International Volleyball



VakifBank shut out Sport Center 1 in Club World Championship opener

Yuan Xinyue against the block of Julia Kudiess

Hosts Tianjin Bohai Bank stunned Brazil’s Gerdau Minas of Belo Horizonte in straight sets on 2023 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship opening day in Hangzhou on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, Türkiye’s VakifBank Spor Kulubu of Istanbul lived up to their status of Pool B favourites and shut out Vietnam’s Sport Center I Women’s Club of Hanoi.

Watch the 2023 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship live on  VBTV

Pool A

Even without their Cuban-born Turkish star Melissa Vargas in play, China’s Tianjin Bohai Bank mastered a convincing 3-0 (25-22, 25-16, 25-20) sweep of their first Pool A game against Brazil’s Gerdau Minas of Belo Horizonte, to the delight of the home crowd in Hangzhou. Thus, the club from Tianjin achieved their second win in the history of the Club World Championships, after celebrating victorious only once during their two previous appearances.

The first set was the most competitive of the three. First, Minas failed to hold on to the five-point advantage they had at 9-4. Then, they opened another wide gap at 22-19, only to allow the home team six consecutive points towards winning the set. 

That was a momentum changer for the whole match and Tianjin dominated on the court over the next two sets. They finished the third set on a series of four points in a row, with middle blocker Yuan Xinyue bringing in match point with an ace and her cross-court teammate Wang Yuanyuan converting it with a monster block. Outside hitter Li Yingying delivered the match high of 19 points, including two aces and a kill block, for the winners. Wang Yizhu and Yuan Xinyue added 11 and 10 points, respectively. Middle Julia Kudiess raised five kill blocks to lead Minas with a total of 12 points, while opposite Kisy Nascimento finished with 11.

Pool A action in Hangzhou will resume on Thursday at 19:30 local time (11:30 UTC) with Minas looking for recovery against Turkish powerhouse Eczacibasi Dynavit Istanbul.

Pool B

The most decorated team in the history of the competition, four-time club world champions VakifBank Spor Kulubu of Istanbul, allowed no surprises against rookies Sport Center I Women’s Club of Hanoi and hammered out a speedy 3-0 (25-10, 25-15, 25-13) sweep of the tournament opening match on Wednesday. Europe’s club champions from Türkiye dominated over Asia’s club champions…

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