Number 14 in the FIVB World Ranking Türkiye raised as many as 17 kill blocks during the four sets of a 3-1 (25-22, 20-25, 25-14, 25-20) victory over number nine Serbia. Compared to the opponents’ nine stuffs, this element proved key to the team’s success. The two main Turkish middle blockers authored 11 stuffs combined. Mert Matic produced six towards a 12-point tally, while Bedirhan Bulbul put away another five to finish with a total of 14 points. A third middle, Faik Gunes, who came in as a substitution, put up a successful block to deliver the match winner. Another five kill blocks came from the Lagumdzija brothers. Opposite Adis scored three blocking points towards a match-high 19 points, while outside hitter Mirza added another two to sign off with a total of 12 points.
While the Turks also made fewer errors (21 against 27) and did slightly better in attack (48-47 in kills), Serbia served four aces against three for the winners. Outside hitter Miran Kujundzic was their leading scorer with 17 points, including one ace. Star opposite Aleksandar Atanasijevic added another 13, also including one ace. Except for the second set, when Serbia had control from start to finish, each of the other three sets offered more suspense, with changes in the lead, before the Turks took the upper hand in the end.
“We are really happy to open the tournament with a win against Serbia today,” Adis Lagumdzija told Volleyball World. “As we know, they are a high-quality team and won many championships over the years, so this win is a big step up for us, the men’s volleyball team of Türkiye.”