Turkey’s incredible comeback costs Russia the third place in Pool F


Sonsirma's 31 points were decisive in Turkey's victory over Russia

Modena, Italy. October 2nd, 2014 – Turkey rallied from two sets down to defeat two-time defending world champions Russia in a five-set battle (19-25, 25-27, 25-22, 25-22, 15-13) in FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship Italy 2014 Pool F action on Thursday in Modena.

After their impressive 17-match winning streak was snapped by the USA in the final match of Round 1 on Sept. 28, Russia had to start from the beginning beating Bulgaria 3-1 in the first match of FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship 2014 Pool F but couldn't keep the momentum in the end as Turkey.

Tatiana Kosheleva was the top scorer of the match providing Russia 32 points, while Gozde Sonsirma led the Turkish score table with 31. Winning serves (8) and killer blocks (11) were perfectly equal for the two sides; and Russia was defeated even if they scored four more points in attack, and made four less mistakes.

Key facts:

- Turkey and Russia had played one match in Italy before. At Monza in a 2011 European Championship quarterfinal, Turkey won in straight sets.

- Turkey had lost the last four matches of 11 World Championship matches against fellow CEV sides.

- Russia have given up at least one set in each of their last four World Championship matches. The last time they did this in four straight: four consecutive 3-1 victories in November 2006.

- Russia were unbeaten in their last 19 matches against CEV sides (since 1986) at the World Championship. They won nine of these in straight sets.

After taking too many risks against Bulgaria in the final part of each set, Russia decided to start strong and took the early lead (5:1) thanks to Regina Moroz, regularly on court despite the blue eye provoked by a middle attack the night before. Tatiana Kosheleva, top scorer against Bulgaria, did not lose her good shape overnight and scored three of the first eight Russian points (8:4), before Kubra Akman closed the gap with two consecutive aces (9:8). But Turkey’s second line had their trouble too, and gave up four consecutive points on Alexandra Pasynkova’s serve (14:8). The spread between the two teams never narrowed, and Russia easily closed the first set (25:19).

Turkey showed pride and commitment taking the lead in the early second set (10:7), wih the Russian second line worn out by the Turkish float serve and Ekaterina Gamova’s attack punished by Seda Tokatioglu’s blocks. Russia recovered immediately (11:11) with Natialia Malykh – as Gamova sat on the bench – but Turkey was able to keep the pace thanks to Guldeniz Onal’s attacks from zone 4 (21:21). It was Kosheleva again to shake Russia from its impasse, scoring all three points Russia needed to gain the first set ball (24:23); but Turkey fought back, and earned a set ball for themselves thanks to a net foul by Malykh (25:24). The decisive break was performed by Kosheleva again, with an ace and a big defense that offered Pasynkova the right chance to close the set (27:25).

Again, the third seemed to be a critical set for the Russian, trailing by 5:0 and forced again to send Malykh in for Gamova. But it was again Kosheleva’s duty to bring her teammates close to the Turkish with three more points (8:6) before Bahar Toksoy – wife to Modena’s own, coach Giovanni Guidetti – restored the distance (10:6); Onal’s defense and Sonsirma’s attack sent Turkey ahead by six at the second technical timeout (16:10). Russia was able to narrow the gap to two points as Nataliya Goncharova was sent in (22:20) but an error by Pasynkova on the serve closed the set (25:22).

Malykh was in the starting six for Gamova in the fourth set, and helped Russia to an early lead (8:3). Sonsirma kept Turkey close with two consecutive aces (8:7) before Kosheleva scored four consecutive points and brought Russia ahead by three again (12:9). Turkey came close again thanks to two consecutive mistakes by Malykh and Kosheleva and Tokatioglu’s offensive efforts (19:19); the Turkish spiker was also responsible for a crucial error that led Russia ahead again (22:20), but she fixed it with a massive block on Kosheleva, whose subsequent mistake evened the score again (22:22). Sonsirma’s beautiful attack from zone 4 changed the lead in Turkey’s favor (23:22) and Onal completed the comeback with a block (25:22).

With Russia still recovering from the shock, Turkey started the tie break the right way thanks to Sonsirma’s impressive power (3:1), but a block by Malykh on Toksoy and Kosheleva’s 29th point gave the Russian the lead again (5:3). Sonsirma and Kosheleva made it look like something personal, as they scored repeatedly (6:6) offering a breathtaking spectacle to the 3,000 in attendance. Turkey’s coach Barbolini applied the “double change” sending Karakoyun and Uslupehlivan in, but it was Sonsirma again to take the lead (9:8) forcing Russian coach Marichev to call a timeout. Kosheleva answered, before Moroz blocked Akman’s attack for another lead change (10:9). The “double change” was then chosen by coach Marichev with Startseva and Goncharova involved, then Uslupehlivan’s zone 2 winning attack was reversed by the video check to even the score again (12:12). Sonsirma, simply unstoppable, scored and went to serve for the match, forcing Kosianenko’s setting foul that gave Turkey the victory (15:13).Russia therefore loses her third place in Pool F to Serbia, which they will face on sunday in Round 2 thrilling final game.


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