Osaka, Japan, October 11, 2018 - Turkey ended their World Championship campaign with a winning record after beating Thailand 3-1 in Pool F at Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium on Thursday afternoon. The Turks lost the first set before recovering to win 22-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-20 and close the tournament with a 5-4 win-loss record. Thailand could not add to their three victories from the first round in Kobe and ended at 3-6.
Meryem Boz led the Turkish attack with 24 points including 19 spikes and both Zehra Gunes and captain Eda Erdem scored 16, each with five blocks in Turkey's total 17 team block points.
Thailand had four players in double figures led by Sittirak Onuma with 16, including two service aces.
Coming into this match, Thailand had been involved in four tiebreak games in the first and second rounds, beating Korea but losing to Russia, USA and to Bulgaria the previous day. The tireless Thais did not look overly concerned, however, as they led 16-13 at the second TTO thanks to three early service aces and some trademark blows from leading scorer Sittirak Onuma out wide, captain Pleumjit Thinkaow at the net and middle blocker Thatdao Nuekjang in all aspects of play.
Turkey responded with some solid blocking on the Thai wing spikers and attack points from the outstanding Meliha Ismailoglu, captain Eda Erdem and Zehra Gunes down the middle. Turkey called a TO when trailing 22-17 and they faced three set points when Onuma struck for 24-21. The same player finished it 25-22 - Onuma's 10th point of the first set.
In the second set, Meryem Boz and Erdem helped Turkey establish a six-point lead at the first TTO, 8-2, but when a Wilavan-inspired Thailand reduced the deficit to just two points at 11-9 the Turks were forced to call a TO. Thatdao took up the challenge and setter Pornpun Guedpard scored with a well-disguised flick into space to keep the Thais in it, before Erdem fired Turkey into the second TTO ahead 16-13.
Turkey accelerated at exactly the right time through Gunes, Baladin and Boz and they took the second set 25-20 for 1-1.
Turkey maintained this momentum into the third set and Boz blasted them into a three-point lead at the first TTO, 8-5. Erdem spiked impressively and, when she blocked Wilavan for 10-7, Thailand needed a TO. As the set progressed, the Thais walked into the Turkish block and needed a TO trailing 18-16.
The two captains, Erdem and Pleumjit, were having an intense battle at the net and the sensational defence of Thailand led to some dizzying rallies that thrilled the crowd. Turkey's coach, Giovanni Guidetti, was delighted with Ebrar Karakurt when she made an immediate impact towards the end of the set before Turkey won it 25-22 to lead 2-1.
Turkey had registered 14 block points over the first three sets and added to this tally in the fourth through setter Cansu Ozbay and Gunes, who also spiked powerfully down the centre as Turkey tried to build up a cushion. Seyma Ercan extended the lead to 13-9 and sent Thailand into a TO. With aces from Gunes and Boz, the Turks were primed for a final push leading 16-10 at the second TTO.
The Turks were defending much better against the Thai attacks and their own spikes were finding a way through on a more consistent basis. Despite the never-say-die attitude of Wilavan and her teammates, a Boz-powered Turkey closed the set 25-20 to win 3-1.