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05/03/2014 16:28
Eczacibasi captain: The only missing cup for us is the Champions League trophy!
2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Women

Istanbul, Turkey, March 5, 2014. As Acibadem Turkish League and Teledünya Super Cup matches continue, the Eczacibasi VitrA ISTANBUL volleyball team is preparing for the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Women's Final Four in Baku.  Esra Gümüş Kirici, captain of Eczacibasi VitrA since the 2005-2006 season, tells her life story and expresses her feelings about the club and the coming Final Four matches:

I was born in Ankara on October 2, 1982. I went to high school in Ankara and finished my studies at Marmara University Physical Education and Sports Faculty. I started in volleyball when I was 13 years old at Vakifbank ANKARA. I was taller than my friends at school and the teachers advised me to join the Vakifbank volleyball team.  I passed the tryouts and joined the team. Until 17, I played in the Vakifbank junior teams. I moved to Istanbul when Vakıfbank Ankara and Güneş Sigorta ISTANBUL united into one club.  From 2000 to 2004 I played in Yeşilyurt ISTANBUL. During this period I played many times in the youth, junior and senior national teams.

In the 2004-2005 season Eczacibasi Sports Club transferred me and only one year later I was promoted as captain. Since that day, I still continue to be the captain. In Eczacibasi Sports Club we have achieved four Turkish League Championship titles, three Turkish Cups and two Super Cups so far. In 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2012, I was awarded as the Best Receiver of the Turkish League and in 2012 as the Most Valuable Player.  In the 2009 edition of the Champions League we finished fourth and in the 2005 Top Teams Cup - third.

During this period I also achieved so many successful results with the national team: second in the 2003 European Championship, seventh in the 2003 World Cup, second in the 2001, 2009 and 2013 Mediterranean Games, sixth in the 2010 World Championship, third in the 2011 European Championship, third in the 2012 World Grand Prix…  In 2012 we also qualified for the Olympics for the first time in Turkish history.  I guess I played more than 250 times in the national teams.

I married in the summer of 2013 and my husband is also a volleyball player. Unfortunately, he plays in Ankara and I play in Istanbul. We could only meet each other during the holidays and depending on our match schedules.  But we knew from the beginning that we might live in different cities due to our career. My family also lives in Ankara and many of us travel all the time. However, I do not complain since this is the characteristics of our job. I love my family. I like house life, cooking, watching movies, shopping and having fun my friends very much.

It has been a long time since I became the captain of Eczacıbası VitrA. This is a big honor for me. Eczacibasi Sports Club is a very important club known both in Turkey and across Europe. With almost 50 years of history, it has an important place with its trophies, infrastructure and investments. So I may define the club as my second family and whoever joins the club becomes a member of this family. For this reason, I may say that I am very lucky.

We will now be competing in the Final Four after a long break. During the last three seasons we were unlucky in the Drawing of Lots and were eliminated in earlier stages. Although we know that there is winning and losing in the nature of sports, we were really sad when we knocked out. You lose all your targets after a lost match. However, we were happy that the cup came to Turkey in all three seasons. But now we are sure that we will be the third Turkish team to lift the Champions League trophy.

We started the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League with three Turkish teams and now we continue with two teams. Until now we have had a wonderful acceleration in European matches and reached the Finals without any losses. We want to continue this winning streak through the final and we work towards this target. Our semi final match, Eczacibasi VitrA vs. VakifBank ISTANBUL, is a classic! We played many games against each other in history and nobody can say anything before these matches. We are ready for this derby.

After the semi final we are going to play against host Rabita BAKU or Dinamo KAZAN. Both teams are very good and at this stage every team has the power to become the champion. Of course, Rabıta has an advantage since they will play at home.

The only missing cup in the club’s history is the Champions League trophy and we really want it. As a team, our main aim from the beginning of the season is to hold this cup and bring it to our museum.

Baku has a great potential regarding volleyball fans and since they also hosted the Final Four back in 2012, we are sure that our friends will make the best organization. We wish luck to all of our opponents but we are sure that we will be the ones to lift the Champions League trophy!

Click here or here for more detailed information on the upcoming Final Four in Baku.

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