Doha, Qatar, December 21, 2010 – Fenerbahce were on top of the world on Tuesday afternoon after beating South American titleholders Sollys Osasco 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-17) to become the first team in 16 years to claim the 2010 FIVB Women's Club World Championship.
The FIVB reintroduced the Women's Club World Championship this year after a long break since the last edition in 1994 in Sao Paulo, and with their victory, Fenerbahce have become the second European team in history to win the title after the Italians of Messaggero Ravenna in 1992. The Turkish side achieved the feat in some style, not losing a single set over the course of the competition.
Although this contest followed Fenerbahce's preferred template of straight sets, the Turkish side did not simply cruise to the crown and some of the action on court was superb. Once again Fenerbahce's prolific Katarzyna Skowronska finished as the game's top scorer with 15 points, supported by Liubov Sokolova with 14.
Fenerbahce came into the final as favourites not least for the fact they had outclassed the South Americans in the prelims. However, after defeating Bergamo in Monday's semifinal, Osasco captain Carolina had called on her side to produce a similar performance with the cup at stake. The Al-Gharafa sports hall was packed with around 2,000 fans who had arrived from Istanbul to support their favourites in the quest for a first major international trophy after their runners-up slot in the last edition of the CEV Champions League. With their yellow-blue flags, loud chanting and the regular refrain of "Türkiye", they brought the kind of ambience that a major final merits.
Fenerbahce's 40-year old setter Fofao – playing against many former colleagues from the Brazil national team – immediately set the pace of the game at 8-5 but Osasco drew even at 13-all, profiting from some errors by the Turkish receivers. This state of equality did not last for long, however, as Fenerbahce grabbed a four-point mini-break and this would prove the deciding factor in the first set. A long, spectacular rally featuring some excellent defensive work was finished with a pipe by Skowronska for 22-17 and although Osasco showed the resilience to claw back and reduce the gap to just one point at 24-23, Skowronska struck again, finding the right tempo and power to kill a splendid attack and pocket the first set.
Osasco were not ready to give up. They went up 8-4 at the first technical break in the third set after an attack from Jaqueline, which, though initially considered out by the first referee, was assigned to the Brazilians after a consultation with second referee Susana Rodriguez. Without making a substitution, though, Fenerbahce coach Ze Roberto was able to restore his side's control. They impressed with their consistency in attack from every area of the court and after holding a 16-13 advantage at the second technical time-out, Fenerbahce rapidly went on to record the biggest success in the history of Turkish Volleyball, clinching the set 25-17 and with it, the title.
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS