Turkey open Women’s U23 worlds campaign with hard-fought win over Cuba


Turkey celebrate win over Cuba in straight sets at the 2017 FIVB Women's U23 World Championship in Ljubljana.

Ljubljana, Slovenia, September 10, 2017 – 2015 runner-up Turkey proved too strong for Cuba in their Pool B opening clash at 2017 FIVB Women’s U23 World Championship here in Ljubljana. The Europeans defeated their challengers from Cuba in a hard-fought duel 15-12, 16-14, 17-15, 15-8.

Hande Baladin paced the Turks with eleven points via ten kills on 18 swings and one block. Asli Kalac added eight points for the Turkish side. Cuba was led by Heidy Casanova and her nine points followed by Claudia Sanchez’s eight kills. The young Turks out-spiked Cuba 34-22.

All matches in Ljubljana are played under a new scoring system currently being tested: a best-of-seven, 15-point set format.

The Europeans controlled the start of the opening set as they bolted to a 7-4 and 11-7 advantage with setter and captain Cagla Akin offering her spikers many first-rate scoring opportunities. Cuba fought back bravely to shorten the gap to one point at 12-13 but could not pull through (12-15).

Hande Baladin, who was Turkey’s best scorer back in 2015 and third-best overall spiker at 2015 FIVB Women’s U23 World Champs, set the pace in the second set. The Cubans showed great resistance at the net but struggled mainly with passing. Two huge block kills paved the way for a hard-fought 2-0 lead for Turkey.

Claudia Sanchez of Cuba attacks against the block of Turkey's Asli Kalac and Nursevil Aydinlar Sunday in Ljubljana.

Even though Cuba showed strong resistance in the third (17-15) and fourth set (15-8), the favourites from Europe kept the upper hand. Baladin closed it out for the Turks with a mighty attack. It was her 11th point tonight.

Quick links - Volleyball:
FIVB Volleyball Women's U23 World Championship 2017
FIVB Volleyball Women's U23 World Championship 2017 - Schedule
FIVB Volleyball Women's U23 World Championship 2017 - Teams - Volleyball
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