This is our weekly update on USA women playing professional volleyball around the world. Most of the players are former NCAA standouts. Many teams and leagues are on break for the holidays:
Milano bounced back from a slow start to beat Alba Blaj of Romania 20-25, 25-16, 25-21, 25-21. Dana Rettke came off the bench to have three kills (hitting .750) and a block in set four. Jordan Larson was used as a serving substitute, but Jordan Thompson did not play.
VakifBank held off the challenge from Potsdam (Germany) 25-22, 35-33, 20-25, 25-21. Chiaka Ogbogu had 10 kills (.471) and a block and Kara Bajema added 13 kills for VakifBank.
Stuttgart pulled off the upset of the season by beating the Turkish giant Fenerbahce 25-22, 25-23, 18-25, 22-25, 15-10. Krystal Rivers was named MVP after having 23 kills, a block and an ace. Simone Lee came off the bench to contribute eight kills (.467).
THY advanced to the round of 16 by sweeping Switzerland’s NUC Viteos 25-20, 25-20, 25-14. Madi Kingdon had four kills and two blocks for THY. Tessa Grubbs led NUC with 11 kills, three aces and a block. Madeline Haynes added 11 kills and a block while Kayla Lund also had 11 kills.
TFOC also advanced to the next round by sweeping Olomouc (Czech Republic) 28-26, 26-24, 28-26. Shannon Scully had the best match of her professional career so far as she had 20 kills (.436), three blocks, and an ace. Taylor Fricano had 11 kills, two blocks and an ace. Kendall White was credited with 60% positive reception.
Panathinaikos eliminated Nantes to advance to the round of 16 after winning 25-16, 25-18, 23-25, 25-19. Adora Anae led Panathinaikos with 14 kills and added a block. Taylor Mims was the top scorer for Nantes with 13 kills, two blocks, and two aces. Alli Stumler came off the bench to contribute 11 kills. Jaelyn Keene had seven kills and two blocks,
Haifa VC dispatched UVC Holding Graz to advance to the round of 16 as well (25-14, 25-19, 23-25, 25-18). Briana Holman led all scorers with nine blocks and added nine kills (.750) for the Israeli club.
Casalmaggiore moved into sixth place by sweeping Bergamo 25-22, 25-19, 25-23. Ali Frantti had eight kills and three blocks for Casalmaggiore (7-6). Lauren Carlini added two aces, a block, and a kill. Khalia Lanier led Bergamo (6-7) with 10 kills and a block. Mac May added three kills, two aces, and a block.
Chieri stormed past Pinerolo 25-23, 21-25, 25-15, 25-15. Brionne Butler had two kills for Chieri (9-4). Rainelle Jones made her professional debut for Pinerolo (2-11) as a serving sub.
Conegliano (12-1) eased to a sweep over Perugia 25-19, 25-21, 25-11 as Kathryn Plummer had 10 kills (.444) and four aces. Kelsey Cook added four kills, two blocks and an ace. Stephanie Samedy had seven kills and a block for Perugia (2-11).
Cuneo pulled off the biggest upset of the week, beating Novara 25-21, 25-27, 25-21, 17-25, 15-12. Anna Stevenson-Hall had eight kills (.583) and three blocks for Cuneo (6-7). McKenzie Adams returned to league action after injury as a substitute for Novara (10-3).
Vallefoglia (5-8) swept Macerata 25-16, 25-21, 25-17 as Micha Hancock had three blocks, two kills, and an ace. Symone Abbott had 10 kills for Macerata (2-11).
Milano (11-2) cruised past Busto Arsizio 25-19, 25-13, 25-18 as Jordan Larson had seven kills, one block and an ace. Carli Lloyd had no points while setting for Busto Arsizio (5-8).
Scandicci ended the week with its fourth win in a row by beating Firenze 25-23, 25-15, 21-25, 25-21. Haleigh Washington had an errorless 11 kills (.647), two blocks, and two aces for Scandicci (10-3). Rhamat Alhassan was limited to a block and a kill for Firenze (4-9).
THY held off a determined Galatasaray 25-21, 20-25, 25-19, 23-25, 15-7. Kingdon had 16 kills and a block for THY (10-2), which won its fourth match in a row.
Sherridan Atkinson led Nilufer (7-5) past Bolu 15-25, 25-17, 25-22, 25-18. Atkinson led all scorers with 19 kills, two blocks and two aces. Tori Dixon added six kills, a block and an ace for Bolu (2-9).
Eczacibasi easily swept SigortaShop 25-18, 25-16, 25-22. Kelsie Payne had nine kills, a block and an ace for SigortaShop (3-9).
Suhl ended its losing streak by getting past Erfurt 16-25, 25-18, 25-16, 20-25, 15-8). Danielle Harbin led Suh (4-5) with 15 kills, a block and an ace. Maggie Speaks had three kills, a block and an ace as a reserve for Erfurt (1-8).