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How Turkish women ruled volleyball in 2023

Türkiye crowned champions in FIVB Nations League and CEV EuroVolley along with Paris 2024 Olympic qualification, top world ranking.ANKARA Coached by Italy's Daniele Santarelli, Türkiye were influential to be crowned champions in the FIVB Nations League and CEV EuroVolley, qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympics and also topped the world rankings for the first time in history.Called the “Sultans of the Net,” Türkiye recently won the Olympic Qualifying Tournament on Sept. 24 after having a 7-0 win/loss record in Pool B.

Türkiye was the first volleyball team to qualify for Paris 2024 after host nation France.In Pool B, a Melissa Vargas-led Türkiye respectively beat Puerto Rico 3-0, Bulgaria 3-0, Peru 3-1, Argentina 3-1, Brazil 3-0, hosts Japan 3-1 and Belgium 3-0 in Tokyo between Sept. 16 and 24.Following the win over Japan, Türkiye on Saturday booked their place at the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics.Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Serbia, the US and Poland joined Türkiye for next summer's Olympic Games.The Sultans of the Net took 22 wins in a row; six in the Nations League, nine in EuroVolley and seven in the Paris 2024 qualifiers.

Paris 2024 will be held between July 26 and Aug. 11.

Türkiye have one of the best generations in women's volleyball as Vargas (Fenerbahce Opet), Ebrar Karakurt (Lokomotiv Kaliningrad), captain Eda Erdem (Fenerbahce Opet), Zehra Gunes (Vakifbank), Gizem Orge (Fenerbahce Opet) and Hande Baladin (Eczacibasi Dynavit) are the main pillars of the national team.

Top world ranking for first time

Following their first ever victory in the Nations League, Türkiye claimed the world's top spot for the first time in history, surpassing the US.Santarelli's team ranked seventh in the world before the 2023 Nations League held between May 30 and July 16.Türkiye beat South Korea 3-0, Serbia 3-1 and Italy 3-0 but lost to the US 3-2 in week one held in the Turkish Mediterranean province of Antalya.The Turkish team won against the Netherlands 3-0, Canada 3-0 and the Dominican Republic 3-1 in week two in Hong Kong. Only Poland beat Türkiye 3-0 in this week.Türkiye started week three with a 3-2 loss to Japan in Bangkok but then beat Thailand, Brazil and Croatia 3-0 to make their way to the finals in Arlington in the US.In the quarterfinal stage, Türkiye toppled Italy 3-0 and beat the final round's host nation US 3-1 in the semis.The Turkish women won gold in the Nations League with a 3-1 win against China on July 16. It was Türkiye's first title in the competition.

Türkiye win European title for 1st time

After winning the Nations League, the Sultans of the Net competed in CEV EuroVolley 2023 to be victorious for the first time in the campaign.In Pool C held in Germany, Türkiye started the European championship with a 3-0 victory against Sweden.Then Türkiye beat Azerbaijan 3-0, the Czech Republic 3-1, Greece 3-0 and hosts Germany 3-0 to qualify for the last 16, where they eliminated Belgium 3-1.The Turkish team went on to dominate the tournament after beating Poland 3-0 and then Italy 3-2.Türkiye won against Serbia, the 2019 champions, 3-2 in a thrilling final in Brussels on Sept. 3.In the Santarelli era, which began in December 2022, Türkiye won 28 matches in 31 appearances that included compelling tournaments: the Nations League, EuroVolley and Paris 2024 qualifiers.Meanwhile, Santarelli, 42, won a Nations League gold medal and a European title for the first time in his career. He recently led Türkiye to the 2024 Olympics.

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