the match with 19 points for the home side. For their next game on Saturday, Volero are set for a trip to MO Mougins.
Asian club champions Supreme Chonburi are back to winning ways in the Thai league. In a fourth-leg encounter, Supreme achieved a convincing 3-0 (25-12, 25-12, 25-18) away victory at King-Bangkok on Saturday, with captain Pleumjit Thinkaow scoring 16 times (including five stuff blocks) to top the charts. With the win, the squad from Chonburi have overtaken King-Bangkok for the fifth place in the current standings on a 2-2 record. The fifth leg is scheduled for December 1, just three days before the start of the Club World Championship. Supreme will play in Bangkok again, against second-placed Thai-Denmark Khonkaen Star.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins have lost one more of their star players, as Ajcharaporn Kongyot announced her transfer to the Indonesian league.
Reigning champions and cup winners of Kazakhstan, Altay Oskemen, are hosting the first round-robin tournament in their national league. The event got underway on November 16 and will last through November 23. In their first match of the league season, which also constituted the Super Cup final, Altay suffered a 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-15) upset at the hands of Zhetysu Taldyqorgan and failed to add another trophy to their showcase. They recovered with four straight-set victories in a row – 3-0 (25-10, 25-16, 25-14) over Karaganda, 3-0 (25-14, 25-20, 25-15) over Irtysh-KazHrom Pavlodar, 3-0 (25-12, 25-16, 25-18) over Altay-2 Oskemen, and 3-0 (25-15, 25-20, 25-20) over Almaty – but are still chasing unbeaten Zhetysu in the standings. On Thursday and Friday, Altay play against Astana and Kuanysh Petropavl, respectively.
Both South American representatives at Shaoxing 2018 were victorious in the first two legs of the Brazilian league.
Defending title-holders Praia Clube Uberlandia, who started the championship a little earlier, are already on a 3-0 record and leading the standings after an easy 3-0 (25-14, 25-18, 25-16) win at Balneario Camboriu and a hard-fought come-from-behind 3-2 (18-25, 23-25, 25-19, 25-17, 15-7) home victory over Curitiba Volei. Nicole Fawcett scored 22 times against Curitiba. On Saturday, Praia will play at BRB/Brasilia Volei.
Minas Tenis Clube Belo Horizonte started their Superliga campaign with a 3-1 (21-25, 25-12, 25-14, 25-23) win at BRB/Brasilia Volei and followed up with an emphatic 3-0 (25-14, 25-17, 25-13) shutout of visiting Sao Cristovao Saude Sao Caetano. In the standings, Minas come in second, right below leaders Praia. In the third leg they will face SESI Volei Bauru away on Saturday.