While maybe some of you expected that VakifBank might lose to GS when Rasic couldn't play. But personally before the game I thought they would still win even without Rasic. After all they beat GS with 3:0 twice during regular season. I thought they might struggle a little but should have no problem advancing to the final. But they got beaten up by 0:5! That's really unexpected for me. But GS played really well, serving at high level and VB just couldn't attack well. And of course without Rasic their blocking was terrible, plus the hostile environment also affected VB players. I think even Rasic was healthy, with the level GS played VakifBank probably couldn't win at GS home court (VB lost to Fener twice even with Rasic, and I think GS played as well as Fener against VB during semi-final).
Vakif didn't unexpectantly lose in the Turkish League semi-finals. They played without Rasic who was injured for both games and her sub was a dramatically lower quality player. It showed that when it comes to the Turkish League with their 3 foreigner limit that the worlds best MB was a bigger loss then say Zhu as the best OH. You can only play 2 OH's at a time and it was more consequential not to have Rasic then to say have Hill instead of Zhu. One of the things VB gave up to sign Zhu was Robin at MB'er. She was a solid sub for Rasic when needed and probably would have been enough to put VB over Gala.
The closeness in quality between the best teams is very narrow and the smallest changes can make a huge difference. Gozde is in the twilight of her career in the same way that larson is. Vb might well want to bring Hande over once she becomes available in the same way that they picked up Naz. To win in Turkish League having the best Turkish setter, OH, and MB is the key to success and it's that success that paves the way to participation in the CL. It was a huge fail for ECZ to miss the CL next year and it will be interesting to see how they recover from that in the future.