Women’s pro report: Frantti, Thompson lead VakifBank; Annie Drews has big week in Japan
November 28, 2023
February 28, 2022
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:
Eczacibasi started the CEV Cup semifinals with a 25-21, 25-22, 25-19 sweep over Alba Blaj (Romania). McKenzie Adams had eight kills (.412) while having 23 receptions, passing 61% positive.
Stuttgart overpowered Mladost (Croatia) 25-18, 21-25, 25-15, 25-22 in the other semifinal. Simone Lee had 23 kills (.488) while Krystal Rivers added 21 kills (.353), one block, and an ace. Tâ€™Ara Ceasar came off of the bench to add six kills (.444) and an ace to help Stuttgart.
Aydin nearly pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the competition, but fell to Scandicci 25-21, 23-25, 22-25, 25-18, 15-10 in the first leg of the semifinals. Anna Stevenson had eight kills (.421) for Aydin while also adding a match-high six blocks.
Toyota Autobody Queenseisâ€™s hot form continued with a 25-20, 25-22, 23-25, 25-20 win over Okayama. Kelsey Robinson was the matchâ€™s top scorer, finishing with 35 kills (.375), two aces, and a block.
Denso were victorious against Hitachi Rivale, winning 25-18, 16-25, 22-25, 25-21, 15-11. Hannah Tapp had 15 kills (.538), four blocks, and an ace for Hitachi but it was not enough.
Hisamitsu Springs upset JT Marvelous 20-25, 26-24, 25-16, 25-23. Foluke Akinradewo-Gunderson had 11 kills (.400) and seven blocks for Hisamitsu Springs. Annie Drews had 17 kills (.333) and one block for JT Marvelous in the defeat.
NEC Red Rockets swept Kurobe 31-29, 25-18, 25-20. Sarah Wilhite-Parsons had three kills (.143) and one block in a brief substitute appearance for NEC.
Queenseis continued its winning ways, defeating Kurobe 25-20, 25-17, 25-18. Robinson had 11 kills (.400), two blocks, and an ace for Queenseis. Queeseis has won four of five matches, led by a surging Robinson and sits in 10th place at 6-19.
JT Marvelous bounced back with a 25-23, 25-16, 25-18 sweep of Denso. Drews had 11 kills (.440) and three blocks. JT Marvelous improved to 19-3, with a two game advantage over second place.
Hitachi Rivale upset Hisamitsu in five, 23-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-21, 15-13. Tapp had nine kills (.318), six blocks, and an ace in the win for Hitachi. Akinradewo-Gunderson contributed 16 kills (.517) and seven blocks in the defeat as Hisamitsu Springs fell to 14-7, missing a chance to jump into the top three in the standings. Hitachi remained in eighth place, at 10-14.
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The NEC Red Rockets were upset by Okayama 20-25, 25-22, 34-32, 22-25, 15-9. Wilhite-Parsons made a brief substitute appearance, but did not record any stats. NEC fell to third place, ending the week with a 15-6 record.
Vakifbank started the week with a 25-15, 25-23, 25-12 sweep Karayollari. Michelle Barstch-Hackley was top scorer with 13 points. She had eight kills (.217) and five blocks for Vakifbank. Chiaka Ogbogu added six kills (.454) and a block.
Aydin fell to Fenerbahce 25-20, 23-25, 25-21, 25-15. Stevenson had 10 kills (.412) and three blocks. Aydin falls to 8-13, but remain only three points out of a playoff place.
Vakifbank won its second match of the week, this time 25-17, 25-17, 25-17 over Sariyer. Ogbogu had five kills (.400) while Barstch-Hackley did not play for Vakifbank (19-2) as it remained in first place.
Eczacibasi swept Kuzeyboru 27-25, 25-21, 26-24. McKenzie Adams had 11 kills (.476) and a block for second place Eczacibasi (18-3). Annie Mitchem had four kills (.095), two aces, and a block for Kuzeyboru (10-11) who now sits in seventh place.
Monza swept Chieri in a rescheduled match 25-23, 25-20, 25-22. Dana Rettke was not eligible to play for Monza, since this match was originally scheduled before her arrival in Italy. Ali Frantti had four kills (.308) in a brief appearance for Chieri while Rhamat Alhassan added three (.333).
Imoco Conegliano fought off a spirited Vallefoglia to win 23-25, 25-13, 25-19, 21-25, 15-11. Kathryn Plummer had nine kills (.094) and an ace for Imoco. Megan Courtney-Lush had one kill (.333) in a brief substitute appearance.
Trentino won the battle of the teams in the relegation zone over Bergamo 25-17, 25-20, 25-16. August Raskie had three kills for Trentino as she helped them hit .320. Khalia Lanier had five kills for Bergamo (.000) while Mac May did not play.
Novara used a balanced attack to defeat Firenze 25-19, 27-25, 29-31, 25-22. Haleigh Washington had 12 kills (.647), three blocks, and an ace for Novara. Micha Hancock set a balanced offense, with four players in double digit kills. Novara hit .348.
Casalmaggiore pulled off the upset of the week, beating Monza 27-25, 26-24, 18-25, 22-25, 15-12. Rettke had one kill (-.400) before leaving the match in set 1. Monza finished the week in first place at 16-5, with 50 points.
Novara won against Roma 22-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-19. Washington had five kills (.364) and a block for Novara. Hancock had three kills (.600) and two aces while leading Novara to hit .301. Hancock was also named MVP. Madison Bugg had one kill for Roma, as it hit .227. Novara improved to 16-2 with 46 points, with less matches played than its competitors. Roma dropped to 6-13, but still out of the relegation zone in 11th place.
Imoco Conegliano eased past Trentino 25-19, 25-18, 25-16. Courtney-Lush had seven kills (.211) while being the matchâ€™s top passer with 77% positive passing. Plummer made a brief appearance in set three and had one kill (.333). August Raskie set Trentino to hit .172. Imoco stands at 17-2 with 48 points, in second place after its fourth straight win. Trentino fell to 3-18 and back into the relegation zone in thirteenth place.
Busto Arsizio avoided an upset as it beat Bergamo 23-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-17. Jordyn Poulter had two blocks and a kill for Busto Arsizio as she led them to hit .223. Khalia Lanier had 25 kills (.392) and three blocks for Bergamo, while Mac May added 11 kills (.194) and a block. Busto Arsizio improved to 14-7 with its third win in a row, while Bergamo fell to 4-15.
Chieri fell in a back-and-forth match to Cuneo 25-18, 22-25, 25-20, 21-25, 16-14. Rhamat Alhassan had five kills (.300) and four blocks for Chieri (10-9), while Ali Frannti added two (.000).
Schwerin escaped an upset as it came back to defeat Wiesbaden 19-25, 25-18, 20-25, 25-22, 15-10. Lindsey Ruddins had 13 kills (.281) and one block while Stephanie Samedy had three kills (-.071) for Schwerin. Justine Wong-Orantes 14 receptions for Wiesbaden, passing 43% positively. Schwerin (12-5) remains in contention for a top four spot, sitting in fifth place. Wiesbaden fell to 8-8, but remained in seventh place.
Dresdner also avoided an upset, coming back to defeat Aachen in a close match 25-27, 27-25, 23-25, 25-21, 15-12. Madeleine Gates had nine kills (.444), two blocks, and an ace for Dresdner. Jenna Gray added six kills (1.000) and an ace as she led Dresdner to hit .250. Dresdner (13-4) moved into second place, behind Stuttgart.
Dresdner-Munster, Vilsbiburg-Erfurt, and Stuttgart-Potsdam were all postponed.
Chemik Police returned to league action with a 25-21, 25-19, 25-15 sweep of Wroclaw. Dani Drews, playing as opposite, was top scorer with 17 points. Drews had 16 kills (.364) and a block for Chemik Police (15-4).
LKS Lodz came back to defeat Bydgoszcz 21-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-12. Veronica Jones-Perry added 11 kills (.455), one block, and an ace for Lodz (13-6).
In the quarterfinals of the Polish Cup, Rzeszow won against UNI Opole 25-12, 24-26, 27-25, 25-19. Kara Bajema was top scorer with 22 points. She had 22 kills (.405) and 32 service receptions, passing 28% positive.
Chemik Police were eliminated by Legionowo 25-22, 25-21, 13-25, 14-25, 15-13 in the quarterfinals. Dani Drews did not play for Chemik Police.
Danielle Cuttino was named MVP as she led Minas to win 25-17, 22-25, 25-16, 25-16 over Pinheiros. Cuttino had 22 kills (.559) and five blocks, leading all players in both categories.
Rachael Adams was named MVP as Osasco swept Valinhos 25-23, 25-20, 25-15. Stats were unavailable.
In a clash of two top teams, Minas swept Osasco 25-17, 25-14, 25-23. Cuttino added eight kills (.316) for Minas (16-3) as it won its fifth match in a row. Adams had seven kills (.700) and a block for Osasco (13-5).
Taylor Bannister was named MVP as Vasas (Hungary) won the MEVZA (Middle European Volleyball Zonal Association) tournament. In the semifinals, Bannister was top scorer, with 24 points; 20 kills (.273), three blocks, and an ace as Vasas beat Maribor (Slovenia) 21-25, 25-19, 25-13, 28-26. Vasas swept Calcit Kamnik (Slovenia) in the final 25-22, 25-16, 25-19. Bannister was top scorer again, with 20 points. She had 16 kills (.344), two blocks, and two aces as Vasas won its first international title.