Zehra Gunes spikes for Turkey against Bulgaria on Tuesday
Sapporo, Japan, October 2, 2018 – Turkey got the better of an inconsistent Bulgaria 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 25-12) on the third day of action in the FIVB Women’s World Championship at Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center on Tuesday.
Meryem Boz led Turkey with 17 points and she was supported well by her captain Eda Erdem Dundar with 13. Seyma Ercan added 10, including four blocks. Nasya Dimitrova was the only Bulgarian player to reach double figures with 10 points.
The two teams had only played together once before in the World Championship, in 2014 when Bulgaria won 3-2, but Bulgaria have beaten Turkey five out of six times in the European Championship.
Turkey, who lost to China in their last match, are now 2-1, while Bulgaria dropped to 1-2.
Turkey were ahead pretty quickly in the first set but struggled to end it. Bulgaria coach Ivan Petkov had to call a timeout when his players went down 10-5 but despite the efforts of Gergana Dimitrova, Turkey continued to dominate. After a thumping drive and a service ace by Seyma Ercan and a block on Nasya Dimitrova made the score 14-7, Petkov called another timeout. Bulgaria failed to get the ball back on the next point and Meryem Boz followed up with a very slickly placed shot across the net. Turkey found themselves nine points ahead at the second technical timeout. Captain Eda Erdem Dundar made a couple of huge hits as Turkey cruised toward the end of the set, earning themselves 12 setpoints. But the cruise came to a halt as Bulgaria dug in, blocking three shots and getting two more from Gergana Dimitrova, forcing Turkey coach Giovanni Guidetti to call a timeout at 24-17. Zehra Gunes finished off the set for Turkey, but Bulgaria had given them a warning.
And Bulgaria showed they meant business from the start of the second set, not only matching Turkey but taking the game away from them. It was all square to 9-9 when Bulgaria edged a point ahead and Nasya Dimitrova fired down an ace. Turkey got rattled and failed to get the ball back on the next two points, forcing Guidetti to call a timeout. They were still struggling (12-16) at the second TTO but they clawed their way back to 15-16 thanks to a brilliant dig by Dundar that helped set up a block by Gunes on Miroslava Paskova. After Petkov called a timeout, Bulgaria fought their way into a four-point lead at 19-15, Turkey this time looking uneasy. Guidetti called a timeout and Turkey dug in, drawing level at 21-21. At 23-23, Gergana Dimitrova send a crosscourt shot wide and substitute Ebrar Karakurt – who had an impressive performance against China as a sub – came up with a brilliant block on Gergana Dimitrova to put Turkey 2-0 up.
“We were struggling,” Guidetti admitted afterward. “Karakurt made a very important block.”
Bulgaria blew a lead again at the start of the third set. They looked to be doing nicely at 3-0 and seemed to be 4-0 up after Meliha Ismailoglu sent a shot long. But Turkey challenged the call as it had touched a Bulgarian player and the score went to 3-1. Bulgaria blinked and three straight errors saw Turkey take a 4-3 lead, forcing Petkov to haul his players off court. At 3-6, Bulgaria responded with a spike and a block by Hristina Ruseva and Gergana Dimitrova made it 6-6. Dundar then turned up the heat again as she led her team to a 13-7 lead, forcing another Bulgarian timeout. But as Turkey grew stronger, Bulgaria couldn’t keep up. Boz made it 23-12 and then setpoint with two hot shots, and a brilliant block by Dundar on Mariya Karakasheva ended the match.