Turkish sides dominate Champions League pools opening


Milena Rasic of VakifBank Istanbul tries to get past the block of Uralochka Ekaterinburg's Kseniia Ilchenko.

Lausanne, Switzerland, December 15, 2016 - Reigning women's world champions Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul set the pace for the three Turkish sides in the European Champions League pool phase as all opened their campaigns with convincing wins in their quest for the continental title and a direct ticket to the 2017 FIVB Club World Championship.

Eczacibasi stormed past German champions Dresdner SC before almost 3,000 fans 3-0 (25-17, 25-11, 25-21) in Dresden, with USA's Rachel Adams (15 points) and Jordan Larson (13) pressing from the service line wit 4 aces each and leading the scoring. Russia's Tatiana Kosheleva (11) and Brazil's Thaisa Menezes (11, of which 5 stuffs) also scored in double digits for Eczacibasi.

Their crosstown rivals VakifBank, who had claimed the bronze medal at the 2016 World Championship in Manila two months ago, took a set and a half to get going, but opened their Champions League campaign with a 3-1 (18-25, 25-20, 25-16, 25-13) over Russia's Uralochka NTMK Ekaterinburg thanks to some impressive blocking from Serbia's Milena Rasic (8 stuffs) and China's Rio 2016 Olympics MVP Zhu Ting (6) for a total of 21. Zhu was top scorer of the game on 28 points.

And Fenerbahce Istanbul completed the Turkish sweep Thusday night with a solid 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-19) domination over French champions St-Raphael Var in Frejus - despite being outblcked 10 to 2. Brazil's Natalia Pereira with 14 points was the driving force behind Fenerbahce's win.

Italian clubs are also on track in their quest to keep the European title in the country. Turkey's Neriman Ozsoy with 18 points led Liu Jo Nordmeccannica of Modena in their 3-1 (25-21, 29-27, 21-25, 25-13) over Chemik Police in Poland 3-1. And Mexico's Samantha Brico scored 16 points as Imoco Volley Conegliano destroyed Azerbaijan's Telekom Baku 3-0 (31-29, 25-14, 25-22) at home in Treviso.

The defending European champions and FIVB Club World Championship silver medallists Pomi Casalmaggiore are competing in the second-tier CEV Cup this season.

The winners of the Champions League get an automatic ticket to the 2017 FIVB Club World Championship, 8-14 May in Kobe, as do the South American champions. They join hosts Hisamitsu Springs and 2016 Asian champions NEC Red Rockets of Kawasaki, as well as four wild cards.

See full results and more on the opening round of the women's Champions League on the European Confederation website.

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