Türkiye (TUR) vs. Italy (ITA) women - Pool 1 - Preliminary Phase #4837012

The high-flying Vargas had a prominent role in the Turkish victory

Türkiye continued to delight their home fans in Antalya on Saturday, when the Sultans of the Net secured their third-straight victory in the opening week of the Volleyball Nations League 2023.

The Turkish were in excellent form at the Antalya Sports Hall once again and swept (25-19, 26-24, 25-19) defending champions Italy in front of thousands of fans to remain undefeated in Pool 1.

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Playing in her first VNL with Türkiye, opposite Melissa Vargas was once again the team’s main scorer against the Italians. The 23-year-old player has tallied at least 15 points in each of her three VNL matches and got her highest mark so far on Sunday, leaving the court with 22 points (20 kills, two blocks).

She was the only Turkish player to score in double digits, while middle blockers Kubra Akman and Zehra Gunes had nine and eight points, combining for nine blocks, and outside hitter Illkin Aydin produced another eight.

“We felt really well tonight because we played some very good volleyball,” Gunes commented. “We did some great teamwork and our blocking and defense were excellent today. We’re still adjusting to the new coaching staff and I feel that we’ll be in great shape by the end of the summer. The atmosphere was really good and we can’t wait to play here again tomorrow. Our fans have done a great job in supporting us and we’re kind of sad that we won’t have them behind us in the next weeks.”

Türkiye (TUR) vs. Italy (ITA) women - Pool 1 - Preliminary Phase #4836989

Türkiye have been playing in front of packed stadiums in Antalya

Opposite Sylvia Nwakalor, who scored 17 points (15 kills, two blocks), and outside hitter Alice Degradi, who added 13 (11 kills, two blocks), were Italy’s top scorers in the encounter.

Türkiye overcame Italy in kills (43 to 38), blocks (13 to eight) and points earned from opponent errors (18 to 13), while their opponents got the most aces (three to two).

Volleyball Nations League 2023: full schedule and results

Earlier in the day, Poland became the first team to get to four wins in the VNL 2023 as the Europeans completed their Pool 1 schedule with a strong three-set (25-18, 25-22, 30-28) victory over reigning world champions Serbia.

Opposite Magdalena Stysiak had a big performance, producing 20 points (17 kills, three blocks) against the world champions – middle blocker Agnieszka Korneluk added 13 (six kills, seven blocks). On the Serbian side, 18-year-old outside hitter Aleksandra Uzelac was the most effective, with 11 points (nine kills, one ace, one block).

Olympic champions the United States also maintained their record clean in Antalya, topping Korea 3-0 (25-16, 27-25, 25-11) to secure their third win in Türkiye.

Opposite Danielle Cuttino was the main offensive option for the Americans, registering 19 points (11 kills, two aces, six blocks), five more than outside hitter Avery Skinner. Outside hitter Pyo Seungju was the only Korean player to score in double digits, leaving the court with 11 points (nine kills, two blocks).

One of Türkiye or USA will face their first defeat in the VNL 2023 on Sunday as the teams meet in the last match of the week in Antalya, set to begin at 20:00 local time (17:00 UTC). Earlier, Asian rivals Thailand and Korea will battle at 14:00 local time (11:00 UTC) while Canada and Serbia will play their last Pool 1 matches at 17:00 local time (14:00 UTC).

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