Kraljevo, Serbia, May 29, 2018 – Meryem Boz was on fire in Turkey’s sixth win since the start of the inaugural 2018 FIVB Volleyball Nations League. Thanks to her prolific contribution, her team mastered a 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 26-24) shutout of Belgium to open the three-day tournament in the Serbian town of Kraljevo.
Boz was by far the best scorer of the match, stringing up as many as 26 points on her tally. She made 22 of those in attack, adding three stuff blocks and one ace.
Setter Cansu Ozbay had a lot to do with the successful spiking not only of Boz, but of the entire Turkish offensive line and, in particular, the two middle blockers - captain Eda Erdem Dundar (10 points) and Zehra Gunes (9 points).
On Belgium’s side, Marlies Janssens (four aces) and Kaja Grobelna reached the double digits, scoring 11 and 10 points, respectively.
In the first two sets, Turkey were the dominant force on the court. Partially neutralising Boz in the third, coach Gert Vande Broek’s squad managed to stay in contention throughout the third set, but Giovanni Guidetti’s women persevered through the conclusive moments to finish it off with a straight-set victory.
Some great setting by Turkey’s Cansu Ozbay kept Meryem Boz busy in the first set. Also chipping in to the strong offensive efforts of their team were middle players Eda Erdem Dundar and Zehra Gunes, who added solidly to Boz’s eight points on the way to a 25-19 win. After the 27.1-second-long mega rally, with great defence on both sides, which Boz finished off to tie the score at 7-7, Turkey started piling up an advantage, which the Belgians could never recover from.
In the second set, Boz was absolutely on fire. To her prolific spiking, she added a couple of kill blocks and led her squad to a wiping lead, despite some good all-round efforts by sub-in Marlies Janssens on the other side of the net. A hit through the middle by Gunes closed the set at a convincing 25-18.
The Belgian defence managed to stop Boz’s scoring for the most part of the third set, making it the most competitive of the three. With Janssens scoring three times directly from the serving line, her side gained a 13-9 lead. A mini comeback for Turkey finished with a very long rally, in which Seyma Ercan finally delivered with a pipe shot to narrow the gap down to 13-12. Once Janssens was back at the net, Belgium were able to retake their lead – 20-17. A great block by Boz marked Turkey’s 18th point and set her off on a rampage through the end of the set. Her powerful attacks provided four more points to bring Turkey to first match point at 24-23. On their second one, Boz elegantly placed the ball on the Belgian floor for a 26-24 win.