VakifBank targeting impeccable season’s fifth trophy


Article Mon, May 16 2022
Author: Nikolay Markov
Nikolay Markov

It has been the perfect season for VakifBank Istanbul so far. The Turkish powerhouse has already claimed four out of four possible trophies and eyes the fifth one as it goes up against defending CEV Champions League Volley titleholder A. Carraro Imoco Conegliano of Italy in Sunday’s Super Final for the ultimate epilogue of the club season.

On October 5, 2021, in its first official match after losing last year’s closely fought five-set Super Final to Imoco, VakifBank bounced back with a convincing shutout of Eczacibasi Dynavit Istanbul to start the new season off with the first big trophy, Turkey’s national super cup.

Coach Giovanni Guidetti’s players must have felt even better when they got back at Imoco with a 3-2 victory in December’s FIVB Club World Championship final to snatch their second crown of the season for the club’s record fourth world title.

Next, VakifBank won the national cup in April and the national championship last week, overcoming another powerful cross-city rival, Fenerbahce Opet Istanbul, in both finals to bring its trophy tally up to four and work up even more appetite for rounding off an impeccable season with the continental crown.

VakifBank’s season has certainly had its ups and downs on the way to a 46-6 win-loss record so far, but the squad has shown its incredible capacity to recover from moments of hardship. One of these 46 wins came in the golden set of the Champions League semifinals, when VakifBank bounced back from a straight-set defeat at the hands of Fenerbahce to snatch a 15-11 life-saver and a spot in the Super Final.

VakifBank’s players have been prolific scorers, combining 546 kills, 108 stuff blocks and 52 aces into a total of 706 active points since the start of the Champions League season, the highest among all participating teams in the competition, or an average of 19.08 per set, second only to Imoco’s 19.86. They lead the way with the highest number of successful spikes and the highest number of blocking points. In terms of processing the opponents’ serves, VakifBank’s excellence rate of 38% in reception is the best in the League and far higher than the second best 30% on Imoco’s record.

The team’s stats clearly show a well-rounded squad, capable of once again confirming its status of the greatest women’s club team of the 21st century so far. As the Turkish squad locks horns with Imoco at Ljubljana’s Dvorana Center Stozice on May 22, it will be targeting the fifth Champions League gold in its history, after triumphing with Europe’s continental title in 2011, 2013, 2017 and 2018. VakifBank has already secured a spot on its 12th Champions League podium, having previously claimed five silver and two bronze medals as well.

VakifBank’s glorious club history also features one CEV Cup trophy, one CEV Challenge Cup trophy, as many as seven Club World Championship medals (including the four titles), 13 national championship titles, eight national cup trophies and four national super cup triumphs.