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05/02/2021 13:01
Eczacibasi power through tough pool to emerge undefeated
CEV Champions League Volley 2021 - Women

Luxembourg, February 5, 2021. Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul repeated their performance from the first Pool D round-robin tournament at home to defeat all three of their strong opponents again at the second event in Kaliningrad and emerge as the unbeaten leader of the standings and the sole representative of this pool to make the women’s CEV Champions League Volley 2021 quarterfinals.
Once again, the most spectacular match of the tournament was delivered by Eczacibasi and Germany’s Allianz MTV Stuttgart on the first competition day of the event and, once again, the Turkish powerhouse had to come back from behind to claim a 3-2 victory. If the first time, in Istanbul, Eczacibasi were two sets down before winning the next three, this time they managed to come back from a set down twice in the match before snatching the tie-breaker.

The two sides flew on the wings of their opposites’ prolific scoring and, while Eczacibasi’s Serbian star Tijana Boskovic contributed 37 points (including five blocks) to the win, Allianz MTV’s American striker Krystal Rivers topped that with an amazing 40 points in the match. These two also topped the overall scorers ranking of the entire pool stage, with Boskovic leading on 136 points and Rivers right behind her on 132.

Boskovic is not the only Eczacibasi player to lead an individual stats ranking in the pool stage. American middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu has already piled up 30 stuffs in six games, 13 clear of the next best in the blockers chart. Serbia’s Nadja Ninkovic of Poland’s LKS Commercecon Lodz is second on 17, while Ogbogu’s colleague in Eczacibasi, Beyza Arici, is third, also on 17, but with a lower per-set average.

Spectators were allowed onto the stands of the Yantarny arena in Kaliningrad, but, unfortunately, several of Lokomotiv Kaliningrad Region’s star players had to skip the tournament for health reasons and the home favourites could not win a single set to follow up on their runner-up status after the first tournament finishing bottom of the pool.

The other Russian team, that of Dinamo Moscow, the most decorated club in the history of the competition, started the tournament well, by shutting out both their compatriots and Allianz MTV, but when it came down to their last match with Eczacibasi, they lost in four sets. Their 3-3 win-loss record placed them second in the group, but not among the best three pool runners-up.

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