There are hundreds of American women playing professional volleyball internationally. Our weekly report tracks many of them. Almost all in this report are former NCAA stars:
Vakifbank held off a fierce challenge from Rzeszow 25-15, 25-19, 23-25, 25-23. Michelle Barstch-Hackley had 15 points for Vakifbank, contributing 10 kills (hitting .318), four blocks, and an ace. She was also the top passer in the match, passing 71% positive on 17 receptions. Chiaka Ogbogu was held to two kills (.125) and one block. For Rzeszow, Kara Bajema had 16 points with 14 kills (.355), one block, and an ace as her team was eliminated.
Vakifbank advances to the semifinals, where it will face Fenerbahce at the end of March.
Imoco Conegliano lost but it will move on.
Imoco overpowered Monza and won the second leg 25-19, 22-25, 25-16, 25-17. Kathryn Plummer had 12 kills (.286), one block, and an ace for Imoco. Teammate Megan Courtney-Lush had one kill (.250) in a brief substitute appearance. For Monza, Jordan Larson finished with six kills (.211). Dana Rettke added two kills (.111) and a block.
Both of Imoco Conegliano’s potential quarter-final opponents were Russian teams, which were barred from CEV competition. This has advanced Imoco Conegliano directly to the final, which will take place in late May.
A short-handed Stuttgart could not match Eczacibasi’s firepower and lost in the first leg of the CEV Cup final 25-19, 22-25, 25-20, 25-17. Krystal Rivers was absent for Stuttgart. Simone Lee led Stuttgart with 18 points, contributing 14 kills (.226), three aces, and a block. T’Ara Ceasar added six kills (.080) and an ace. For Eczacibasi, McKenzie Adams had eight kills (.333), three aces, and a block.
The second leg of the CEV Cup final will take place on Tuesday, March 22.
Aydin beat Nilufer 25-21, 27-25, 22-25, 25-17. Anna Stevenson had seven kills, hitting .583. This was the third win in a row for Aydin, which improved to 11-13. Aydin jumped into seventh place.
THY easily defeated Mert Grup Sigorta, winning 25-21, 25-20, 25-16. Madi Kingdon-Rishel played the first two sets, contributing seven kills (.200) and an ace. Lauren Carlini set all three sets while contributing four kills (1.000). She set THY to hit .385. THY improved to 19-5 while remaining in fourth place.
Vakifbank defeated PTT 25-21, 21-25, 25-16, 25-17. Barstch-Hackley and Ogbogu did not play. Vakifbank improved to 22-2 after winning its 13th straight league match.
Novara defeated Trentino 23-25, 25-13, 25-22, 25-21. Haleigh Washington was the top blocker with seven. She also added six kills (.545) as she was named MVP. Micha Hancock contributed two kills while leading Novara to hit .300. August Raskie had a block for Trentino as she led them to hit .217. Novara (20-2) remains on top of the Italian league with 58 points. Trentino (4-20) remains in the relegation zone with only 16 points.
Bergamo stormed back to upset Cuneo in five, 21-25, 18-25, 27-25, 25-15, 15-12. Khalia Lanier was top scorer with 16 kills, hitting .217. Mackenzie May added 13 kills, hitting .281 and was named MVP. Bergamo improved to 7-16 with its third win in four attempts and sits in 11th place, three points above the relegation zone.
Chieri held off Casalmaggiore to win 25-16, 28-26, 21-25, 25-23). Ali Frantti had 16 kills (.433), two blocks, and an ace. Teammate Rhamat Alhassan added 12 kills (.800) and two blocks. Chieri improved to 13-10 after its third win in a row and is in sixth place with 39 points.
Monza bounced back from its Champions League disappointment to sweep Perugia 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-18). Larson added seven kills (.333) and an ace. Rettke had five kills (.000) and three blocks. Monza (18-6) remained in third place with 57 points.
Imoco Conegliano got revenge for a previous loss to Firenze 19-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-16. Plummer came off the bench to be Imoco’s top scorer with 17 points. She had 13 kills (.156), two blocks, and two aces. Courtney-Lush had four kills (.083) in a brief appearance. Imoco (20-3) remains in second place, behind Novara.
In a mid-week clash, JT Marvelous held off Hisamitsu Springs 22-25, 25-20, 25-21, 22-25, 17-15. Annie Drews had 34 kills (.385), three blocks, and two aces for JT Marvelous as she was named MVP. Foluke Akinradewo-Gunderson had 12 kills (.375) and two blocks for Hisamitsu Springs.
Toyota Autobody Queenseis split its weekend matches. In the first match, Queenses won 18-25, 25-22, 25-22, 26-24 over Himeji. Kelsey Robinson had 30 kills (.397), one block, and an ace. In the second match, Queenseis came up short to Toray 25-22, 25-22, 22-25, 26-24. Robinson added 18 kills (.286) and two blocks. Queenseis finished the weekend at 8-23, in 10th place.
NEC Rockets swept its weekend matches. In the first match, NEC swept Denso 25-16, 25-22, 25-15. Sarah Wilhite-Parsons found her form as she had 17 kills (.615) and a block. In the second match. NEC swept PFU 25-21, 25-14, 25-18. Wilhite-Parson’s hot hand continued as she had 18 kills (.381), two aces, and a block. NEC improved to 21-8 and sits in third place.
JT Marvelous swept Ageo 25-21, 25-21, 25-17 in its only match over the weekend. Drews finished with 17 kills (.432), one block, and an ace as she was named MVP again. JT Marvelous still leads the league at 23-5.
Hisamitsu Springs also swept both its weekend matches, starting by beating PFU 25-11, 25-19, 25-20. Akinradewo-Gunderson had seven kills (.538) and four blocks. In the second match, Hisamitsu swept Denso 25-19, 25-21, 25-21. Akinradewo-Gunderson added 13 kills (.619) and a block in the match. Hisamitsu Springs improved to 19-8 and is in fourth place.
Hannah Tapp and Hitachi Rivale’s matches were postponed due to COVID.
Wiesbaden upset Suhl 25-22, 15-25, 25-13, 22-25, 15-11 to secure its position in the German league playoffs. Justine Wong-Orantes led Wiesbaden by passing with 62% positive reception on 13 attempts. Wiesbaden (11-10) have all but clinched a place in the playoffs, as its sits in seventh place with one match left.
Schwerin swept Straubing 25-20, 25-20, 25-11. Lindsey Ruddins was named MVP as she had 13 kills (.364). Stephanie Samedy was top scorer as she had 13 errorless kills (.500), a block, and an ace. Symone Speech contributed two kills (.287), two blocks, and an ace. Schwerin (16-5) won its eighth match in a row and sit in third place. Samantha Cash was named MVP for Straubing, after finishing with seven points.
Erfurt swept Neuwied 25-21, 25-22, 25-17. Kennedy Eschenberg had three kills (.125), two blocks, and two aces for Erfurt (6-14) as it won its third match in five attempts.
Dresdner played Stuttgart in the German Cup Final. Stuttgart came away with a relatively one sided sweep, winning 25-17, 25-15, 25-15. Lee was named MVP as she was top scorer with 20 points. She had 15 kills (.480), three aces, and two blocks. Rivers was active and added 13 kills (.500) and two blocks. Ceasar did not play. Both Jenna Gray and Madeleine Gates battled Dresdner’s poor reception. Gates finished with four kills (.800) and two aces. Gray added one kill as Dresdner hit .210 in the match.
LKS Lodz had two matches this past week. In the first match, LKS Lodz beat Legionowo 25-23, 24-26, 25-16, 25-22. Veronica Jones-Perry had 14 kills (.400), two aces, and a block in this match. In the second match, her team swept Bielsko-Biala 25-21, 25-22, 25-19. Jones-Perry added six kills (.111), one block, and an ace. LKS Lodz finished the regular season with a 22-15 record and will start the playoffs with the third seed.
Rzeszow will play Chemik Police on Monday to end their regular seasons. If a fifth set is avoided, the winner will claim the top position in the playoffs. Rzeszow will claim the first seed if a fifth set is needed.
Minas ended the regular season with a 25-22, 25-19, 25-14 sweep over Brasilia Volley. Danielle Cuttino did not play. Minas finished the regular season in second position.
Osasco also ended the regular season with a sweep as it beat Maringa 25-9, 25-20, 26-24. Rachael Adams had three kills (.111) and four blocks. Osasco finished the regular season in fourth position.
Minas will play Barueri while Osasco will play SESC-Flamengo in their best of three quarter-final series.
Taylor Bannister was named the MVP of the Hungarian Cup as she led Vasas to the victory. In the final, Vasas beat Szent Benedek 25-23, 22-25, 25-21, 25-19. Bannister had 27 kills (.375), two blocks, and an ace in the final.
Sm’Aesch Pfeffingen advanced to the finals of the Swiss playoffs with a sweep over Schaffhausen. Madison Duello had nine kills (.280), two blocks, and an ace. Lauren Barfield added seven kills (.875), one block, and an ace.
Pfeffingen will face off in the finals against NUC Viteos, who are led by Samantha Drechsel, Tia Scambray, and Kyra Holt. NUC Viteos advanced to the finals after its series was affected by COVID cancellations.
PLEASE JOIN THE TEAM!
Keep free volleyball journalism free by becoming a VolleyballMag.com Sustaining Member: https://volleyballmag.com/sustaining-membership/
Or make a contribution through Venmo @VolleyballMag