The Final Four of the 2018 CEV Volleyball Champions League – Women in Bucharest is now underway with a spectacular first semifinal. Reigning champions VakifBank ISTANBUL from Turkey won the first two sets against Imoco Volley CONEGLIANO from Italy, before their opponents struck back to win the next two and prompt a decisive tie-breaker. The current score at the Sala Polivalenta is 2-2 (25-22, 25-21, 17-25, 15-25).
After a spectacular laser show, with which the organisers opened the two-day event, it was time for the players of the two teams to show off what they can do on the court in front of the thousands of enthusiastic and noisy spectators on the stands.
The first set was very competitive through the second technical time-out. A monster block by Milena Rasic gave the momentum to a VakifBank breakaway. Moments later, another great block by the Turkish team led them to set point before a fantastic back-row hit by Lonneke Slöetjes fixed the set score at 25-22.
After losing the first rally of the second set, VakifBank were quick to take control on the court and run off with an early three-point lead. With Slöetjes on fire, especially in offence, and a lot of overall precision in the Turkish team’s performance, they stayed in control through the rest of the set and it was the Dutch spiker again that put the ball on the floor to close it off at 25-21.
Despite trailing two sets behind, Imoco had no intention of giving up. With captain Joanna Wolosz serving, her team scored six in a row to grab a 13-6 lead and make the rest of the third set quite one-sided. The Italian side played almost error-free to maintain their advantage on the way to an impressive 25-17 win, shaped up by Samatha Fabris, who attacked successfully for Imoco’s last two points.