Kobe, Japan, May 12, 2017 - Two Turkish super powers will face each other in a titanic clash for a spot in the gold medal match at the FIVB Volleyball Women's Club World Championship in Japan. The first semifinal in Kobe on Saturday will feature the reigning club champions of Europe, VakifBank Istanbul, against the reigning club champions of the world, Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul in a thrilling head-to-head collision.
On Friday, VakifBank crushed tournament hosts Hisamitsu Springs Kobe with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-22) shutout, to finish unbeaten on top of Pool A with nine points out of possible nine.
Eczacibasi VitrA had stumbled in their first match in Pool A, but then got back on the winning track. In their last match all they needed was to win two sets against the other Japanese team in the tournament, NEC Red Rockets Kawasaki, but they simply cruised to a speedy 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-16) victory.
Historically, VakifBank and Eczacibasi VitrA have had numerous encounters in different competitions, but this will be only the second time they meet at the Club World Championship level. They also banged against each other in one of the semifinals at the previous edition of the competition. On October 22, 2016, in Manila, Eczacibasi mastered a 3-1 (25-23, 19-25, 25-17, 25-23) victory before moving on to their second gold.
VakifBank Istanbul (TUR)
- VakifBank defeated Eczacibasi VitrA in all three of their face-to-face encounters last month – 3-0 in a CEV Champions League semifinal in Treviso on April 22, 3-0 in the first match of the Turkish national championship bronze medal series on April 28, and 3-1 in the second game of that series on April 30.
- VakifBank have medalled at all their three participations in the Club World Championships - gold in 2013, silver in 2011 and bronze in 2016.
- VakifBank have played a total of 16 matches in the history of the Club World Championships and have a 13-3 win-loss record.
Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul (TUR)
- Eczacibasi VitrA have taken part in two editions of the Club World Championship and on both occasions, in 2015 and in 2016, they celebrated with the title.
- Eczacibasi have played a total of 12 matches at the Club World Championships and have a 10-2 win-loss record.
- With an average of 0.70 aces per set, Eczacibasi VitrA’s Tijana Boskovic tops the Best Servers individual ranking of the tournament.
- Her teammate and Serbian compatriot, Maja Ognjenovic, leads the Best Setters chart with an average of 7.00 running sets per set.