VakifBank : This year’s FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship will be held in Antalya, Türkiye, over five days beginning on December 14 and ending on December 18. Dentil Praia Clube and Gerdau Minas of Brazil, Prosecco DOC Imoco Conegliano of Italy, and Kuanysh Club of Kazakhstan will join defending world champions VakifBank Spor Kulubu and host team Eczacibasi Dynavit Istanbul of Türkiye.
When the Club World Championships 2022 be held in Antalya from December 14-18, the defending champions, VakifBank Spor Kulubu, will be there to defend their title. Turkish giants will try to equal their record of four world championships by winning a fifth.
In the 2021-2022 club season, VakifBank won an incredible golden quintuple, including the European CEV Champions League 2022, which guaranteed them a spot in the forthcoming edition of the Club World Championships. The team led by Giovanni Guidetti won the Club World Championships, the Champions League, and the Turkish league, cup, and super cup.
They won the 2021 Club World Championship in Ankara, Turkey, making it their record-breaking fourth championship overall (they also have silver and bronze medals from previous competitions). In the 2017 final, VakifBank defeated the reigning champions, the Italian team Prosecco Doc Imoco Volley, in five sets despite a strong performance by the defending champions’ opposite, Paola Egonu, who scored 35 points.
About five months later, in the Champions League final, the two teams met again. Egonu scored 39 points on VakifBank in the short four-set match, but the Turkish team still won the match and claimed their sixth continental title.
This year, Egonu is playing for VakifBank, whereas Isabelle Haak, a Swedish superstar on the other wing, has switched teams and is now playing for Imoco.
Of the five championships they had hoped to defend this year, Istanbul has already lost one. While Egonu led all scorers with 22 points, her new side fell to local rivals Fenerbahce Opet Istanbul in a 3-0 Turkish Super Cup drubbing.
However, in Turkey’s Misli.com Sultanlar Ligi, VakifBank have gotten off to a strong start, winning their first four matches (a 3-1 loss at Bolu Belediye Spor, 3-0 victories over SigortaShop Ankara and Ilbank Ankara, and 3-0 victories over Fenerbahce Opet Istanbul) before falling in a straight-set loss to Eczacibasi Dynavit Istanbul on Wednesday. VakifBank, who has a win-loss record of 4-1 so far this season, will keep fighting to capture their 14th consecutive national championship.
After winning the 2004 CEV Top Teams Cup and the 2008 CEV Challenge Cup, VakifBank are perhaps the most successful women’s club in the history of the sport.
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Superstar of Italy Not only did Guidetti bring in Paola Egonu as a new star player this season, but they also brought in several other talented newcomers. Nika Daalderop, a Dutch international, moved from Italian powerhouse Igor Gorgonzola Novara, while Kara Bajema, a member of the United States national team, moved from Polish club DevelopRes Bella Dolina Rzeszow. Those two joined Brazilian Gabriela Guimaraes, the team’s new captain, and Turkish up-and-comer Derya Cebecioglu as the squad’s outside hitters for VakifBank.
Alexia Carutasu, a talented kid originally from Romania, will be Egonu’s backup and VakifBank’s second opponent. After spending the previous three seasons with different Turkish clubs, she decided to return to the club.
Bahar Akbay, a homegrown player, bolsters an already formidable middle blocking unit that features the likes of American star Chiaka Ogbogu and Turkish internationals Zehra Gunes and Kubra Akman.
Guidetti’s choice of setters, which previously included Cansu Ozbay and Buket Gulubay, has not changed. They have Ayca Aykac and Aylin Acar at libero.
Antalya, Turkey, on the Mediterranean, will undoubtedly show its support for VakifBank, one of the two Turkish teams competing in the tournament. They’ll kick off Pool B play on the 14th of December at 19:30 local time against Kuanysh Club of Kazakhstan, the defending Asian club champions (16:30 UTC). VakifBank will take against Gerdau Minas, the South American club champions, the next day at 20:00 (17:00).