VakıfBank and ZAKSA on European Club Volleyball Throne

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After surpassing Italy’s A. Carraro Imoco Conegliano 3-1 (25-22, 25-21, 23-25, 25-21) in the 2022 Super Finals in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and winning its 5th title in the CEV Women’s Volleyball Champions League, Turkey’s VakıfBank İstanbul was promoted to be the officially best team in the strongest European club competition (perhaps the strongest in the world) in history.

VakıfBank have reclaimed the top spot in Europe on a club level following a 4-year absence, having won the most titles in the CEV Champions League Volley | Women since its inception in 2000. Close to 10,000 fans from both clubs gathered at the Stožice Arena in Slovenia’s capital to witness one final between two teams who have developed a long-awaited rivalry in the ‘Old Continent’ and whose odds margins were close to each other for the win of each prior on the best mobile bookmakers to the encounter.

Guidetti’s Ladies Have Won All 5 Tournaments They’ve Entered This Season

The Turkish team came into this event determined to reclaim their crown after losing to the same opponent in the final the previous season, and that determination was evident from the first serve. Such a result could be described as a disappointment by Imoco fans in Italy, and they would be correct. Their club only responded in the third set, losing the title due to too many unforced errors (36 in total). Imoco ‘gifted’ as many as 22 points in the opening two sets to a team that didn’t need any help to win. VakıfBank is inherently too powerful. It’s no accident that the ladies coached by Italian Giovanni Guidetti have won all 5 tournaments they’ve entered this season (Turkish League, Turkish Cup, Turkish Super Cup, FIVB Club World Championship, and now, CEV Champions League), with the last two victories coming over Imoco. However, it should be noted that with a 9-3 lead in the fourth set, the Italian side had a chance to force a tie-break.

Paola Egonu put up a monster performance with 39 points (4 aces) in her (and not only her) ultimate match in the Imoco shirt (before joining the ranks of a club from which she lost the final we write about). But it was in vain. Gabriela Braga Guimarães ‘Gabi’ of Brazil scored 23 points for VakıfBank.

ZAKSA Did It Again

Grupa Azoty Kędzierzyn-Koźle (ZAKSA) have retained control of European men’s club volleyball. Following a straight-set victory over Italy’s Trentino Itas (3-0: 25-22, 25-20, 32-30) in the second event of Super Finals (the format for the title in Champions League introduces in 2019, joining women’s and men’s final on the same day), ZAKSA wrote Polish volleyball history.

In the first-ever men’s Super Finals rerun, the incumbent champions gave Trentino no chance and successfully defended their title from the previous year. As a result, ZAKSA added another chapter to their country’s volleyball history. Last year, they made Polish history by being the first club to reach the summit of Europe, and now they have won back-to-back crowns on the ‘Old Continent’. Furthermore, Gheorghe Creţu’s players are part of a select group of only four clubs that have won the Champions League for at least two seasons in a row. Russia’s Belogorie (2003, 2004), Trentino (2010, 2011), and Russia’s Zenit-Kazan (2015-2018) were the only teams to achieve this feat before them.

Trentino saved 5 match points in the 3rd set before succumbing to the 6th, failing to convert 2 set points of their own and extend the match to at least one more set. With 27 points and a 74% attack rate (26/35), Kamil Semeniuk led ZAKSA. Matey Kaziyski of Bulgaria scored 17 points for the losing team.

Gabi and Semeniuk Awarded MVPs

The European Volleyball Confederation (CEV) awarded the MVP awards before the giving of medals to the players of the winning teams, VakfBank and ZAKSA, in the Super Finals of the CEV Champions League Volley 2022 in Ljubljana.

It was won by VakıfBank’s Brazilian Gabi in the women’s category. In the men’s category, ZAKSA’s Kamil Semeniuk was named the best player. In the deciders, both players were the highest scorers for their respective teams.

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May 1, 2022 | 6 p.m. local time


Tournament
2021/22 SuperLega