At the CEV Women’s European Volleyball Championship 2023, Turkey achieved a historic win over Serbia in a nail-biting contest to become the EuroVolley 2023 champions with a final score of 3-2. This also marked their inaugural title victory in the history of the Women’s European Volleyball Championship. Making her debut in the top-level European event, Melissa Vargas of Turkey put on an unforgettable performance as she scored a sensational 41 points. She played a decisive role as her team claimed the women’s EuroVolley 2023 trophy. Both Serbia and Turkey came into the EuroVolley 2023 final match, having maintained an eight-game winning streak.
What happened in the gold medal match?
Right before the final contest, a majority of the attention was focused on the two volleyball stars Tijana Bošković from Serbia and Turkey’s Melissa Vargas. Vargas immediately stood out with her fierce attacks in the first set, but Serbia remained composed and took the initial set 27-25. However, Turkey soon found their rhythm. Owing much of their resurgence to Vargas, along with key contributions from Ebrar Karakurt and Zehra Güneş, Turkey started to change the momentum in their favor. They showcased better efficiency, executed more aces and spikes, and made fewer errors than Serbia. This led Turkey to clinch the second set by 25:21.
From that point, the pressure started building. Vargas’ debut in the CEV EuroVolley Women’s tournament had become a pivotal moment for her and the Turkish team. Being the second-highest scorer in the tournament, right behind Bošković, Vargas demonstrated extraordinary skills as her unstoppable serves and powerful attacks were vital in helping Turkey secure the fourth set by 25-22.
The final tiebreaker set was only the fourth in CEV EuroVolley Women’s history to go to a fifth set since 1987. This time, Turkey was better prepared, especially on the defensive end. A crucial moment in the tiebreaker came at a 10-8 lead for Turkey. It was Vargas who delivered and sealed an important point and later scored the winning point for a 15-13 tiebreaker win at the EuroVolley 2023. This victory was a crucial one for them because Turkey had lost two earlier finals against Serbia, one in 2003 and another in 2019.
Who were the best performers in the final?
In addition to Vargas’ 41 points, Bošković had an excellent game, finishing with 37 points. With this, Turkey’s dream run continued as they bagged their second major tournament title this summer, previously earning the FIVB Women’s Volleyball Nations League 2023 in July of this year. Although Serbia didn’t take home the gold, they secured their sixth medal in the European competition and their fifth in a row, with a total of three gold, three silver, and two bronze medals.
Earlier that Sunday, the Netherlands captured a surprising bronze medal. In a hard-fought match against Italy at the Palais 12 in Brussels, the Dutch team prevailed in straight sets by 3-0 (25-23, 28-26, 25-20). The last edition’s champion Italy’s campaign ended in the competition as they missed out on a medal. Before losing in the semi-final and bronze medal match, Italy had a 17-match winning streak.
More on Volleyball-
1. Men’s European Volleyball Championship Stats: List of past winners
2. FIVB Volleyball Girls’ U19 World Championship stats: List of all winners
3. Men’s European Volleyball Championship Stats: Nations that have dominated the event