Turkish pride: captain Sonsirma's 16 points drove Turkey to victory
Modena, Italy. October 4, 2014 – A loyal challenge for the best place available – unfortunately for both, out of the final six – at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Italy 2014. The Pool F match between the Netherlands and Turkey at the Arena PalaPanini was very entertaining, and eventually went to Turkey 3-1 (23-25, 25-17, 25-16, 25-20).
Turkey’s Neriman Oszoy was the top scorer of the match with 22 points, followed by the Netherlands’ Celeste Plak with 17. After out-blocking the Turkish for two sets (14-4), the Dutch were almost reached (16-15) in the final part of the matcch.
• This was the first meeting between these teams at the World Championship.
• In spite of their victory over reigning world champions Russia on Thursday, Turkey can no longer reach the third round and neither can the Netherlands. Turkey's best finish in the competition is sixth place, which they achieved four years ago; the Netherlands’ best finish is seventh (1998).
• The only time Turkey had achieved back-to-back wins in the competition was in 2010, when they defeated Dominican Republic and Canada in succession.
• Netherlands won their first two matches in this tournament, but have since won only one of their next six.
• Judith Pietersen is among the best servers in this tournament. She has hit 11 aces and has committed only 2 faults.
Turkey, “on fire” after Thursday’s big victory against Russia, immediately tried to give the Dutch a rough welcome to Modena: round 2 heroes Sonsirma and Tokatlioglu started hitting hard from the sides (6:4) with two points each in the early first set but the Netherlands, advised by second coach and historical local rival Ron Zwerver, immediately reacted with Celeste Plak (7:7). Middle-blocker Femke Stoltenborg gave the Netherlands the first significant advantage with two blocks, followed by two consecutive aces by Judith Pietersen (12:8). The Turkish second line seemed to suffer from the absence of starter Libero Gizem Karadayi, who got injured in the game against Russia and was rushed to the local hospital for a sprained hip, but could still react and get closer (15:14) and then take the lead (21:20) thanks to Neriman Oszoy. The advantage kept changing hands in the final, until Yvon Belien won the set for the Netherlands with an impressive lob on the 9-meter line (25:23).
But in this World Championship Turkey seems to never run out of pride, as the impressive start of the second set (4:0) proved once again. And once again, blocking was the key to the Dutch reaction: Anne Buijs said “no” to Tokatlioglu two consecutive times, before two consecutive serving errors let Turkey run away again (8:4). An offensive mistake by Buijs led Turkey to an even larger advantage (19:13) and the Netherlands could not get back to their feet (25:17).
In the third Oszoy gave Turkey the lead with her serve, scoring two consecutive aces and damaging the Dutch reception (8:6), but another second touch from setter Femke Stoltenborg – for her sixth point – kept the Netherlands close (10:9). A massive block by Kubra Akman on Judith Pietersen gave Turkey the first significant lead of the set (15:11), but the blocking supremacy of the Dutch (14-4 thus far) closed the gap again as Captain Robin De Kruijf found her fourth “killer” (17:15). It did not last, though, as Turkey took a six-point lead with Sonsirma’s block on Buijs (22:16) and Bahar Toksoy-Guidetti closed the set (25:16).
In the early fourth the lead was Turkish again, with Oszoy’s block on Manon Flier providing her the 20th point of the night (5:2), but the Dutch immediately reacted with Lonneke Sloetjes’s attack and Quinta Steenbergen’s block (5:5), rewarding coach Gido Vermeulen for the changes he applied to the starting six. Plak did the rest from the 9-meter line, providing the Netherlands a 5-point streak worth the lead (7:5), and a lucky ace by Flier – provided by the edge of the net – doubled the advantage (15-11). Sloetjes’s block brought the Dutch close to the finishing line (20:16), but then Sonsirma and Tokatlioglu inspired the Turkish reaction, with the latter blocking Manon Flier for the lead (21:20); two more blocks, by Toksoy on Flier and by Sonsirma on Sloetjes, closed the set giving Turkey the second win in a row (25:20).