Golden night in Busto Arsizio, the Yamamay team wins the cup.
Exceptional recovery by the “butterflies”, who in front of 5000 spectators, snatched the CEV cup from Galatasaray, by overturning the 1-3 result of the first match, then playing a golden set. Havlickova was the best on the field, Dall’Ora blocked superbly.
There was a golden set to play, a lot of frightening Turks, and in the last hour, Havlickova also defected. Nobody would have expected it, but this was how one of the best matches ever for the Yamamay team began, with an electric, threatening atmosphere. The red and white butterflies won on all fronts, they squashed Galatasaray, overturning the 1-3 result of the first leg. They dominated the deciding game, from beginning to end, and won the CEV Cup, which they had already won in 2010. This is the second trophy of the season, and is maybe even better than the Italia Cup, because they won it under emergency conditions, with a defeat from which they had to fight back. But there was something in common with the final in Modena, and not only the end dance, but also the fantastic performance by the team from Busto Arsizio, who put together an astounding performance, only slightly “sullied” by a third set, which was lost at the very end. Overall, 47% was on the attack, with Havlickova and Meijners unstoppable; just 13 mistakes in 5 sets, 15 blocks, 6 aces, and 58% perfect fielding. And then everything that the numbers do not say: Marcon and Leonardi were superlative in defence, Lloyd brilliantly captained the team. Dall’Ora never wavered in front of the menacing Calderon, and, incredibly, the absence of Helena was not felt. Yamamay celebrated, and rightly so, also with the 5000 supporters, who silenced (with sportsmanship) the roar of the red and yellows of Istanbul. And now, this victory has enabled an Italian team (either male or female) to put in their showcase at least one European cup for the 30th consecutive year. And this success may be repaid by that three-coloured triangle, that can be glimpsed on the horizon.
THE BACKGROUND – The show began already outside the PalaYamamay Stadium, with dozens of Turkish supporters arriving, singing and playing (under the eyes of the forces of law and order). The first group of supporters was already there at 7.15 p.m., and another bus arrived 30 minutes before the beginning of the match. On the field, Nesic and the Galatasaray staff were improvising a combination with the Mikasa ball. The Busto Arsizio team replied with a choreographed move that recalled all their matches in the CEV Cup (against the teams of Cannet, Baku, Bielsko-Biala, Schwerin and Urbino), until the inevitable conclusion. “We are the real red and white arrow! Come on girls, there’s no end.” Italian flags began to appear, hear and there, and also a banner: “We believe in you!”
THE MATCH – It was a very bitter opening of the evening for Helena Havelkova, who received from Carlo Gobbi the “Gazzetta” Trophy, for the best player of the championship, but who could not honour it on the court; the last medical checks were negative, and the captain did not even warm-up. And so, Parisi had to play the same team as for the previous matches, with Meijners playing spike; Galatasaray also played the team they had played for the first match.
The Turks started extremely strongly, with Hanikoglu putting the Busto Arsizio fielders in difficulty, and preparing Eric to score the first 4 points. Parisi immediately called a time out. Meijners’s first attack woke up Yamamay, who levelled at 5-5, with a great block by Dall’Ora, against Calderon. Meijners served, achieving the break of 10-7, which ended with an incredible shot by Lloyd; this time, it was Nesic who stopped play, but Busto did not stop, and flew to 13-7, with another two blocks by Dall’Ora. Calderon was nowhere, the ace by Havlickova brought the score to 16-9, and the umpteenth block on the Cuban, to 20-13. Havlickova came back, with 23-17, and then closed on 25-19; the comeback had begun.
The approach seemed the same, also in the second set, drawing at 4-4, then Yamamay scored 4-0, with an attack and block by Marcon. Eric also made a mistake, and Bauer and Lloyd made another astonishing break: 13-5. Ilyasoglu and Denkel came on for Galatasaray, but it was no longer possible to make up the difference (17-8); Yamamay extended, with Dall’Ora and Meijners (21-10), and easily closed with a block by Lloyd.
Nasic called her girls, and in the third set had to call a time out after only 2 points. Galatasaray continued to field poorly, suffering 7-4 (a mistake by Miletic) and then 8-5 by Marcon, but managed to stay on track, and on the usual serve by Hinikoglu, scored a 0-7 break (three blocks in a row), reaching 11-15. Having lost their rhythm, Yamamay caught up again (15-15), and went on to 18-17, thanks to Meijners. The Turks tried to overtake again (18-20) and reached 21-23, with Ilyasoglu, after a sudden replay by Lloyd (the ball was outside). Bauer and an error by Calderon restored the even scores; however, the Cuban scored set point, and then 23-25, which reopened the match.
At the start of the fourth set, the "butterflies" were back to churn out the points with Havlickova and Meijners, who was decisive also in the serve for 8-3. Aneta scored two aces, for 13-5, but an oversight by the referee and the good contribution by Denkel (two blocks and a winning support) enabled Galatasaray to get to 15-14. The draw came at 17-17, with a mistake by Marcon, but Bauer kept Yamamay ahead (19-18, 20-21), and in the thick of it, Calderon made a mistake, which led to 22-20. Havlickova did not wait to be asked twice, and smashed to 24-21, Miletic defeated two set points, but Meijners scored the third, which led to the golden set. And so, the game started all over again.
THE GOLDEN SET – At the PalaYamamay Stadium, the tension was sky high, everything depended on the tiebreak. Leonardi immediately made a great play in defence, Bauer attacked and blocked, for 4-0. Another block, this time by Dall’Ora, brought the score to 6-2, and Havlickova completed the play, with an 8-3 counterattack: so far, there was only one team on the court. Hanikoglu substituted for Miletic, but Meijners was devastating, for 10-4, and Havlickova attacked against the hands of Calderon (11-6). The Cuban also wasted her last chance shooting the ball into the net with the serve at 12-7, Marcon punished her and Bauer scored six match points: Denkel defeated the first; on the second, Bauer aimed at the hands of the block and the ball was sent flying. And so, the Cup (photo: G. Cottini/Sportlight) was red and white.
Yamamay Busto Arsizio – Galatasaray Istanbul 3-1 (25-19, 25-13, 23-25, 25-23) 15-9 in the Golden Set
Busto A.: Lloyd 4, Havlickova 25, Dall’Ora 10, Leonardi (L), Marcon 12, Bauer 14, Meijners 21, Lotti 1, Caracuta, Havelkova, Pisani, Bisconti. Trainer. Parisi.
Galatasaray: Eric 16, Miletic 12, Bilgi (L), Cayirgan (L) ne, Hanikoglu 8, Ozek, Cetinsarac, Alikaya, Calderon 23, Ilyasoglu 8, Lo Bianco 3, Denkel 6. Trainer. Nesic.
Referees: Martin Hudik (Czech Republic) and Juan Pont (Andorra).
Notes: Spectators 5000. Busto: 6 winning serves, unsuccessful serves 5, attacks 47%, fielding 70%-58%, blocks 15, mistakes 13. Galatasaray: 5 winning serves, unsuccessful serves 9, attacks 41%, fielding 51% -27%, blocks 11, 26 mistakes.