Ebrar Karakurt Turkiye Volleyball Nations League 2024-min

Karakurt scored 19 points for Türkiye against the United States

The highly-anticipated Volleyball Nations League 2024 duel between defending champions Türkiye and Olympic champions the United States didn’t disappoint as the Europeans needed five sets to top the Americans in front of their home fans on Sunday, the last day of matches in Arlington.

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There was a lot of back and forth between two of the best women’s national teams in international volleyball until the Turkish prevailed in the tie-breaker, producing a 3-2 (21-25, 25-20, 25-21, 12-25, 15-12) victory to complete their schedule in Texas undefeated with four victories.

Melissa Vargas and Ebrar Karakurt delivered the scoring production Turkish fans expect from them, with the two combining for 46 points in the match. The MVP of last year’s VNL, Vargas had a match-high 27 points (23 kills, two blocks, two aces), with Karakurt contributing another 19 (17 kills, two blocks).

“It was a really tough match for us,” Turkish captain Eda Erdem, who scored 12 points, said. “USA is a great team and they’re real fighters. In the tie-breaker, we stepped up and showed our character as a team. Our goal here was to finish this week with four wins and I’m glad we did it. My teammates were amazing this week. We had injuries and it’s a long tournament, but we’re trying to do our best and find our rhythm. I think we’re on the right path.”

The American offense had opposite Jordan Thompson, with 16 points (13 kills, three blocks), outside hitter Jordan Larson, with 14 (12 kills, two aces), and middle blocker Dana Rettke, with 13 (ten kills, three blocks), as its main producers.

“I think we were trying to take big swings and it’s a game of inches,” setter Jordyn Poulter reflected. “We missed by inches. But this week we saw we have people who can come off the bench and win games for us. During the entire VNL, we’ve been looking to get better. Today we didn’t get the result we wanted, but we got better.”

Their sixth victory in eight VNL 2024 matches has Türkiye in fifth place with 18 points – the USA are eighth with four victories and 13 points.

Perhaps more importantly, the result awarded the Turkish 2.97 FIVB World Ranking points, keeping them at the top of list with 388.69 – they would have been passed by Brazil had they lost. The USA are fifth with 346.78.

Canada sweep Korea and put pressure on the Netherlands

In the first match of the day in Arlington, Canada secured an important victory to keep their Olympic aspirations alive, beating Korea 3-0 (25-15, 25-12, 25-18) to secure their fifth win in eight VNL 2024 matches.

Even though the 1.85 World Ranking points they earned with the result weren’t enough to push them above the Netherlands (290.95), who currently hold the last spot inside the qualification zone, it got them to 288.74, keeping the distance between the two national teams at just over two points ahead of the last week of the VNL Preliminary Phase.

Two of Canada’s top players, opposite Kiera Van Ryk and outside hitter Alexa Gray led the team’s offense with 13 points apiece. Outside hitter Jeong Jiyun and middle blocker Lee Juah each produced six points for Korea.

Volleyball Nations League 2024: schedule and results

Bulgaria and Germany will feature in the last VNL 2024 match in Arlington, which is set to start at 18:30 local time (23:30 GMT).

In the final week of the VNL Preliminary Phase, from June 11-16, eight national teams will be in action in Hong Kong – hosts China, Brazil, Bulgaria, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Poland, Thailand and Türkiye – and another eight in Fukuoka – hosts Japan, Canada, France, Italy, Korea, the Netherlands, Serbia and USA.

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