Six teams will show up this year led by host club Volero Zurich who will be joined by the 2014 South America Women’s Club Championship winners SESI-SP, European Club Champions Dinamo Kazan and the winners of the Asia Club Championship, Japan’s Hisamitsu Springs and 2 more teams earning wild cards from the FIVB and local organizing Committee who are Brazil's Molico Osasco and 2014 African club champions GS Petroliers from Algeria.
Last year’s tournament saw VakifBank Istanbul winning the gold medals in front of a packed Saalsporthalle in Zurich after they beat Unilever Volei from Brazil in straight sets 3-0 (25-23, 27-25, 25-16) to capture their first ever FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship title.
The six teams will be divided into two preliminary pools of 3 with pool A featuring organizers Volero Zurich beside GS Petroliers and SESI- SP. Dinamo Kazan will battle it out in Pool B along with Hisamitsu Springs and Molico Osasco.
In the opening day Volero Zurich face SESI-SP (Pool A) at 17:30 local time (15:30 GMT) and Molico Osasco meet Hisamitsu Springs (Pool B) at 20:00 (18:00 GMT).
Molico Osasco could make history as the first team ever to win the prestigious FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship title twice when the start this tournament on Wednesday.
“Being crowned Club World Champions was definitely one of the greatest successes in my career,” said libero Camila Brait who travels to this year’s event full of optimism. “We know it will be tough, but we also believe in the potential of our team.” Brait and Adenizia Silva are the only players in the squad to have been involved on all three occasions the club has competed in the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship. With silver in 2010, bronze in 2011 and gold in 2012, the ladies have their sights set on adding a second gold to that collection.
Coach Luizomar de Moura was delighted to be invited to this competition. “I think we are drawn in a very hard pool with different kinds of play. I think a good equilibrium between offensive and defensive game will make the difference in this strong competition. It’s a big opportunity to crown a good season to an excellent one. Even though we lost the South American Cup Final and couldn’t reach the Brazilian Superfinal, there’s no pressure on our team.”
Molico Osasco will face two of these title-contenders in the preliminary pool. After the opening match against Hisamitsu Springs at on Wednesday (Volero Zurich will take on SESI-SP) one of the hot favourites to win the tournament awaits in the preliminary round, in the form of Dinamo Kazan. Spearheaded by the outstanding attacker Ekaterina Gamova, the Russian’s are also aiming to make history for never before has a team from the reigning World Champion nation won the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship.
The final of the European Champions League saw Kazan complete a commanding 3-0 victory over defending champions VakifBank Istanbul – the very team that had won the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship in Zurich the previous year.
“It’s the first time for our team to compete at a FIVB Club World Championship. We’ve already stayed two times in Zurich facing Volero Zurich during the CEV DenizBank Champions League. I think we are physically ready for this experience. The games will be very interesting as there are a lot of different playing styles.” Dinamo Kazan coach Rishat Gilyazutdinov said
The team, which is led by Gamova and USA’s Jordan Quinn Larson-Burbach, arrives at the championship in top form and is looking to become the eighth club to go down in the role of honour.
The FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship has had seven different winners from four different countries. Brazil has been represented on the winner’s podium three times, Turkey twice, while Azerbaijan and Italy have had clubs climb onto the top step of the podium once. Brazil – the Olympic champions – have two irons in the fire in Zurich with SESI-SP having just as good a chance of winning as Molico Osasco.
SESI-SP won 3-0 against Molico Osasco in the final of the South American championship in February. SESI-SP also triumphed en route to the final of the Brazilian championship, where they lost 3-1 to Unilever Volei. SESI-SP captain Fabiana Claudino still feels they have a good chance. “We have all worked very hard in recent months and are optimistic,” she said.
The same obviously goes for the hosts, who recently confirmed their status as the best Swiss women’s volleyball team, winning its ninth national title in 10 years. Volero Zurich is undefeated in 78 matches in Switzerland, with their last loss more than two years ago in January 2012 in Neuchâtel. The team came fourth at the 2013 FIVB Women’s Club World Championships. And with Mira Golubovic captaining a host of international stars it has its sights set on a podium win this time round.
“It was a tough season for us, but we are looking forward to this competition, as we get the possibility to show our real value by facing these strong teams. We want a place on the podium this year.” Volero Zurich coach Dragutin Baltic said.
GSP of ALgeria are new comers with a lot of motivations to show good perfromance and play in style.
“We want to take game after game and improve. The other teams play on a high level and can take advantage of their experience. However, we shouldn’t be afraid to play our game with confidence. I told my players that they shouldn't be afraid and they have to entertain the games. I have no Idea about the opponent teams but fortunately we will be in a rest during the first day and we can follow the teams of our pool on that day.” G. S. Pétroliers coach Salim Achouri commented.
photos Janos Schmidt
photos Janos Schmidt