Montreux, Switzerland, June 5, 2016 - Turkey, tenth in the FIVB World Rankings, secured a podium finish at the 2016 Montreux Volley Masters, scooping up the bronze medal after seeing off world No. 14 the Netherlands 3-1 (21-25, 25-16, 25-15, 25-22) at the Salle Omnisports Pierrer.
The bronze medal and third place will provide some consolation for deposed champions Turkey, after their agonising semi-final exit at the hands of Thailand on Saturday night, whilst 4th place will have to do for the Dutch heading into the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix 2016, which starts next week for both teams in Kaliningrad, Russia and the Olympics.FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix 2016 - Media Guide
Both teams were determined not to leave Montreux empty handed, and their desperation for a place on the podium showed as the game sprung into life from the first whistle. Celeste Plak, the standout player in the Dutch camp this year, showcased her wealth of individual talent once more on the Montreux court, with a string of impressive points in fast and frantic opening exchanges to give the “Oranje” the edge. But Turkey never let the opposition become complacent, three aces from Asli Kalac and Ozge Nur Yurtdagulen cutting through the Dutch reception. The Netherlands though kept their lead intact, a strong Quinta Steenbergen spike amongst the highlights. The Dutch eventually took the first set, but made more work of it than they should have for their early lead, Plak’s hammer spike and an error in the Turkish reception handing the Dutch a 25-21 first set win.
Unable to stomach leaving Montreux with nothing to show for their efforts, Turkey were quick out of the blocks in the second set with a brutal show of attacking and blocking to coast into a four point lead. Their aggression was giving them the edge in the early second set rallies, and their serves deceived the Dutch, four more aces from Melis Durul and Kalac leaving their reception flat-footed. Netherlands were never at the races this set, Yurtdagulen and Durul finding it all too easy to penetrate their rear-guard. Fatma Yildirim, who was having another good game for her country, hit home the set point as Turkey comfortably strolled to a 25-16 score to level the game.
Turkey maintained their ruthlessness as the third set unfolded, the razor-sharp Durul and Gözde Yilmaz taking charge to storm their team into a five point cushion. Yildirim maintained her impressive form, coming up with a cool flick of the ball over the net to stretch the Turkish lead to 13-7. The Dutch again were unable to respond to the Turks, Yildirim and Kalac shutting them out with two great blocks, before Kalac finished off a great team build-up with a powerful spike. From there Turkey were in cruise control, and saw out the third set 25-15 to turn the match around and lead 2:1.
Baying for Dutch blood, Turkey looked to finish the job. But the “Oranje” nipped at their heels this set, refusing to give them the boost of an early lead for a third time. The set was a tense stalemate throughout, the teams matching each other attack for attack, but a key point at 16-16 swung the game back Turkey’s way, Polen Uslupehlivan in off the bench with a huge block to give Turkey an advantage. Netherlands then rallied back to 24-22, but Turkey were not to be outdone. As Plak was poised to spike and foil the Turks once more, Yurtdagulen rose to block the ball back and end the Dutch resistance, sealing a 3:1 win and ensuring the bronze medal would be heading east.