Arkas Spor, the only Izmir team in the AXA Sigorta Efeler League, kicked off the 2019-2020 season in the home game against Tokat Belediye Plevne. This season the team has the Brasilian head hitter Joao Bravo play libero, and the team has new additions in head hitter Burak Gungor from Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediye and Jay Blankenau, the setter of the Canadian National Team, who also had their debuts. Arkas Spor brought many players into Turkish volleyball thanks to its strong youth setup, of which the current fruits for the Arkas primary team are Efe Mandiraci, Ilker Esin and Halit Kurtulus. The team previously reinforced its roster with home-grown young talents such as Yigit Gulmezoglu, Mustafa Koc, Cagatay Durmaz, Mirza Lagumdzija, Mustafa Cengiz, Burak Cevik, Muhammet Kaya and Caner Ergun, which almost created a college team with an average age of as young as 22.
Experienced coach Glenn Hoag stated that they are intending to create an even better fighting team for the new season, continuing “Fenerbahce and Galatasaray are the obvious favourites of the league. Our team is also competitive, but we lost two very important players, Marko Matic and Cagatay Durmaz, to injury and it’s likely that they won’t be returning till January. We have Yigit and Adis with game experience to carry us, with Bravo, Jay and Burak Gungor in veteran roles. We also have young players to take care of, and we need to get them in form. This will be their first Efeler League experience. It’s never easy, but if we focus well, their development will be much more effective. We need to stay highly competitive in the first half of the season so we can enter the top four. I love my team, we have high technique and we have skilled players. We have Bravo and Jay, who are leader materials”.
The first half of AXA Sigorta Efeler League will take place between 27 October – 15 December 2019. The second half games will follow between 18 January – 14 March 2020.
Arkas Spor fixture in November
3 November: Arkas Spor-Fenerbahce
6 November: Istanbul Buyuksehir-Arkas Spor
10 November: Arkas Spor-Galatasaray
17 November: Arhavi Voleybol-Arkas Spor
20 November: Arkas Spor-Bursa Buyuksehir
24 November: Inegol Bld.-Arkas Spor