Montreux, Switzerland, September 4, 2018- Turkey ensured that their return to the Montreux Volley Masters after a two-year absence was a happy one, crowning their homecoming amongst Volleyball’s elite with a comfortable 3-0 (25-18, 26-24, 25-21) win over Italy in Pool A. Turkey coach Giovanni Guidetti the pantomime villain for his countrymen, getting one over on his home nation of Italy with his game-plan played out to perfection by his own side.
Opposite Meryem Boz was the standout performer for the winners with a 12-point individual haul, but it was a game wrought with the frailties of inexperience, the Turks clinching the tie despite making five more errors than their opponents (25 to Italy’s 20), but finishing up with a total spike tally superior by four (37 to Italy’s 33). This was all in spite of the best efforts of leading match scorer Paola Egonu, who notched 12 of Italy’s 33 points alone, following on from her impressive showing at the FIVB Grand Prix. But both coaches will be looking to improve on these avoidable mistakes going forward, with both sides facing World Number One China in their following respective games.
Despite a lack of registered points, the Middle Blocker duo of captain Eda Erdem Dundar and Zehra Gunes proved influential for the Turks in snuffing out Italian attacks and building their own attacking opportunities, from which Wing Spikers Hande Baladin and Meliha Ismailoglu profited, along with the impressive Boz. having established an early three-point lead at 8-5 in the first set, the Turks never looked like surrendering the advantage, comfortably cruising to a first-set win by 25 points to Italy’s 18 following a twenty minute opening exchange.
The Italians’ resolve didn’t waver even in spite of going behind, veteran Lucia Bosetti notching eight points as she sought to carve a way through the Turkish rearguard and back into the game. Individual errors in the reception, including fumbles and slips would prove costly for the Squadra Azzurra in an energetic, lively and competitive set, which eventually swung the way of Turkey at 26-24, Guidetti’s side seemingly the more aggressive of the two sides in their spiking play to the visible approval of their travelling fans who greeted the triumph with a cacophony of cheers. Two sets ahead, the ‘Queens of the Net’ were on the brink.
Guidetti’s team had the edge, and despite the best efforts of the team from the Stivale, the Women in Red & White were able to keep their opponents at arm’s length, and they closed out the final competitive set in confident fashion, Turkey’s leading scorer Boz proving the matchwinner with a deft touch down into the centre of court to seal a 25-21 final set win and a 3-0 whitewash. A far from perfect performance, but Turkey had shown their clinical street and had got the job done.
Turkey will have the chance to seal progression from Pool A on Thursday but will have to be at their best as they take-on group favourites China (06.09.18. 18:45 CET), but not before the Italians attempt to right the wrongs of the opening day against the same opponents one day earlier (05.09.18. 18:45 CET), knowing they will have to be much better if they are to take anything against one of the world’s best.