Olympiacos Stun Turks to Become European Champions
CEV CHALLENGE CUP WOMEN- FINALS (LEG 2)
|Bursa W||1 - 3||Olympiakos Piraeus W|
|(25 - 23)
(20 - 25)
(18 - 25)
(16 - 25)
(13 - 15)
After losing a heartbreaking first leg at home, Olympiacos’ women’s volleyball team silenced a raucous Turkish crowd and won the first European trophy in Greek women’s volleyball history.
Olympiacos would have to do the unthinkable, after a 2-3 loss in the home leg. They would have to defeat Bursa in Turkey either 3-0 or 3-1, or win 3-2 and then win the subsequent “golden set.” It must be noted that these two teams faced off in last year’s final, with Olympiacos winning 3-2 at home before losing 0-3 in the away leg, which gave Bursa the title.
Things seemed to be going from bad to worse for Olympiacos, as Bursa drew first blood. The hosts went up 16-10 in the first set, and despite a small comeback from Olympiacos, it would be the Turks who held on to take the first set 25-23. This would mean that Olympiacos would have to either win the next three sets in a row, or win three of the next four sets and then win the golden set as well. With the Turks carrying the momentum and having a loud, nationalistic crowd on their side, things were not looking good for the Erythrolefkes.
The second set was closely contested and looked like it would come down to the wire. However, Olympiacos would win three consecutive points at 20-22 to win the set 20-25 and keep their hopes alive. The Erythrolefkes were then able to carry this momentum into the third set, which they never looked like losing, as they comfortably took it by a score of 18-25. This meant that they were remarkably just one set away from winning the CEV Women’s Challenge Cup.
Olympiacos started the fourth set playing as well as they did in the previous two sets, going up 1-4 early on. Bursa would respond though, as they reignited the crowd by going up 8-7. Olympiacos would stay strong and fetch a narrow 14-16 lead, battling both the opposing team and the fervent Turkish crowd. The Erythrolefkes would dominate from there on, winning nine of the last 11 points to take the set 16-25 and become European champions with this 3-1 away win. It was an ace from captain Stella Christodoulou that sealed the victory for Olympiacos.
Not only is this the first ever European trophy for Olympiacos’ women’s volleyball team, but it is also the first for any Greek club in women’s volleyball. It is also the first European title any Greek volleyball team since Olympiacos’ men’s team won the CEV Top Teams Cup in 2005. Olympiacos will hope to win two European volleyball trophies in one day, as the men’s team will take on Bunge Ravenna tonight in the final of the CEV Challenge Cup.