Women’s pro volleyball: Adams, Novara score Champions League upset; Drechsel leads Venelles
This is our weekly update on USA women playing professional volleyball around the world. The Turkish league is on hold until March:
Novara upset VakifBank 25-19, 17-25, 25-22, 25-23 in the final match of the Champions League pool phase. McKenzie Adams was named MVP and was the second top scorer for Novara with 16 kills (hitting .400). Chiaka Ogbogu had five kills and a match-high five blocks for VakifBank and Kara Bajema had five kills. Novara finished at the top of the group and will advance directly to the quarterfinals. VakifBank will face LKS Lodz in the playoff round.
THY advanced to the quarterfinals by knocking out Busto Arsizio 25-18, 25-22, 25-20. Madi Kingdon was the top scorer for THY with 14 points. Carli Lloyd had two points while setting for Busto Arsizio.
Scandicci (15-4) beat Macerata 20-25, 25-17, 25-17, 25-21 as Haleigh Washington had eight kills, two blocks, and an ace. Symone Abbott had four kills for Macerata (2-17). Reserves Akuabata Okenwa and Claire Chaussee had two kills each.
Chieri (13-6) upset Novara 25-22, 14-25, 25-15, 28-26. Brionne Butler did not play Chieri. McKenzie Adams had 14 kills, two aces and a block for Novara (14-5). Chieri jumped Novara in the standings, based on points. Chieri sits in fourth with 39 points, while Novara fell to fifth with 38.
Conegliano fought past Casalmaggiore to earn a 25-23, 25-13, 26-24 sweep. Kathryn Plummer was the second top scorer for Conegliano (18-1) with 10 kills and a match-high four blocks. Kelsey Robinson-Cook added five kills, a block and an ace. Ali Frantti led Casalmaggiore (9-10) with 14 kills and setter Lauren Carlini added a block.
Milano (15-4) beat Vallefoglia 20-25, 25-15, 25-21, 25-22 as Jordan Thompson had 22 kills and a block. Jordan Larson had nine kills, a block and an ace. Dana Rettke had an ace as a substitute in the third set. Annie Drews led Vallefoglia (7-12) with 20 kills, two blocks and an ace. Setter Micha Hancock had four kills.
Busto Arsizio (9-10) put on a dominant display by sweeping Bergamo 25-17, 25-16, 25-22. Carli Lloyd had two blocks and her offense hit .374. Khalia Lanier had five kills and a block for Bergamo (9-10). Mac May had three kills and an ace.
JT Marvelous fell to Toray 21-25, 25-21, 26-28, 25-19, 15-13. Karsta Lowe came off of the bench to have eight kills in the fourth and fifth sets for JT Marvelous.
Toyota Autobody Queenseis split its weekend matches. Queenseis beat PFU 25-22, 25-21, 20-25, 27-25 as Danielle Cuttino had 27 kills and three blocks. Queenseis then lost to to Hitachi Rivale 22-25, 25-13, 25-14, 26-24) as Cuttino had 16 kills and two blocks.
Venelles upset Mulhouse 22-25, 21-25, 25-23, 25-23, 17-15 to advance to the French Cup semifinals for the first time since 2020. Samantha Drechsel led Venelles with 23 kills and an ace. Setter August Raskie added three kills and a block.
Beziers held off Nancy i25-21, 17-25, 18-25, 25-20, 15-7 to advance to the semifinals. Avery Skinner was named MVP with 20 kills (.457) and two blocks. Setter Madison Lilley sadded two blocks, a kill and an ace. Blake Mohler had nine kills, three blocks and an ace. Justine Wong-Orantes was credited with 45% positive reception. Annayka Legros was the top scorer for Nancy with 19 kills (.586), three blocks and an ace. Shayla Hoeft added seven kills and a block.
Nantes beat TFOC 32-30, 24-26, 25-13, 25-18 to get to the semis for the first time since 2019 as Taylor Mims went off for 30 kills, a block and an ace. Taylor Fricano led TFOC with 21 kills, four blocks, and two aces. Shannon Scully had nine kills and an ace. Kendall White was credited with 73% positive reception.
Cannes rounded out the quarterfinal round with a 25-19, 26-24, 25-20 upset of Paris SC. Carli Snyder had eight kills and two aces for Cannes. Claire Felix had a match-high five blocks to go along with three kills and an ace. Madeleine Gates had five kills and two aces. Jenna Gray set in the match for Cannes and had two aces.
In the French League, Cannes (11-9) dispatched Levallois 19-25, 25-18, 25-14, 25-17 as Snyder was MVP with 13 kills (.414), a block and an ace. Felix had eight kills (.500), two blocks and an ace. Gates contributed seven kills and three blocks. Haylie Bennett led Levallois (2-18) with 16 kills and two blocks.
Nancy (8-12) swept Chamalieres 25-16, 25-18, 25-23 as Legros was second top scorer with seven kills (.875), two aces, and a block. Hoeft had eight kills (.800) and a block.
First-place Nantes (17-3) easily swept France 2024 25-13, 25-20, 25-6 as Mims had seven kills, a block, and an ace.
Mulhouse exacted revenge on Venelles (10-10) by sweeping the second matchup of the week 25-19, 25-20, 25-19). Drechsel led Venelles with 10 kills.
TFOC (15-5) strengthened its playoff position by sweeping Beziers 25-23, 25-23, 25-19 as White was named MVP. Scully was the second top scorer for TFOC with 11 kills and an ace. Taylor Fricano had nine kills and an ace. Avery Skinner led all scorers with 16 kills for Beziers (13-7). Mohler had three kills while Lilley added two. Wong-Orantes was credited with 50% positive reception in the match.
First-place Stuttgart (14-1) beat Potsdam 22-25, 25-18, 25-18, 28-26. Krystal Rivers led with 23 kills and two blocks and Simone Lee had 15 kills (.542) and two blocks.
Suhl ended its losing streak by beating Munster 23-25, 27-25, 25-22, 25-21. Julia Brown led Suhl (4-11) with 21 kills and an ace. Danielle Harbin had 17 kills, a block and an ace. Setter Jenna Ewert had a kill and an acefor Suhl. Zoe Fleck was named MVP in the match for Munster (7-9) in the defeat, its fourth in a row.
Aachen was upset by Erfurt 14-25, 25-20, 25-21, 21-25, 15-8. Ashley Evans had a match-high four aces, three kills, and a block while setting for Aachen (8-7). Jaidyn Blanchfield had 10 kills, a block, and an ace for Erfurt (3-13).
Schwerin escaped by beating Wiesbaden 20-25, 25-23, 25-14, 22-25, 13-15. Lindsey Ruddins was limited to three kills for Schwerin (13-3). Rachel Anderson had eight kills, a block, and an ace for Wiesbaden (6-9).
Olympiacos (13-4) swept Markopoulo 25-20, 33-31, 25-21) as Jaali Winters had 13 kills (.462), a block and an ace. Audriana Fitzmorris had 11 kills for Markopoulo (6-11) and Becca Latham added 10 kills and two aces..
PAOK (16-1) swept Aris 25-16, 25-22, 25-12 as Payton Caffrey had a match-high three aces and nine kills.
Thetis fell to AEK 25-21, 26-24, 25-23. Mariena Hayden led Thetis (8-9) with nine kills, a match-high four aces and a block. Leah Hardeman added seven kills and four blocks.
Santurce swept Ponce 25-19, 25-22, 25-23. Madi Kubik led a balanced attack with 10 kills. Gina Mancuso added nine kills and a block. Nia Robinson was the top scorer in the match for Ponce with 16 kills. Eleanor Holthaus, a replacement signing for Madison Smith, contributed 12 kills and two blocks in the defeat. Setter Jhenna Gabriel recorded seven digs.
Manati won the first of three matches this past week by overcoming Juncos 25-18, 22-25, 25-18, 25-19. Gloria Mutiri led all scorers with 18 kills and two blocks. Callie Schwarzenbach had 10 kills and a match-high six blocks. Mackenzi Welsh added two kills and a block while setting. Naya Gros had six kills for Juncos (1-3). Sabrina Starks had three kills as did setter Natalie Hayward, who also had a block and an ace.
Naranjito beat Caguas 25-21, 14-25, 25-20, 25-19 as Taylor Sandbothe led with nine kills, three blocks and an ace. Lindsey Vander Wiede chipped in eight kills and two aces and setter Saige Ka’aha’aina-Torres had three kills, a block and an ace. Kayla Caffey led Caguas with 11 kills, a match-high four blocks and two aces. Kashuana Williams had 11 kills and a block. Setter Seleisa Elisaia added a kill.
Manati swept Corozal 25-19, 25-19, 25-19 as Mutiri had seven kills, Schwarzenbach added four kills and Welsh had a match-high three aces to go along with two blocks and a kill. Ronika Stone led Corozal with eight kills and a block. Adanna Rollins had seven kills and a block. Setter Tori Dilfer had a kill.
Caguas swept Ponce 25-19, 25-23, 25-20 and Williams was the top scorer with 10 kills, a match-high six aces and a block. Caffey added seven kills, four blocks, and an ace. Elisaia did not play. Robinson led Ponce (0-5) with 15 kills, while Holthaus had 10. Gabriel had an ace.
Naranjito beat Corozal 19-25, 26-24, 20-25, 25-22, 25-10 as Vander Weide had 16 kills and a block. Sandbothe had seven kills and three blocks and Ka’aha’aina-Torres had four kills, two blocks and an ace. Rollins bounced back for Coroza (2-2) to have 20 kills and two blocks. Stone had five kills while Dilfer added four kills, a block, and an ace.
Santurce remained unbeaten by topping Caguas 18-25, 25-14, 25-23, 25-19. Kubik was top scorer with 15 kills, a block, and an ace. Mancuso added six kills and four blocks. Gabby Simpson made her professional debut for Santurce (4-0) and had two blocks and a kill. Caffey led Caguas (2-3) again, this time with11 kills and a block. Williams had nine kills and two blocks. Elisaia sat again.
Naranjito (5-1) also capped off an undefeated week by beating Manati 25-15, 22-25, 25-18, 25-23. Sandbothe had 10 kills, five block, and an ace, while Vander Weide added 10 kills and a block while Ka’aha’aina-Torres had three kills. Schwarzenbach led Manati (3-3) with 11 kills, four blocks and two aces. Mutiri added 11 kills and three blocks. Welsh finished with two kills.