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2019 Review: Imoco break Turkish domination at Women’s Club Worlds

 

Paola Egonu in action for Imoco Volley Conegliano at Shaoxing 2019

Lausanne, Switzerland, December 31, 2019 – Imoco Volley Conegliano triumphed with the trophy in their maiden FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship appearance and became the first Italian team to claim the title since 1992, when Il Messaggero Ravenna claimed the only previous Italian victory in the competition.

By taking a 3-1 (22-25, 25-14, 25-19, 25-21) win over Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul in the final, Imoco broke the domination of Turkish clubs, who had won all of the previous four editions and a total of six of the nine Club World Championships in the new history of the competition since it returned in 2010.


Imoco finished the tournament in Shaoxing, China the same way they started it, with a four-set victory over 2015 and 2016 world champs Eczacibasi. In Pool A, the team from Conegliano also defeated hosts Guangdong Evergrande Guangzhou in straight sets and South American club champions Itambe Minas Belo Horizonte of Brazil after a dramatically extended 28-26 tie-breaker.

The other Italian team at the tournament, European club champs Igor Gorgonzola Novara, topped Pool B after nail-biting five-set wins over Asian club champions Tianjin Bohai Bank of China and reigning 2017 and 2018 club world champs VakifBank Istanbul of Turkey, capped with a shutout of Brazil’s Dentil/Praia Clube Uberlandia.


The fierce Turkish-Italian battles continued into the semifinals, where Imoco persevered through another overtime tie-breaker (23-21) to dethrone VakifBank in five sets, while Eczacibasi prevented an all-Italian final with a 3-2 win over Igor Gorgonzola. VakifBank secured a podium spot with a straight-set victory over the squad from Novara in the bronze medal match. Earlier on the last competition day at Shaoxing 2019, Minas came back from a set down twice in the fifth place game with compatriots Dentil/Praia to win the decider, while hosts Evergrande claimed the seventh position in the final standings after winning the all-Chinese clash with Bohai Bank by 3-0.

In the big final, Paola Egonu hammered out 33 points in Imoco’s victory to outscore Eczacibasi’s star Tijana Boskovic, who finished with 24.

Egonu scored a total of 119 points, second only to VakifBank’s Isabelle Haak. On a 56.02% success rate, she became the best attacker of the Club Word Championship and was honoured with a well-deserved recognition as the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

The championship’s top scorer, Haak, accumulated a total of 122 points and was named opposite of the Dream Team, across from Imoco’s setter Joanna Wolosz. The line-up of the tournament's Dream Team was completed by outside hitters Kim Yeon-koung of Eczacibasi and Kimberly Hill of Imoco, middle blockers Zehra Gunes of VakifBank and Robin De Kruijf of Imoco and libero Simge Sebnem Akoz of Eczacibasi.

The MVP and the Dream Team of the 2019 FIVB Women’s Club Word Championship

“What a World Championship! It was an amazing tournament!” exclaimed Joanna Wolosz, the Polish captain of the new title-holders. “This is our first World Championship and we are very happy. It was our dream to win this championship and I think we deserve this. I am so proud of our team because throughout the tournament we played with 14 players on the court and showed that we are a great team.”

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