Xuancheng, China, July 3, 2016 - Turkey saw off Slovakia in an epic five-set match - 3-2 (25-13, 16-25, 21-25, 25-22, 15-10) in their last Preliminary Round Pool H2 game in FIVB Volleyball World League 2016 on Sunday. Having already secured a ticket to the Group 2 finals, Turkey gave some of their main players some rest, giving a chance to a younger squad to shine.
Turkey's Mustafa Koc and Gokhan Gokgoz scored 16 points and 15 points, respectively, to contribute to Turkey’s win. Slovakia’s Peter Mlynarcik topped the scorers’ chart with 19 points.
This victory brings Turkey’s head-to-head World League record with Slovakia to 3-0.
Facing a tough opponent, Slovakia refused to admit inferiority, but did not prevent Turkey from leading by 8-6 at the first technical time-out of the opening set. Following up with a hot pursuit, Turkey collected several consecutive points to race off to 16-10 at the second technical time-out. Slovakia made a number of substitutions at this point, but Turkey stayed in control and finished the set off at 25-13.
In the second set the rhythm of the match went in favour of Slovakia. They put on a strong performance in defense to lead by 12-7, improving to 16-9 at the second technical time-out. Turkey never seemed to refocus on this set and Slovakia took advantage of Turkey’s unforced errors. Turkey pressed at the end of the set, but some strong blocking put them off balance and Slovakia took the set at 25-16.
Impressive spiking performances from Serhat Coskun earned Turkey an 8-7 score at the beginning of the third set. However, Slovakia went out to a 16-14 lead at the second technical time-out and continued to control the frame with tough serving and precision in offense. Turkey managed to save the first set point, but an error gave Slovakia a 25-21 win.
Set 4 was a very tight affair as both teams worked hard for every point. The teams traded points and the lead as the set progressed with ties each point from 8 through 12. Slovakia opened up a close lead at 14-12 with imposing Stefan Chrtiansky displaying excellent skill range and ball control. However, Turkey did not give up the chase and leveled up from 19 through 21. It was Turkey that eventually closed the set at 25-22.
At the beginning of a thrilling fifth set, Turkey regained their confidence and led by 4-2. Slovakia lost their focus making a series attacking errors, suffering a 6-10 disadvantage. Turkey pulled away and won the set by 15-10 and the match by 3-2.