International Women: Bartsch-Hackley’s Vakifbank, Plummer’s Imoco Advance; 34 wins for Drews; 27 for Ramp

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:

Champions League

Vakifbank withstood a fierce challenge from Rzeszow 25-15, 25-19, 23-25, 25-23. Michelle Barstch-Hackley had 15 points for Vakifbank, contributing 10 kills (hitting .318), four blocks and an ace. She was also the game’s leading passer, passing 71% positives on 17 receptions. Chiaka Ogbogu was held to two wins (.125) and one block. For Rzeszow, Kara Bajema had 16 points with 14 kills (.355), a block and an ace as her team was eliminated.

Vakifbank advances to the semi-finals, where he will face Fenerbahce at the end of March.

Imoco Conegliano lost but it will pass.

Imoco dominated Monza and won the second leg 25-19, 22-25, 25-16, 25-17. Kathryn Plummer had 12 kills (.286), a block and an ace for Imoco. Her teammate Megan Courtney-Lush had a kill (.250) in a brief substitute appearance. For Monza, Jordan Larson finished with six wins (.211). Dana Rettke added two kills (.111) and a block.

Imoco Conegliano’s two potential quarter-final opponents were Russian teams, which were excluded from the CEV competition. This advanced Imoco Conegliano directly to the final, which will take place at the end of May.

Kathryn Plummer has her hands up and her eyes closed for this photo block/cev.eu

CEV Cup

A shorthanded Stuttgart couldn’t match Eczacibasi’s firepower and lost in the first leg of the CEV Cup final 25-19, 22-25, 25-20, 25-17. Krystal Rivers was absent for Stuttgart. Simone Lee led Stuttgart with 18 points, contributing 14 kills (.226), three aces and a block. T’Ara Caesar added six kills (.080) and an ace. For Eczacibasi, McKenzie Adams had eight kills (.333), three aces and a block.

The second leg of the CEV Cup final will take place on Tuesday, March 22.

Turkey

Aydin defeated Nilufer 25-21, 27-25, 22-25, 25-17. Anna Stevenson had seven kills, hitting .583. It was the third straight win for Aydin, who improved to 11-13. Aydin jumped to seventh place.

THY easily beat Mert Grup Sigorta, winning 25-21, 25-20, 25-16. Madi Kingdon-Rishel played the first two sets, contributing seven kills (.200) and an ace. Lauren Carlini completed all three sets while contributing four kills (1,000). She set THY to hit .385. THY improved to 19-5 while remaining in fourth place.

Vakifbank defeated PTT 25-21, 21-25, 25-16, 25-17. Barstch-Hackley and Ogbogu did not play. Vakifbank improved to 22-2 after winning their 13th straight league game.

Italy

Novara beat Trentino 23-25, 25-13, 25-22, 25-21. Haleigh Washington was the top blocker with seven. She also added six wins (.545) while being named MVP. Micha Hancock contributed two kills while leading Novara to hit .300. August Raskie had a block for Trentino as she led them to hit .217. Novare (20-2) remains at the top of the Italian championship with 58 points. Trentino (4-20) remains in the relegation zone with just 16 points.

Bergamo came back strong to upset Cuneo in five, 21-25, 18-25, 27-25, 25-15, 15-12. Khalia Lanier was the top scorer with 16 kills, hitting .217. Mackenzie May added 13 kills, hitting .281 and was named MVP. Bergamo improved to 7-16 with their third win in four attempts and sit 11th, three points above the relegation zone.

Chieri held off Casalmaggiore to win 25-16, 28-26, 21-25, 25-23). Ali Frantti had 16 kills (.433), two blocks and an ace. His teammate Rhamat Alhassan added 12 kills (.800) and two blocks. Chieri improved to 13-10 after his third straight win and sits sixth with 39 points.

Monza bounced back from their Champions League disappointment to sweep Perugia 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-18). Larson added seven kills (.333) and an ace. Rettke had five kills (.000) and three blocks. Monza (18-6) remain in third place with 57 points.

Imoco Conegliano got revenge for a previous loss to Florence 19-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-16. Plummer came off the bench to be Imoco’s top scorer with 17 points. She had 13 kills (.156), two blocks and two aces. Courtney-Lush had four kills (.083) in a brief appearance. Imoco (20-3) remains in second place, behind Novare.

Japan

In a midweek matchup, JT Marvelous held off Hisamitsu Springs 22-25, 25-20, 25-21, 22-25, 17-15. Annie Drews had 34 kills (.385), three blocks and two aces for JT Marvelous when she was named MVP. Foluke Akinradewo-Gunderson had 12 kills (.375) and two blocks for Hisamitsu Springs.

Toyota Autobody Queenseis has split its weekend games. In the first match, Queenses won 18-25, 25-22, 25-22, 26-24 against Himeji. Kelsey Robinson had 30 kills (.397), a block and an ace. In the second match, Queenseis fell to Toray 25-22, 25-22, 22-25, 26-24. Robinson added 18 kills (.286) and two blocks. Queenseis finished the weekend at 8-23, in 10th place.

NEC Rockets swept their weekend games. In Game 1, NEC swept Denso 25-16, 25-22, 25-15. Sarah Wilhite-Parsons found her form with 17 kills (.615) and one block. In the second game. NEC swept PFU 25-21, 25-14, 25-18. Wilhite-Parson’s hot hand continued as she had 18 kills (.381), two aces and a block. NEC improved to 21-8 and sit in third place.

JT Marvelous swept Ageo 25-21, 25-21, 25-17 in their only game of the weekend. Drews finished with 17 kills (.432), one block and one ace as she was again named MVP. JT Marvelous still leads the league at 23-5.

Hisamitsu Springs also swept their two weekend games, starting by beating PFU 25-11, 25-19, 25-20. Akinradewo-Gunderson had seven kills (.538) and four blocks. In the second game, Hisamitsu swept Denso 25-19, 25-21, 25-21. Akinradewo-Gunderson added 13 kills (.619) and one block in the game. Hisamitsu Springs improved to 19-8 and is in fourth place.

Hannah Tapp and Hitachi Rivale matches have been postponed due to COVID.

Germany

Wiesbaden beat Suhl 25-22, 15-25, 25-13, 22-25, 15-11 to secure their position in the German league playoffs. Justine Wong-Orantes led Wiesbaden in passing with 62% positive reception from 13 attempts. Wiesbaden (11-10) has all but clinched a playoff berth, sitting in seventh place with one game to play.

Schwerin swept Straubing 25-20, 25-20, 25-11. Lindsey Ruddins was named MVP as she had 13 kills (.364). Stephanie Samedy was the leading scorer with 13 error-free kills (.500), one block and one ace. Symone Speech contributed two kills (.287), two blocks and an ace. Schwerin (16-5) won its eighth straight game and sits in third place. Samantha Cash was named MVP for Straubing, after finishing with seven points.

Samantha Cash, bundesliga.de

Erfurt swept Neuwied 25-21, 25-22, 25-17. Kennedy Eschenberg had three kills (.125), two blocks and two aces for Erfurt (6-14) as he won his third game in five attempts.

Dresdner played against Stuttgart in the German Cup final. Stuttgart came away with a relatively one-sided sweep, winning 25-17, 25-15, 25-15. Lee was named MVP as she was the top scorer with 20 points. She had 15 kills (.480), three aces and two blocks. Rivers was active and added 13 kills (.500) and two blocks. Cesar did not play. Jenna Gray and Madeleine Gates struggled with Dresdner’s poor reception. Gates finished with four kills (.800) and two aces. Gray added a kill as Dresdner hit .210 in the game.

Poland

LKS Lodz played two games last week. In the first match, LKS Lodz defeated Legionowo 25-23, 24-26, 25-16, 25-22. Veronica Jones-Perry had 14 kills (.400), two aces and a block in that game. In the second match, his team swept Bielsko-Biala 25-21, 25-22, 25-19. Jones-Perry added six kills (.111), a block and an ace. LKS Lodz finished the regular season with a 22-15 record and will start the playoffs with the third seed.

Rzeszow will face Chemik Police on Monday to end their regular seasons. If a fifth set is avoided, the winner will take first place in the playoffs. Rzeszow will claim the first seed if a fifth set is needed.

Brazil

Minas finished the regular season with a 25-22, 25-19, 25-14 sweep over Brasilia Volley. Danielle Cuttino did not play. Minas finished the regular season in second place.

Osasco also finished the regular season with a sweep by defeating Maringa 25-9, 25-20, 26-24. Rachael Adams had three kills (.111) and four blocks. Osasco finished the regular season in fourth position.

Minas will face Barueri while Osasco will face SESC-Flamengo in their best of three quarter-finals.

Around Europe

Taylor Bannister was named Hungarian Cup MVP as she led Vasas to victory. In the final, Vasas defeated Szent Benedek 25-23, 22-25, 25-21, 25-19. Bannister had 27 kills (.375), two blocks and an ace in the Finals.

Sm’Aesch Pfeffingen advanced to the Swiss playoff final with a sweep over Schaffhausen. Madison Duello had nine kills (.280), two blocks and an ace. Lauren Barfield added seven kills (.875), a block and an ace.

Pfeffingen will face in the final NUC Viteos, led by Samantha Drechsel, Tia Scambray and Kyra Holt. NUC Viteos advanced to the finals after their streak was affected by COVID cancellations.

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