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12/03/2020 18:48
VakifBank sweep Dinamo for ticket to women's Champions League semis
CEV Champions League Volley 2020 - Women

Luxembourg, March 12, 2020. VakifBank Istanbul are through to the semifinals of the CEV Champions League Volley 2020 - Women after a solid 3-0 (25-13, 25-18, 25-15) home win over Dinamo Moscow in the return leg of their quarterfinal, Thursday evening.

A frenetic first set in just 17 minutes set the pace and it was all over after VakifBank won the second set, as the Turkish side had already prevailed in the first leg in Moscow in straight sets.

Although there was no longer any way back for Dinamo, the two coaches made surprisingly few changes to their starting lineups for the third set - although eventually every single VakifBank player did see some action.

VakifBank celebrated their 150th win in the history of the Champions League, making the last four for the ninth time in the last 10 seasons.

With VakifBank's serving creating all sorts of problems for Dinamo's reception, Sweden's Isabelle Haak once again emerged top scorer of the game, finishing on 17 points.

Serbia's Milena Rasic, who was named MVP of the game, contributed another 11, including a kill efficiency of 80% (8/10) plus an ace and two blocks. USA's Michelle Bartsch-Hackley with 10 more for VakifBank was the only other player across both sides to score in double figures.

It was the week's only women's Champions League match to be actually played, after all other fixtures were postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a very rare occurance these days across all sports worldwide, the match was played in the presence of spectators with some 650 VakifBank fans turning out to watch the game.

VakifBank are now set up to meet either their crosstown rivals Fenerbahce Opet, or Italy's Igor Gorgonzola Novara in the semifinals. However, both legs of that quarterfinal, originally rescheduled to be played in Slovenia, have now been postponed after the whole of Italy was placed into lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Four-time European and three-time world champions VakifBank join A. Carraro Imoco Conegliano in the top four. The Italian reigning world champions advanced on the basis of their first leg straight-set away win over Allianz MTV Stuttgart in Germany after the two sides agreed to forego the second leg in Italy due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

VakifBank ISTANBUL (TUR) vs Dinamo MOSCOW (RUS) 3-0 (25-13, 25-18, 25-15)

"I think we did our job today. We are happy that we played a volleyball match right now, even if in the rest of the world there is to much going on. At least we gave the people here and at home something else to watch for an hour. Not only bad news. And our team played pretty good. We are happy to be in the semifinals of the Champions League. But everything is uncertain. We don't know if there will be a semifinal game. Let's see whats going on in the world."
Giovanni Guidetti, VakifBank head coach

"We are now in the semifinals, which had been our goal for a long time. I am happy that we played this well today. We were really determined to win and we really showed that. We will see what will happen, when we play the semifinal, if we play the semifinal. But for now on Sunday we play against Eczacibasi in the Turkish League."
Isabelle Haak, VakifBank opposite

Click here for further information on CEV Champions League Volley 2020.

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