Defending champions Prosecco Doc Imoco Volley Conegliano of Italy and three-time world champions VakifBank Istanbul of Turkey are on a collision course for a clash in the final after both purposefully won their last pool play matches on Friday at the 2021 FIVB Women's Club World Championship in Ankara to avoid each other in the semis.
Conegliano, VakifBank on collision course at Club Worlds
Fenerbahce and Minas join the favourites in last four as semifinals set
Published 05:17, 17 Dec 2021
The results have confirmed the last four in the competition and set up Saturday's semifinals, with the two favourites avoiding each other as VakifBank will meet cross-town rivlas Fenerbahce Opet Istanbul and European champions Conegliano will clash with reigning Brazil champions Itambe Minas Tenis Clube Belo Horizonte for tickets to Sunday's final.
- 15:00 (12:00 GMT): Prosecco Doc Imoco Volley Conegliano (ITA) v Itambe Minas Tenis Clube Belo Horizonte (BRA)
- 18:30 (15:30 GMT): VakifBank Istanbul (TUR) v Fenerbahce Opet Istanbul (TUR)
Conegliano, the reigning world, European and Italian champions, shut out South American champions Dentil Praia Clube Uberlandia of Brazil 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, ) to top Pool A undefeated and without having yet dropped a set in two matches.
It was actually all over after the first two sets, with Conegliano securing first place and Praia Clube eliminated.
But Conegliano carried on with an unchanged lineup and finished the job in just over an hour, as setter and captain Joanna Wolosz of Poland delivered a final ace which Anne Buijs of the Netherlands could not return.
"I am happy because we played well in every skill without spending too much energy," said Conegliano coach Daniele Santarelli after the match.
Paola Egonu once again topped the scoring with 22 points and a magnificent 68% (19/28) in attack as Conegliano dominated the game from start to finish across the board.
"They played faster than we expected so we had to stay concentrated," added Dutch middle blocker Robin de Kruijf. "But we are very glad to have beaten a great team."
Praia Clube finish bottom of their pool and join Kazakhstan's Altay Volleyball Club in bowing out of the competition.
VakifBank were equally ruthless as they swept Minas 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-17) also in just a few minutes over an hour.
With both sides already qualified, the match was only to decide first place in the pool (and the opportunity to avoid Conegliano in the semifinals).
Minas tried their best to put up a fight, but it was a bit too much for them - especially in the third set when VakifBank rallied from 6-8 down with a ten-point run (with Cansu Ozbay serving) to put an end to the Brazlians' aspirations.
Sweden's Isabelle Haak delivered the match high of 18 points with an attacking efficiency of 64% (16/25), but Brazil's Gabi Guimaraes was brilliant against her former side from her hometown of Belo Horizonte - as was Zehra Gunes in the middle, attacking for 83% (10/12) and adding four blocks.
We did a really good job in serving today, taking them off the net," said Haak after the game.
Competition continues on Saturday with the semifinals, Prosecco Doc Imoco Volley Conegliano taking on Itambe Minas Tenis Clube Belo Horizonte at 15:00 local time (12:00 GMT), followed by the Turkish derby between VakifBank Istanbul and Fenerbahce Opet Istanbul at 18:30 (15:30 GMT).