Stuttgart stops Fenerbahce, Imoco and Vero Volley one step closer to CLVolleyW semis


Article Tue, Feb 20 2024
Author: Martyna Szydłowska

The action-packed Tuesday inaugurated the first week of the quarterfinals in the CEV Champions League Volley 2024. The three women's match-ups electrified the Volleyball fans, delivering many brilliant actions. In the clash of the titans in Istanbul, A. Carraro Imoco Conegliano upset VakifBank Istanbul, earning a 3-1 win. Also another Italian side, Allianz Vero Volley Milano triumphed 3-1, beating ŁKS Commercecon Łódź. The biggest sensation was witnessed, however, in Stuttgart, where Allianz MTV ended the winning streak of Fenerbahce Opet Istanbul after a nail-biting five-setter. 

VakifBank Istanbul - A. Carraro Imoco Conegliano 1-3 (25-23, 17-25, 18-25, 18-25)

The encounter between the two clubs that won the last three editions of the #CLVolleyW opened the quarterfinal phase. The reigning champions VakifBank Istanbul aimed to use the home court advantage, however Imoco Conegliano from the beginning were messing up with the Turkish plans. The newly crowned Coppa Italia winners arrived in Istanbul with fighting spirit and quickly took an early 8-5 lead. Even if the team around coach Daniele Santarelli struggled on the service line (7 errors in the first set), the powerful attacks from Isabelle Haak and great blocks made it up. Imoco were staying on the lead, but the home team kept pushing on them to eventually prevail in the decisive moment of the set, closing it after an impressive block by Chiaka Ogbogu (3 block stuff in the opening set).

Many could expect that VakifBank would keep the momentum, but it was Imoco who quickly banished memories from the opening set. The Italian side kept working hard in block and attack to tie the score. The third part started with 6-0 lead with Isabelle Haak on the service line. This overpowered the defending champions. Even if they tried to find their rhythm, they were far from playing flawlessly what was executed by Imoco, who won the third set 25-18. And quickly started their march for victory in the 4th part, proving better in all components.

Isabelle Haak shone bright on the court, in total she hammered 28 points (21 killing attacks, 5 aces, 2 blocks) and grabbed MVP award. Her colleague Sarah Fahr also had an impressive record of 5 block stuffs and 6 winning spikes (75% success in attack), once US duo Kelsey Robinson and Kathryn Plummer contributed with 14 points apiece. On VakifBank's side Gabi Guimares was the best scorer with 15 points.

ŁKS Commercecon Łódz - Allianz Vero Volley Milano 1-3 (18-25, 25-14, 18-25, 14-25)

In the second quarterfinal game played on Tuesday ŁKS Commercecon Łódź and Allianz Vero Volley Milano locked horns fighting for first in their history - for both teams - place in the semifinals. In Łódź, star-studded Milano won the opening set in convincing style. However, ŁKS returned to the court with fresh minds and eager to show their teeth. Powered by Valentina Diouf, who scored great 9 points in this set, the team found a way to stop Paola Egonu & co. But it was enough for only one set. Perfectly balanced game led by captain and setter Alessia Orro became the key to victory. In the third set Miriam Sylla and Paola Egonu were the main powerguns, scoring 7 and 5 points, respectively, while in the fourth part Dana Rettke contributed with 7 points and she became the best scorer of Vero Volley with 16 points to her name (including 7 blocks). However, the MVP award was handed to Paola Egonu, who recorded 14 winning spikes.  ŁKS's Valentina Diouf topped the scorers' chart with 22 points. 


Allianz MTV Stuttgart - Fenerbahce Opet Istanbul 3-2 (22-25, 26-24, 19-25, 25-20, 15-10)

Fenerbahce after completing the group stage as the only team without losing a single set were a pre-favourite of this encounter. But Allianz MTV Stuttgart, sparked by their home crowd, were determined to show their best volleyball. Already in the opening set, Jolien Knollema impressed with her 6 points, however then it was not enough against Fenerbahce fueled by Arina Fedorovtseva who scored 9 points, including 8 powerful spikes. The second set started well for the team around coach Stefano Lavarini (8-4), but the local favourites kept pushing and managed to prevail in extra-time 26-24. Krystal Rivers, the leader of the team from Stuttgart, had tough times as she had only 29% of success in attack, but she was persistent, delivering her team 7 points. This irritated Fenerbahce, who with their biggest stars Eda Erdem (3 blocks and 2 aces in the 3rd set), Arina Fedorovtseva (7 points) and Magdalena Stysiak (5) took this set by storm. 

Many expected that after excellent performance in the previous setm Fenerbahce would prevail in the fourth set. But Stuttgart didn't give up even for a second. Rivers learned her lesson from the previous sets and became unstoppable (finishing 7 of 10 attacks), leading the team to tie-break. Tie-break was a passionate nail-biting battle. The breakpoint came at 9-8, when Krystal Rivers finished the hard-fought ball, making her rivals speechless. She and her teammates made it a great Volleyball show, closing the game 15-10 after a situational attack from Eline Timmerman. 

Rivers, who recorded 23 points in this game, was named the MVP. Monique Strubbe and Eline Timmerman impressed with their block performances - 4 and 3 block stuffs apiece. Fenerbahce's Arina Fedorovtseva scored 31 points.