Zürich is this week the host of ‘probably the strongest’ edition of FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club Championship. Apparently the damp and unfriendly weather in Zurich has not prevented volleyball fans from coming to Saalsporthalle…or the good spirits…or the volleyball show.
The first game set the newly crowned queen of Europe, Eczacibasi Istanbul and Japan’s Hisamitsu Springs. The game ‘took off’ promisingly, with a rally and never once lacked thrilling. The Japanese team, amazingly lead by Mihajlovic, finally went over the first day of competition with a rewarding five sets victory over European champions of Eczacibasi Vitra Istanbul ((12-25, 28-26, 25-20, 19-25, 15-11). The hosts played the second game of the day against the extremely young and full of enthusiasm of Mirador Santo Domingo. Volero survived the first set only to bring back home the next three and start off the competition with an important victory (20-25, 25-17, 25-15, 25-15).
The second day started once again with Eczacibasi Istanbul, showing one more time why they deserve to be 2015 European volleyball queen. They managed to defeat Russia’s Dinamo Krasnodar in straight sets, booking a place in semi-finals (25-22, 26-24, 25-19). We could say that the Turkish team played their card well: shamefully lost the first game in front of Japanese team of Hisamitsu to set on the victory eagerness and claim a semifinal berth. Volero, on the other hand, didn’t manage to pass over Rexona Ades, the Brazilians scored a thrilling four sets victory today that gets them closer to semifinals (30-28, 25-22, 35-33, 25-22).
After only two days of competition, semifinals have started to shape out: Eczacibasi Vitra and Rexona Ades augmented their chances after their victories, while the other four teams are doomed to fight till the last point. Volero is lining up their best seven players to get a spot in semifinals – a lot of pressure on the hosting team trying to get back home a so desired trophy. Mirador, on the other hand, seem to be the ‘youngest child’ of the competition, therefore, they will probably try to enjoy thoroughly this international experience. Hisamitsu Springs have a simple and apparently efficient strategy: defense, defense and…Brankica Mihajlovic. The Serbian outside hitter finished the first day of the competition as second best spiker, with 17 points.
Rexona Ades lined up so far an amazing and authentic Brazilian team: defense drama, numerous options for attack, a bench with inspired substitutions, a great distribution of sets for famous Fofão and libero Fabi, sweeping the entire court. Plenty of choices for the most successful coach in the history of volleyball – Bernardinho.
Keep calm and watch FIVB Club World Championship!