There are hundreds of American women playing professional volleyball internationally. Our weekly report tracks many of them:
The Champions League made its return last week with top teams across Europe facing off in the group stage. The winners of each pool as well as the three best-ranked second-place teams from will advance to the quarterfinals.
Dresden pulled off the upset of the week, defeating Lokomotiv Kaliningrad (Russia) 21-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-22. Madeleine Gates provided the turning point, anchoring a 7-0 run with a series of aces at the end of set 2. Gates finished with 13 points including seven kills while hitting .375, had a block, and five aces. Jenna Gray contributed two kills, two blocks, and two aces as Dresden hit .176. Dresden is third in Group A.
Rzeszow stayed top of Group A with a 25-22, 25-23, 25-17 sweep over Prometey (Ukraine). Kara Bajema was named MVP, having 18 points. Bajema had 15 kills, hit .379, and had three blocks.
In Pool B, Vakifbank remained at the top with an easy 25-9, 25-21, 25-20 win over LP Salo (Finland). Chiaka Ogbogu led all scorers with 20 points. Ogbogu had 13 kills, hitting .523, five blocks, and two aces. Michelle Barstch-Hackley added seven kills and two blocks while passing a team high 67% positive.
In Pool C, Novara continued its quest for the top spot with a 25-12, 25-23, 25-13 win over VK Liberec (Czech Republic). Haleigh Washington had seven kills, hitting .500, with two blocks and an ace for Novara. Teammate Micha Hancock played for one and a half sets and contributed a block and an ace.
Also in Pool C, THY could not hold onto late leads in sets 2 and 5 and lost to Dynamo Moscow (Russia) in five. Madi Kingdon had 12 kills and three blocks for THY. Tori Dixon added five kills, four blocks, and an ace. Lauren Carlini finished with four kills and a block as THY hit .301. THY fell to third place in Pool C.
Chemik Police had no problem with Ub (Serbia) in Pool E 25-17, 25-19, 25-14. Dani Drews made her professional debut as a substitute but did not record any stats.
Imoco Conegliano was scheduled to play Fatum Kyiregyhaza (Hungary) but that match was awarded to Imoco when Fatum faced COVID-related issues and could not compete.
League titans Vakifbank and Eczacibasi started off the week with a highly anticipated matchup, but Vakifbank won 25-16, 25-22, 25-22. Bartsch-Hackley had seven kills and hit .352 with a block. She led Vakifbank’s passing rotation, receiving 23 serves and passing 74% positive. Due to foreigner rules restrictions, Ogbogu did not play.
THY had no problem overcoming Yesilyurt, winning 25-12, 25-15, 25-14). Kingdon had eight kills and hit .800) to go with an ace. Dixon added four kills and hit .750) to go with a block. Lauren Carlini did not play. THY moved to 13-3 for the season and is still in fourth place.
In the final match of the week, Vakifbank defeated Fenerbahce 27-25, 23-25, 25-21, 25-10. Barstch-Hackley had 14 kills and hit .448 with two blocks while passing 45% positive for Vakifbank. Ogbogu was forced to sit. Vakifbank (14-2) moved into sole possession of first place, ahead of Fenerbahce (13-3).
Busto Arsizio started off the week with a 19-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-23) victory as Jordyn Poulter had two kills for Busto and her team hit .312. Busto Arsizio is 10-5 in league play.
Chieri dispatched Vallefoglia 25-19, 25-18, 25-22. Rhamat Alhassan had six kills and hit .667 for Chieri while Ali Frantti added four kills and four blocks. Chieri improved to 9-4 in the league with its fifth win in a row.
Monza came back with some late-set magic to defeat Bergamo 21-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-19). Khalia Lanier led all players with 20 kills as she hit .317 and had a block and an ace for Bergamo (3-10). Mac May contributed 11 kills and an ace Dana Rettke did not play for Monza (11-3).
Imoco Conegliano faced a double postponement this week due to COVID, so matches with Bergamo and Novara will be rescheduled.
VC Wiesbaden stayed hot with a 27-29, 25-18, 25-16, 25-20 win over Munster. Justine Wong-Orantes had eight receptions for Wiesbaden (8-6), passing 63% positive.
Stephanie Samedy made the first start of her professional career and also claimed her first MVP award as Schwerin defeated Erfurt 25-16, 21-25, 25-14, 25-21. Samedy had 14 kills while hitting .324 and had two blocks to lead Schwerin (9-5). Teammate Lindsey Ruddins added 17 points, with 10 kills while hitting .310 to go with four blocks and three aces.
Stuttgart had no problem with Neuwied, ending the week with a 25-14, 25-16, 25-19 win. T’ara Ceasar also made the first start of her professional career. She had 11 kills while hitting .474 and had a block. Simone Lee added five points and Krystal Rivers had six in a limited role. Stuttgart remains at the top of the German league at 14-0.
In a top-three clash, Dresden came away with a 23-25, 25-18, 25-14, 25-21) win over Potsdam. Madeleine Gates had 4 points for Dresden, finishing with 3 kills (.250) and a block. Jenna Gray added 3 blocks and a kill as Dresden (9-4) hit .240 for the match. Madison Lilley had 1 block for Potsdam (8-4) as they hit .192 in the defeat.
Kelsey Robinson was spectacular for Toyota Autobody Queenseis (1-17) as it lost in four against Okayama and then lost in four to Okayama (5-13) but then won the rematch in four (5-13). In the first match, Robinson had 25 kills, hitting .457, and in the second she had 26 kills, hit .373, and had an ace.
Hannah Tapp and Hitachi Rivale returned to play in an upset over Toray 25-23, 25-23, 21-25, 27-25. Tapp had seven kills and hit .467 with two blocks and two aces for Hitachi Rivale. In the rematch, Toray came away with a 25-15, 25-21, 25-19 sweep. Tapp had six kills and hit .357 with two blocks. Hitachi Rivale sits in eighth place in the league at 7-11.
Foluke Akinradewo-Gunderson and Hisamitsu Springs outlasted PFU 18-25, 25-12, 22-25, 25-22, 15-12. Foluke had 15 kills and hit .560 with two blocks for Hisamitsu (10-5) as her team moved to sixth place.
Annie Drews and JT Marvelous’ matches with Denso were postponed due to COVID protocols, and so were Sarah Wilhite-Parsons and NEC Red Rockets’ matches with Ageo.
Kara Bajema maintained her hot form for Rzesnow in a sweep of Volley Wroclaw 25-17, 25-16, 25-22. Bajema was again named MVP as she collected 16 kills while hitting .393 to go with two blocks while passing 46% positive.
Chemik Police swept Legionowo 25-16, 25-19, 25-18. Dani Drews came off of the bench in set 3 to record her first two professional kills.
Veronica Jones-Perry and LKS Lodz’s match with Bydgoszcz was postponed due to COVID protocols.
The Brazilian League returned from a COVID break this week.
Osasco overcame SESC-RJ with a 22-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-20 win. Rachael Adams had eight kills and added six blocks and an ace for Osasco (10-1) as her team moved to second place in the league.
Minas rebounded with a 25-11, 25-21, 25-23 win over Maringa. Danielle Cuttino contributed nine kills, hit .315, had two blocks, and an ace. Minas (9-2) is now in third place.
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