Women’s pro report: Frantti, Thompson lead VakifBank; Annie Drews has big week in Japan
November 28, 2023
May 8, 2023
This is our weekly update on USA women playing professional volleyball around the world. Most of the players are former NCAA standouts. The season is winding down as playoff series have finished are are near their ends:
Country titles are on the line this week in Italy, Turkey, Germany and Puerto Rico, and two USA players won the championships last week for their teams.
In Italy, Jordan Thompson, Jordan Larson, Dana Rettke, Kathryn Plummer and Kelsey Cook are all in the finals.
In Turkey, Logan Eggleston, Sherridan Atkinson and Brooke Nuneviller are still in the postseason.
Adora Anae won the league title with Panathinaikos and Taylor Bannister and Vasas Obuda won the Hungary crown.
Gina Mancuso, Madi Kubik, Audriana Fitmorris, Adanna Rollins, Ronika Stone and Tori Dilfer are all part of a big battle in the Puerto Rico finals.
The action continues Tuesday and Wednesday.
Milano earned its spot in the finals for the second straight season by eliminating Scandicci 25-21, 25-20, 24-26, 18-25, 15-10.
The Jordans led the way, as Jordan Thompson was the top scorer and named MVP with 26 kills, one block and an ace. Jordan Larson followed with seven kills and a block (Larson, the leader in Tokyo when the USA won Olympics gold, is going back to the USA national team; watch our video with coach Karch Kiraly here). Dana Rettke had three kills as a substitute in the fourth set.
Haleigh Washington finished with five kills and a match-high five blocks for Scandicci.
Conegliano, looking to defend the title it has won for the past four editions, came from behind to snatch the first match of the best-of-five finals series from Milano 23-25, 25-23, 23-25, 25-19, 25-11.
Kathryn Plummer had 12 kills and three blocks for Conegliano and Kelsey Cook added four kills, two blocks and an ace.
Thompson went off for 33 kills, two blocks, and an ace. Larson added eight kills, two blocks and an ace, and Rettke added four kills.
Casalmaggiore won the Playoff Challenge by beating Firenze in a tight encounter 25-23, 26-24, 29-31, 26-24. Ali Frantti was the second-top scorer for Casalmaggiore with 18 kills and an ace. Setter Lauren Carlini had a kill, a block and one ace and Rhamat Alhassan had eight kills and five blocks for Firenze in the defeat.
VakifBank swept Fenerbahce in the second leg of the semifinals series 25-23, 25-17, 25-21, but was eliminated from title contention after losing the golden set 15-11.
Kara Bajema had 10 kills and two blocks for VakifBank and Chiaka Ogbogu did not play.
THY was also eliminated from title contention when it lost to Eczacibasi 25-22, 25-21, 21-25, 25-20. Madi Kingdon Rishel led THY with 16 kills and had a block.
VakifBank gained the upper hand in the series for third place by beating THY 25-18, 25-20, 23-25, 25-8) as Ogbogu had five kills and a block. Bajema appeared briefly as a substitute. Kingdon led THY again, this time with 12 kills.
Galatasaray advanced to the fifth-place match after beating Aydin 25-27, 25-9, 25-23, 25-17. Logan Eggleston led with 20 kills (hitting .474), two aces and a block.
Nilufer also advanced to the fifth-place match after defeating Sariyer 22-25, 25-19, 25-20, 25-19. Sherridan Atkinson led Nilufer with 14 kills, a block and an ace. She played the first three sets because Nilufer need only to win two sets to advance. Brooke Nuneviller also only played three sets and had 12 kills (.400).
Stuttgart opened the best-of-five German league finals by beating Potsdam 25-21, 25-22, 17-25, 25-19. Simone Lee was MVP for leading with 18 kills, three aces and two blocks. Krystal Rivers was named MVP after having 20 kills and two blocks.
Stuttgart then lost to Potsdam 25-23, 25-22, 21-25, 27-25. Rivers was the top scorer with 24 kills and two blocks. Lee had 12 kills, one block and an ace.
Panathinaikos won the Greek league title for the second straight year by sweeping the finals series over Olympiacos, 21-25, 26-24, 25-17, 20-25, 15-10 in the last match.
Adora Anae was Panathinaikos’ second-top scorer with 14 kills and a block. Jaali Winters had 13 kills for Olympiacos, which lost in last year’s finals, too.
Taylor Bannister was named MVP and Vasas Obuda won the Hungarian league for the second straight year by beating Bekescsaba 25-11, 25-17, 25-13) Bannister was the top scorer in with 14 kills, four aces, and a block. Lia Mosher came off the bench to have two kills for Bekescsaba.
Santurce opened the Puerto Rican league finals with a 25-22, 11-25, 25-19, 25-17 win over Corozal. Madi Kubik was the top scorer with 18 kills and two blocks. Gina Mancuso followed with 13 kills, two blocks and an ace. Audriana Fitzmorris finished with three kills and a block as a substitute middle. Adanna Rollins had 11 kills and two blocks for Corozal. Ronika Stone added eight kills and a block. Setter Tori Dilfer had a kill, one block and an ace.
Corozal bounced back in the second match with a 25-21, 25-17, 20-25, 25-17 victory.
Rollins had 11 kills and a block, Stone added eight kills, three blocks and an ace and Dilfer finished with four kills, two blocks and an ace. Mancuso led Santurce with 18 kills. Kubik had 11 kills and a block, while Fitzmorris had seven kills and a block.
Corozal took the lead 25-23, 25-19, 21-25, 27-25 as Stone had seven of Corzal’s 21 blocks. Stone also added seven kills. Rollins chipped in 11 kills, two blocks and an ace. Dilfer finished with five kills and three blocks.
Kubik was the second-top scorer for Santurce with 16 kills, a block, and one ace. Mancuso had 14 kills and an ace. Fitzmorris added eight kills, two blocks, and an ace.