Trabzon, Turkey, March 13, 2016. On Sunday Turkey’s TRABZON Idman Ocagi added another chapter to their fairy tale in the 2016 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup – Women as the European Cup rookies qualified for the final stage of the competition after recording a 3-0 home victory (25-18, 26-24, 25-22) over 2014 gold medallists Zarechie ODINTSOVO of Russia. Last Wednesday TRABZON Idman Ocagi had claimed a sensational 3-2 away win in Odintsovo and on Sunday their supremacy was even more astounding, this shaping up a fairly surprising ‘grand finale’ with Romania’s C.S.M. BUCURESTI.
It should be noted that TRABZON Idman Ocagi got the right to compete in this year’s CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup only after winning the 2015 edition of the BVA Cup. Their fairy tale continued on Sunday as they caught a flying start of their re-match with Zarechie leading from start to end of the opening set (8-5, 16-8) this resulting in a compelling 25-18 win.
The second set was a dramatic and close race with TRABZON leading 8-7 at the first technical time-out but their Russian opponent put on a real fight, edging ahead by three points at the second mandatory break. After the actions resumed, TRABZON closed in and a closely-fought final section of the set eventually resulted in a 26-24 win for the home side as Sanja Malagurski (pictured, #3) stood out for TRABZON, well supported by Dilara Bilge.
Zarechie ODINTSOVO still had a chance to change the course of the game and reached the first technical time-out of the third set leading 8-7. The fight continued all the way through to the second mandatory break where this time around TRABZON edged ahead 16-15. As the local crowd never stopped cheering the home side on, the Turkish team eventually secured their victory at 25-22 to claim a spot in the final of the Challenge Cup and crown their first ever participation in the European Cups with a historic achievement.