International pro volleyball: Catching up with USA women playing overseas

There are hundreds of American women playing professional volleyball internationally. This report tracks many of them.

China
Jordan Larson finished her season in China by claiming third place with Shanghai. Larson did not play in either match of the best-of-3 series for Shanghai as they imposed foreigner limits. She will continue her season when she rejoins Athletes’ Unlimited in Dallas.

Italy
The Coppa Italia finished this week. In the semifinals Imoco Conegliano defeated Busto Arsizio 25-16, 24-26, 25-16, 25-23. Kathryn Plummer had 12 kills, hitting .258. She also contributed an ace while passing 45% positive on 20 receptions. Megan Courtney made a brief substitute appearance in the backcourt and recorded three receptions. Jordyn Poulter had a kill for Busto Arsizio and set Busto to a .157 hitting percentage.

In the other semil, Chieri had to withdraw due to positive COVID cases, so Novara advanced to the final.

Imoco defeated Novara 19-25, 19-25, 25-21, 25-22, 15-13 for Imoco’s third straight Coppa Italia win. Kathryn Plummer had 16 kills and hit .469 while also adding a block. She had 25 receptions as well, passing 56% positive. Megan Courtney came off of the bench to add seven kills (.467) while receiving 12 serves and passing 58% positive. Micha Hancock had two aces and two kills for Novara. Novara hit .347. Olympian Haleigh Washington made her return from injury, adding a kill (.333) in a brief appearance. Courtney, Hancock, and Washington all played at Penn State.

In league play, every match but Busto Arsizio vs. Monza was postponed due to COVID. Monza swept Busto Arsizio 25-21, 25-19, 25-16 in its best match of the season. Poulter had a kill and a block while Busto hit .155. They could not overcome Magdalena Stysiak’s 22 points. Busto Arsizio fell to fifth place (8-5) in the league standings while Monza sits in second place (10-3) as they await the arrival of Wisconsin star Dana Rettke.

Turkey
League play resumed after a winter break. Vakifbank easily swept Yesilyurt 25-20, 25-13, 25-14 to remain in third place. Neither Olympians Chiaka Ogbogu or Michelle Barstch-Hackley made an appearance for Vakifbank.

THY held off Aydin to win 27-25, 25-18, 25-21. Madi Kingdon had 17 kills (.294) along with a block and an ace for THY. Lauren Carlini had a kill as THY hit .197. Tori Dixon was on the bench, but did not play for THY. Louisville’s Anna Stevenson made her professional debut for Aydin. She came off of the bench to add a kill and two blocks. THY remains in fourth place in the league, five points behind the leaders Eczacibasi, while Aydin sits in ninth.

Japan 
The Japanese League resumed with one set of matches this weekend as JT Marvelous got a two victories over Hitachi Rivale. JT won 25-16, 25-17, 27-25. Olympian Annie Drews had eight kills (.286) and a block for JT Marvelous. Hannah Tapp did not play for Hitachi. The second match was much closer, as JT Marvelous squeaked out a 25-20, 25-17, 23-25, 23-25, 16-14 win. Drews had a 20-kill (.429) MVP performance. Tapp did not play.  JT Marvelous leads the Japanese League at 15-1.

Germany
Wiesbaden scored the upset of the week by beating Dresden 26-24, 25-23, 19-25, 20-25, 15-12. Olympian Justine Wong-Orantes had 21 receptions, passing 48% positive for Wiesbaden. For Dresden, Madeleine Gates had nine kills (.190) and four blocks. Setter Jenna Gray added a kill as Dresden hit .243.

Stuttgart started the week by beating Erfurt 25-22, 25-9, 23-25, 25-19. Simone Lee had an MVP performance by contributing 25 kills, hitting .351, and a block. Krystal Rivers added 13 kills and hit .108 for the league leaders.

In a highly anticipated match, Schwerin easily overcame Potsdam 25-15, 25-23, 25-14. Lindsay Ruddins had 14 kills (.375) and a block for Schwerin. Minnesota’s Stephanie Samedy made her professional debut, coming in for a double sub and getting her first professional kill. Madison Lilley did not record any stats for Potsdam, which hit .011 with very poor passing.

Stuttgart continued its unbeaten league run by defeating Vilsbiburg 25-18, 25-16, 15-25, 25-17. Lee had 12 kills (.250) along with three aces and a block. Rivers added 13 kills, hit .258, and had two blocks, and an ace. T’Ara Caesar, who left Florida’s team before the NCAA Tournament, made her professional debut for Stuttgart, contributing a kill. Tiffany Clark had 27 receptions for Vilsbiburg, recording 44% positive passing. Stuttgart leads the German League at 12-0 by eight points. Vilsbiburg (4-7) fell to ninth.

Schwerin kept its hot streak going as it swept second-place Suhl 25-22, 25-20, 25-17. Schwerin (8-4) has risen to third place in the league standings, now only three points behind Suhl (8-4). Ruddins contributed 13 kills (.267) while passing 40% positive on 15 receptions for Schwerin. Samedy made another brief appearance, adding two kills (.500).

Wiesbaden ended the week defeating Erfurt 3-2 (22-25, 25-16, 22-25, 25-18, 15-8). Justine Wong-Orantes continues to be the best libero in Germany, passing 57% positive on her seven receptions. Wiesbaden’s successful week has driven them into the playoff places in the league as they now sit seventh (6-6). Erfurt remains in 10th place (3-9).

Poland
The American clash did not go as planned as Rzeszow overcame LKS Lodz 25-19, 25-16, 27-25. Kara Bajema left the match during set 1 for Rzeszow, after hitting -.400. Veronica Jones-Perry did face the same fate, but only added three kills (-.170) and a block for LKS Lodz. With this victory, Rzeszow (13-1) has jumped back into first place in the league. LKS Lodz (8-6) fell to sixth place.

Brazilian
All matches involving American athletes were postponed this week due to COVID-19.

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