Italy's Prosecco Doc Imoco Volley Conegliano established quite clearly why they're the reigning world, European and Italian champions, as they thundered past Fenerbahce Opet Istanbul 3-0 (25-12, 25-23, 25-23) on the opening day of the 2021 FIVB Women's Club World Championship, Wednesday evening in Ankara.
Conegliano demonstrate why they're the world's best
Defending champions defeat Fenerbahce on opening day of Club Worlds
Published 05:48, 15 Dec 2021
Earlier on the opening day Brazil's Itambe Minas Tenis Clube of Belo Horizonte had solidly shut out Asian champions Altay Volleyball Club of Kazakhstan 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-18).
Poland setter Joanna Wolosz did a brilliant job in distributing the play (in addition to her contributon in blocking) for Conegliano and Paola Egonu was there to give solutions whenever Fenerbahce thought they still may have had something going for them - eventually bringing in the match high of 22.
And USA's Kathryn Plummer, with an astounding 65% (11/17) attacking efficiency picked up anything left over for the final cherry on the cake.
Fenerbahce tried desperately to stay alive after finding themselves trailing by two sets and 24-21 in the third - and indeed some inspired back row action by libero Orge Gizem allowed them to save two match points, before Egonu stepped in with the final kill from the back to bring the game home and silence the 6,500-strong partisan Turkish crowd.
For Minas, meanwhile, it was their legendary middles, Thaisa Menezes and Carol Gattaz who made the difference when Altay tried to react in the second.
But it was the Dominican Republic's Bethania de la Cruz - on a short-term mission to help out Altay in this competition - that emerged top scorer of the game on 15 points, though the 34-year-old is still trying to fit in.
Action resumes on Thursday, with three-time world champions VakifBank Istanbul entering the fray against Altay at 15:00 local time (12:00 GMT), followed by reigning South American champions Dentil Praia Clube of Uberlandia taking on Fenerbahce at 18:30 (15:30 GMT).