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Women’s pro report: Drews starts hot in Japan; Rettke leads Milano; Samedy sparkles

This is our weekly update on USA women playing professional volleyball around the world. Most of the players are former NCAA standouts:


The Japanese League started the same way as Annie Drews left it in 2021, with Drews powering JT Marvelous to victory. In the first match Drews had 17 kills (.444), two aces, and a block as JT Marvelous swept Queenseis. Drews followed that with 17 kills (.571), a block and an ace in a sweep against Ageo.

McKenzie Adams made her Japan debut and helped lead Hisamitsu Springs to two victories. In the first match, Adams had 18 kills, two blocks, and an ace in a four-set win over Ageo before more than 7,000 fans. Hisamitsu Springs then swept Queenseis and Adams had 14 kills (.481) and two blocks.


In the blockbuster match of the week, Milano held off Scandicci 27-25, 25-18, 25-27, 22-25, 16-14 and Dana Rettke was named MVP for having13 kills with no errors, hitting .722. Kara Bajema came off the bench to provide a boost to Milano in the fourth and fifth sets and had six kills (.750) and a block.

Dana Rettke

Milano plays Conegliano in the Italian Super Cup at 11:30 a.m. Eastern on Saturday and it can be seen on (Use promo code VOLLEYBALLMAG for a discount on monthly or annual subscriptions).

Conegliano and Kelsey Cook, who had 14 kills and three aces, beat Chieri in four. Khalia Lanier had 12 kills, while Kathryn Plummer did not play. Avery Skinner was the second-top scorer for Chieri with 14 kills and one block. Madi Kingdon added 12 kills and an ace.

Cuneo lost to Vallefoglia in four. Anna Stevenson-Hall led Cuneo with 11 kills (.500), four blocks, and an ace. Madi Kubik was credited with 67% positive reception as a sub.

Firenze got its first win by sweeping Bergamo. Lauren Stivrins had three kills.

Roma squandered a two-set lead and won the fifth 15-13 against Busto Arsizio. Courtney Schwan had three kills and a block for Roma.


In the first matches of the week, VakifBank survived against the newly promoted Besiktas, claiming the fifth set 15-9. Chiaka Ogbogu had nine kills (.500) and three blocks for VakifBank. Ali Frantti had four kills and a block as a sub. Jordan Thompson played briefly and had no stats.

Kuzeyboru upset THY in four sets. Sarah Parsons led with 24 kills (.373) and an ace.

Lauren Carlini was unable to help Aydin beat Cukurova, finishing with a block and an ace in the four-set loss.

Lauren Carlini, left, blocking for Aydin against Cukurova/TVF photo

Muratpasa upset Nilufer, 17-15 in the fifth. Stephanie Samedy had a career day with 30 kills (.338). Micaya White was limited to four kills.

In the second batch of matches, VakifBank easily swept Galatasaray. Thompson had six kills and three aces, while Frantti and Ogbogu did not play. Logan Eggleston had seven kills, a block and an ace to lead Galatasaray. Danielle Cuttino was limited to just six kills and had 11 hitting errors.

Payton Caffrey helped lead PTT past Besiktas with 18 kills (.421), two blocks, and two aces.

Payton Caffrey attacks for PTT/TVF photo

Aydin were unable to pull off the massive upset and fell to league titan Eczacibasi in five sets. Carlini contributed two kills and a block.

Simone Lee single-handedly helped Sariyer beat Muratapasa with 26 kills (.615) and a block in just four sets. Samedy kept her hot form as she had 18 kills, a block and an ace to lead Muratpasa. White added two kills.

Simone Lee, right, goes to block Stephanie Samedy/TVF photo

Kuzeyboru lost for the first time this season when it was swept by Fenerbahce. Parsons had seven kills and an ace.

CEV Challenge Cup

Kash Williams had 12 kills as PAOK (Greece) advanced to the round of 32 by beating Olympiada (Cyprus) in four sets.

Galatasaray swept Kairos (Portugal) to advance. Cuttino was second-top scorer with 11 kills, two aces and a block. Eggleston added 11 kills and an ace. Heather Gneiting had six kills (.714) and an ace.

Panathinaikos (Greece) overcame a tough matchup with Zwolle (Netherlands) to advance to the next round. Sherridan Atkinson led Panathinaikos with 18 kills, two blocks and an ace.

Nantes (France) eliminated Kuusamo (Finland) in their round-of-64 matchup. Taylor Mims led Nantes with 20 kills (.375) and three blocks. Jaelyn Keene had a match-high seven blocks, along with seven kills and an ace. Carlyle Nusbaum led Kuusamo with 17 kills. Amiya Jones added seven kills (.600) and an ace.

Thetis (Greece) was eliminated by Nilufer in one of the tougher matchups in the first round. Mariena Hayden had nine kills and two aces for Thetis in the five set loss. Amber Olsen set for Thetis, adding three kills.


Schwerin swept Potsdam, which got three blocks and two kills from Breland Morrissette. Danielle Harbin came off the bench to have eight kills. Justine Wong-Orantes was credited with 58% positive reception and was named silver MVP.

Justine Wong-Orantes, right/Volleyball Bundesliga photo

Aachen fell to Wiesbaden 26-24, 25-21, 25-23. Gabby Goddard led Aachen again as she had six kills (.455) and three blocks. Jaidyn Blanchfield was top scorer for Wiesbaden with 14 kills, a block and an ace. Izabella Rapacz added 10 kills and an ace. Rachel Anderson finished with seven kills and three blocks.

Stuttugart swept Vilsbiburg as Krystal Rivers had 10 kills and two aces. Alexis Hart contributed one kill as a sub.

Tia Jimerson’s hot start to the season continued as Dresdner swept Munster. Jimerson led with nine kills, five blocks and three aces. Grace Frohling followed with nine kills. Gloria Mutiri came off the bench to have six kills and a block for Munster. Jenna Ewert had three kills while setting. Zoe Fleck was credited with 75% positive reception on four passes.


Nantes held off a valiant effort from Beziers as they won in five sets. Mims led Nantes again with 26 kills, two aces and a block. Keene did not play. Taylor Fricano had 12 kills and a block for Beziers. Serena Gray followed with nine kills and two blocks. Molly Lohman made her first start of the season and had five kills and a match-high five blocks. Ella May Powell set for Beziers and had one kill.

Mulhouse cruised to a sweep over the newly-promoted Quimper. Jaali Winters was top scorer for Muhlouse with 13 kills (.458) and an ace. Carli Snyder added three kills and three blocks. 

Katelyn Evans was named MVP as Nancy beat Chamalieres in four. Evans had 17 kills, two blocks and two aces, Shayla Hoeft added five blocks and five kills and Breana Runnels contributed nine kills and a block. Saige Ka’aha’aina-Torres continued setting for Nancy and had three kills and two blocks. Sabrina Starks had six kills and two blocks for Chamalieres while Kari Zumach had four kills and two blocks.

Emily Thater had 10 kills (.833), three blocks, and three aces for Levallois Paris SC, but her team lost in five to Le Cannet.


Mac May’s hot form continued with 22 kills (.432) and a block as Budowlani Lodz beat Tarnow in four.