Women’s pro volleyball: Bajema, VakifBank win Turkish Cup; Plummer, Conegliano in Italy final
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 near their ends:
VakifBank won its third Turkish Cup in a row.
VakifBank advanced to the Turkish Cup final by beating Aydin 26-24, 25-20, 25-16 as Kara Bajema had eight kills (.467) while playing the first two sets. Chiaka Ogbogu came off the bench to have one kill.
Vakifbank then swept Fenerbahce for the title 25-15, 25-23, 29-27. Bajema had nine kills, six in the third set for Vakifbank. Ogbogu did not play due to foreigner limits.
Kathryn Plummer and Conegliano are in the Italian league tournament final.
In the first match of the semifinals, Conegliano cruised past Novara 25-16, 25-22, 26-24 and Plummer was the second-top scorer with 11 kills and two aces. Kelsey Cook added 11 kills and one block. Novara’s McKenzie Adams had a kill.
Conegliano then beat Novara 25-21, 25-18, 20-25, 25-23 as Plummer led with 19 kills, three blocks and an ace. Cook had nine kills. Adams had six kills as Novara’s season ended.
Scandicci plays Milano in winner-take-all match Wednesday for the right to play Conegliano.
Scandicci gained the advantage in the first match of their semifinals series by beating Milano 21-25, 25-12, 25-13, 25-23. Haleigh Washington had four kills and two blocks for Scandicci. Jordan Thompson led Milano with 19 kills, one block and an ace. Jordan Larson added six kills and an ace. Dana Rettke provided a boost with four kills and an ace in her brief appearance.
The Jordans lifted Milano as it bounced back to beat Sandicci 25-22, 23-25, 25-22, 25-21. Larson was named MVP with 10 kills and three blocks. Thompson led Milano as she had 17 kills and an ace. Washington finished with three blocks and two kills for Scandicci.
In the playoff challenge, Firenze opened the group stage with an upset of Chieri (25-19, 25-18, 25-19). Rhamat Alhassan had four kills and two blocks for Firenze. Brionne Butler played two sets but didn’t score for Chieri.
Firenze then advanced to the final with a reverse sweep of Busto Arsizio (21-25, 20-25, 25-19, 25-21, 15-13). Alhassan had three kills and three blocks in a two set appearance. Setter Carli Lloyd had three blocks and a kill for Busto Arsizio.
Casalmaggiore earned its first group stage win by beating Pinerolo 25-18, 25-23, 25-19. Ali Frantti had seven kills and an ace for Casalmaggiore and setter Lauren Carlini had three kills and two blocks.
Bergamo eliminated Pinerolo 25-20, 25-19, 25-17 as Khalia Lanier was named MVP for getting 18 kills (hitting .412) and an ace.
Beziers is out.
Beziers fell to Mulhouse in the first match of their semifinal series in 25-23, 25-14, 25-19 as Avery Skinner had seven kills and Blake Mohler had six. Justine Wong-Orantes was credited with 50% positive reception. Their team was then eliminated with a 28-26, 21-25, 28-26, 25-19 loss to Mulhouse. Skinner led Beziers with 21 kills and a block. Mohler added eight kills and four blocks. Wong-Orantes was credited with 76% positive reception. Setter Madison Lilley contributed one kill and two aces.
Venelles upset defending champion Volero Le Cannet 25-23, 20-25, 25-19, 21-25, 15-13 in their first match as setter August Raskie was named MVP after having two kills, a block,and one ace. Samantha Drechsel added a match-high 16 kills for Venelles and Katelyn Evans had 10 kills and an ace.
Venelles was then wept by Le Cannet (25-20, 25-12, 25-23). Evans had six kills, two aces and a block, Drechsel had one kill in a brief appearance and Raskie had one kill and one ace.
Stuttgart advanced to the German league finals for the eighth year in a row by beating Dresden 25-20, 17-25, 25-18, 25-20. Krystal Rivers led with 22 kills and two blocks. Simone Lee had 10 kills and a block, and Alexis Hart added two kills and a block as a substitute.
Schwerin’s season ended when it was swept by Potsdam (30-28, 25-21, 25-22). Lindsey Ruddins had 18 kills and a block in the defeat.
Santurce claimed game four in the semifinals series as they beat Manati in four sets (20-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-16). Gina Mancuso had 13 kills and two blocks for Santurce, while Madi Kubik had eight kills. Gloria Mutiri led Manati with 13 kills and a block. Callie Schwarzenbach added ten kills and two blocks. Mackenzi Welsh set for Manati and had two kills.
Santurce claimed their spot in the finals as they beat Manati in straight sets (26-24, 25-23, 25-16). Kubik was the top scorer for Santurce as she had 14 kills. Mancuso followed with eight kills, four blocks, and an ace. Audriana Fitzmorris had one block as a substitute. Mutiri led Manati again with 15 kills and a block. Schwarzenbach had nine kills and two blocks, while Welsh set.
Corozal pulled off a 19-25, 23-25, 25-20, 25-23, 15-10 reverse sweep to gain a two-match advantage over Naranjito. Ronika Stone had nine kills and four blocks, Adanna Rollins added 11 kills and a block, and Tori Dilfer set. Shelly Stafford was the second-top scorer for Naranjito with 14 kills and two blocks. Lindsey Vander Weide had12 kills and three blocks. Setter Saige Ka’aha’aina-Torres was credited with three blocks and one kill.
Corozal earned its spot in the finals by sweeping Naranjito 25-17, 25-20, 25-21. Stone had six kills, four blocks, and an ace, Rollins finished with eight kills and Dilfer added two kills and a block. Stafford had nine kills, one block, and an ace for Naranjito. Ka’aha’aina-Torres finished with five kills, one block, and an ace. Vander Weide was limited to five kills and a block as Naranjito’s season ended.
Kyra Holt, who finished as the top scorer in the league, had 14 kills and two blocks as Porto claimed the Portuguese league title by beating Sporting CP 25-19, 25-19, 25-14. Tia Jimerson added 12 kills (.667), one block and an ace. Jimerson finished as the best blocker.
SESC RJ was eliminated by Praia Clube 16-25, 30-28, 26-24, 25-15. Roni Jones-Perry, who had 18 kills and two blocks, finished the season as the best server in the league.
Defending-champion Panathinaikos opened the Greece league finals with a 25-10, 10-25, 25-21, 29-27 win over rival Olympiacos as Adora Anae had eight kills and two aces. Jaali Winters had 13 kills, three blocks and three aces for Olympiacos, which is in the Greek final for the 16th year in a row.