There are hundreds of American women playing professional volleyball internationally. This report tracks many of them.
It was a busy week in Turkey, with action in both the Turkish Cup and the Turkish League.
Turkish Cup: Vakifbank controlled the match against Galatasaray, despite losing their starting setter after the first point, winning 25-22, 25-13, 25-20 to advance to the semifinals. Michelle Barstch-Hackley had six kills (.190), a block and an ace for Vakifbank. Chiaka Ogbogu did not play.
THY defeated Kuzeyboru 25-16, 25-22, 25-19 to set up a semifinal matchup against Vakifbank. Lauren Carlini set a balanced attack, with four hitters above nine points for the match. Carlini had four kills and hit .800) to go with a block as THY hit .371. Madi Kingdon-Rishel had 8 kills (.129) and an ace for THY. She was also credited with 18 receptions, with a match high 61% positivity rate. Tori Dixon did not play.
Turkish League: THY faced off against Kuzeyboru for the second time this week, but in league play. The result was no different as they came away with another sweep, 25-14, 25-21, 25-9. Kingdon-Rishel led THY with 15 points this match. She contributed 12 kills (hitting .454), three aces, as well as 80% positive reception. Carlini added two kills and a block as she set THY (12-3) a .400 hitting percentage. Dixon did not play.
The Italian league returned to a sort of normalcy after several teams faced COVID-related postponements over the past few weeks.
Novara had no problems with Casalmaggiore, winning 25-18, 25-20, 25-12. Haleigh Washington made her first start since her return from injury and had five kills, hitting .666, and two blocks. Teammate Micha Hancock added two kills, two blocks, and two aces as she set an excellent match as Novara hit .538. Novara (11-2) moved back up to second place in the league.
Bergamo fell to fourth-place Scandicci 25-23, 23-25, 19-25, 14-25. Mac May made her professional debut for Bergamo in dazzling form with standout backcourt defense. May finished with 11 kills, hitting .310 and had eight receptions, 38% positive. Teammate Khalia Lanier contributed seven kills (.000) and three aces. Lanier had 26 receptions, passing 58% positive. Bergamo (3-9) fell to 11th in the standings.
Busto Arsizio had a relatively easy match against Vallefoglia, sweeping 25-16, 25-23, 25-19. Jordyn Poulter contributed a kill and an ace and her team hit .312. Busto Arsizio (9-5) stays at fifth place in the standings.
Imoco Conegliano beat Roma 25-16, 25-21, 25-17. Megan Courtney-Lush made a brief substitute appearance, but did not record any stats. Kathryn Plummer was back in America for a family event. Imoco (12-1) stayed in first place ahead of their match against Novara next week.
Dana Rettke arrived at Monza this past week, however their match against Chieri was postponed due to COVID protocols.
In a highly anticipated match, Dresden (8-4) overcame an in-form Schwerin (8-5) 25-22, 25-15, 25-21. Jenna Gray set Dresden to a .293 hitting percentage. Madeleine Gates had a kill, two blocks, and an ace for Dresden. Stephanie Samedy got her first extended action for Schwerin, coming off of the bench in set 2 and playing for the rest of the match. Samedy had six kills. Lindsey Ruddins had two kills in the first two sets.
Stuttgart (13-0) continues to dominate the league with a 25-14, 25-15, 25-12 dismantling of Munster (4-8). Krystal Rivers led with nine kills and hit .444. She added two blocks, and two aces. Simone Lee contributed eight kills along with a block and an ace while passing 38% positive. T’Ara Caesar came off of the bench and have five kills in as many swings and and 100% positive reception.
Potsdam (8-3) continued its climb up the league standings with a 25-23, 25-20, 25-22 victory over Suhl (8-5). Madison Lilley claimed MVP honors for the match. She set Potsdam to hit .370 in the match. Potsdam now sit 4th in the league, but have played two less matches than second-place Suhl.
Wiesbaden (7-6) won its third match in a row with a 25-21, 25-19, 26-24 sweep of Vilsbiburg (4-8). Justine Wong-Orantes was credited with four receptions, as she was avoided by the Vilsbiburg servers. Tiffany Clark had 17 receptions for Vilsbiburg, passing 59% positive.
In the weekend’s opening match, Toray swept Toyota Auto Body Queenseis 25-21, 25-20, 25-20. Kelsey Robinson had 18 kills and hit .444 to go with a block but it was not enough to overcome the second-place Toray.
Toray (13-3) overcame a slow start in the rematch to power their way to a 3-1 (19-25, 25-20, 25-17, 26-24) win over Toyota Auto Body Queenseis. Kelsey Robinson had 15 kills (.200) for Queenseis as well as a block. Queenseis (0-16) is still seeking their first win of the season.
NEC Red Rockets (Sarah Wilhite-Parsons) were set to face off against Hisamitsu Springs (Foluke Akinradewo-Gunderson) but the matches were postponed due to COVID protocols.
JT Marvelous (Annie Drews) and Hitachi Rivale (Hannah Tapp) were off this week.
Rzeszow beat Bydgoszcz 18-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-14 as Kara Bajema was named MVP. Bajema led all scorers with 19 points. She had 16 kills, hitting .482, to go along with two blocks and an ace. She also had one of her best passing performances of the season, passing 45% positive on 33 receptions.
LKS Lodz upset Chemik Police 3-1 (20-25, 25-20, 27-25, 25-22) to end the weekend. Veronica Jones-Perry led LKS Lodz with 17 kills, hitting .272, as well as two blocks and an ace. Dani Drews, who just joined Chemik Police this week, did not play.
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