Montreux, Switzerland, May 31, 2015 – Turkey were two sets down until they overpowered Japan 3-2 (22-25, 19-25, 25-19, 25-23, 15-10) in the gold medal match of the 30th edition of the Montreux Volley Masters at the Pierrier Sports Hall on Saturday.
Turkey triumphed in the 139-minute contest over their Asian opponents to claim their first ever title in the competition after their sixth place finish in 2007.
Turkey fared better on offence with 59 successful attacks, compared to Japan’s 46. Turkey also exhibited their edge in blocking 21-6.
Polen Uslupehlivan scored 26 points for Turkey, while Saori Kimura charted 15 points for Japan.
Both teams went head-to-head in the early stages of the match and got a tied score of 12-all, before Japan opened the gap with three points at the second technical timeout. Turkey tried to bounce back but could not cope with the quick plays of Japan. Yuki Ishii’s blistering smash ended the first set 25-22 in favour of Japan.
Japan continued to show their winning spirit and got another three point lead at the first technical break. Turkey then fought back to reduce the gap to within one at 12-11. The Europeans had an advantage in terms of height, while Japan overwhelmed their opponents with outstanding agility and speed. Japan captain Saori replacd the injured Yukiko Ebata in the middle of the second set, and Japan increased their power to cruised to the end of the set. Sarina Koga served an ace to secure the second set for Japan 25-19.
Turkey drilled six straight points to lead 15-10 after being down 10-9, which became the turning point of the match. Turkey showed strong determination and turned the tables to claim the third set. Turkey coach Ferhat Akbas sent back Polen Uslupehlivan to lead in offence, and replaced middle blocker Gozde Yilmaz with Asli Kalac to strengthen their defence, which apparently helped Turkey to continue their run until the end of the third set 25-19.
Japan led at 4-1 and 13-11 in the fourth set but Turkey never gave up to bounce back with a 16-14 advantage at the second technical timeout. Japan powered another run but was too late as Turkey sealed the set 25-23.
Turkey vanished Japan’s hopes for their second title in Montreux Volley Masters as the former displayed outstanding power in the deciding set. Japan were able to reduce the gap from five to two points at 11-9, but could not prevent the Turkish dominant run that reached 14-10. Koga served long to hand the title victory to Turkey 15-10.
In the bronze medal match, the Netherlands outclassed Russia 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-21). Lonneke Sloetjes and Anne Buijs powered the Dutch team’s powerful performance against a struggling Russian side.
MVP: Yuki Ishii (JPN)
Best Outside Spikers: Yuki Ishii (JPN), Anne Buijs (NED)
Best Middle Blockers: Yvon Belien (NED), Cansu Busra (TUR)
Best Libero: Kotoki Zayasu (JPN)
Best Setter: Naz Aydemir Akyol (TUR)
Best Opposite: Lonneke Sloetjes (NED)
7. Dominican Republic