Volleyball Club World Championships - Halkbank Kulubu dominate Sada Cruzeiro to book Semi-Final berth from Pool B

"VAN" (Sports Desk - 09.12.2023) :: Turkey’s Halkbank Spor Kulubu came up with a solid overall performance to blank Sada Cruzeiro Volei of Brazil 3-0 in their last Pool B clash to reach the semi-finals of the Men’s Volleyball Club World Championships here on Friday.

Playing in the prestigious competition for the first time, Halkbank needed three full points against one of the most successful teams in the Club World Championships and the Turkish League leaders showed why they are such a dangerous side when their Dutch skipper Abdel-Aziz Nimir, French Outside Hitter Earvin Ngapeth and Canadian Perrin John Gordon come to party at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium here.

India is hosting the Club World Championships for the first time and the fans were treated to some high-quality volleyball from the Turkish giants.

Ngapeth (15 points), Nimir (14) and Perrin (12) shared bulk of the load as Halkbank completed a 26-24, 25-18, 28-26 win in 85 minutes to kick-off celebrations in the Turkish camp.

Halkbank finished second in Pool B with three points behind another first-timers Suntory Sunbirds of Japan who had sealed their semi-final berth on Thursday after snatching a point during their 2-3 loss against Sada. They had defeated Halkbank 3-0 on the opening day of competition to finish with 4 points.

Halkbank’s only chance to make it to the last four stage depended on beating four-time champions Sada without conceding more than a set and the Turkish outfit started the match meaning business.

Nimir and Ngapeth were on target in the first three points but Sada kept pace with their opponents and were in lead for a major part of the opening set till Halkbank bagged three straight points to regain the advantage at 23-22.

Sada’s Cuban Outside Hitter Miguel Lopez kept them in the hunt with a quality spike but Dogukan Ulu came up with a drop to earn his team a second set point and Lopez sent his spike out to hand the advantage to Halkbank.

The Turkish side was clearly head and shoulders above their opponents in the second and third set as the trio of Nimir, Ngapeth and Perrin kept Sada on the backfoot with their powerful spikes and Ulu and setter Micah Ma’a came up with deceptive drops and some high-quality blocks to leave Sada stranded.

The Brazilians did throw everything at Halkbank in the third set and and saved five match points before a solid block from Perrin ended the error-ridden challenge of Sada.

The tournament will go on till 10th of December at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium in Bengaluru. Ahmedabad Defenders will find themselves in Pool A, facing the defending champions, Sir Sicoma Perugia from Italy, and Brazil’s Minas Tênis Clube (Itambé Minas). In Pool B, Halkbank Spor Kulübü from Turkey, Sada Cruzeiro Volei from Brazil, and Japan’s Suntory Sunbirds are grouped.


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