Eczacibasi Dynavit Istanbul (TUR) (ECZ) vs. VakifBank Spor Kulubu (TUR) (VKF) women - Final 1-2 #8713992

Türkiye’s Eczacibasi Dynavit Istanbul are the 2023 club champions of the world! They emerged victorious from a five-set battle against archrivals VakifBank Spor Kulubu of Istanbul in the 2023 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship final in Hangzhou to claim their third world title, after 2015 and 2016, and their sixth overall medal. Four-time champions VakifBank’s silver placed them on their ninth Club World Championship podium. The bronze medals went to Chinese hosts Tianjin Bohai Bank, their first podium in the competition after three participations.

  • Watch 2023 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship replays on VBTV

Eczacibasi Dynavit persevered through a five-set saga in Sunday’s gold medal match to defeat VakifBank Spor Kulubu by a thrilling and return to the throne.

Eczacibasi Dynavit Istanbul (TUR) (ECZ) vs. VakifBank Spor Kulubu (TUR) (VKF) women - Final 1-2 #8711940

Hande Baladin in attack

VakifBank were well in control throughout the first set and took it by a wide margin. Their domination was extended into the second set and they broke away with a lead as wide as eight points at 12-4, but then Eczacibasi worked their way back, caught up at 20-20 and went on to claim the set by 25-23. The third set offered a fierce and even battle. The lead changed hands several times before Eczacibasi again emerged with a narrow 25-23 win to edge forward in the match. Set four was not much different, but it was VakifBank that were ahead in the score for the most part, with Eczacibasi taking over occasionally. In the end, the set was once again decided by the narrowest of margins, but VakifBank’s way, to prompt a tie-breaker. Powered by their Generation O star Tijana Boskovic and Canadian outside Alexa Gray, Eczacibasi took an early lead in the fifth set and never let go. The Serbian striker hammered the 15-9 match winner with a block-out swing to get the title celebrations underway.

The even duel on the court resulted in mixed overall statistics. VakifBank outblocked (16-14 in stuffs) their opponents and committed fewer unforced errors (16-24), while the winners prevailed in offence (73-63 in spike kills) and in serving (4-2 in aces). Tijana Boskovic led Eczacibasi to victory with 27 points to her name. Her tally included one ace and one block. Outside hitter Hande Baladin contributed another 20 points, while Alexa Gray and middle blocker Sinead Jack finished with 17 and 12 points, respectively. VakifBank’s American opposite Jordan Thompson topped the match chart with as many as 33 points, also including one ace and one block. American middle Chiaka Ogbogu and Brazilian outside and captain Gabriela Guimaraes scored 16 points each for VakifBank.

In the bronze medal match earlier on Sunday, Tianjin Bohai Bank delighted the home crowd with a victory over Brazil’s Dentil Praia Clube of Uberlandia to celebrate a historic achievement, the first Club World Championship podium for the team, after three appearances. It was also the second ever bronze for a Chinese club, after Guangdong Evergrande of Guangzhou finished third in 2013. Meanwhile, Dentil Praia’s fifth attempt to reach the Club World Championship failed again and they only matched their previous best result, the fourth place in 2018. Sunday’s win was Tianjin’s third at the Club World Championships. Their first, back in 2019, also came at Dentil Praia’s expense.

Dentil Praia Clube (BRA) (DTI) vs. Bohai Bank Tianjin (CHN) (TBB) women - Final 3-4 #8710592

Yuan Xinyue on the block against Dobriana Rabadzhieva

The lead swung back and forth during the first set, but Tianjin were more persistent towards the end to win it by the narrowest of margins. Dentil Praia had their moments during the second set too, leading by two points on several occasions, but after 18-18 it was all about the home team again. The Brazilians really showed their strength in the third set, when they dominated for an emphatic set win to stay alive in the match. After 14-12 Dentil Praia’s way in the fourth set, Tianjin went on an eight-point series with outside hitter Li Yingying behind the serving line and practically pre-decided the match. A successful first-tempo swing by middle blocker Yuan Xinyue made it official at 25-19.

The overall match statistics were quite balanced, with Tianjin doing better on the block (10-8 in stuffs) and making way fewer unforced errors (12-25), and Dentil Praia prevailing in attack (60-53 in spike kills) and from the serving line (7-4 in aces). Four home team players reached the double digits in scoring. Outsides Wang Yizhu and Li Yingying led the way with 20 and 19 points, respectively. Middles Yuan Xinyue and Wang Yuanyuan added 12 points each. Dentil Praia’s opposite Tainara Santos was on fire and delivered the match high of 32 points, including four blocks and an ace. Middle Lorena Viezel and Bulgarian outside Dobriana Rabadzhieva finished with 13 and 10 points, respectively.