June 9, 2023

Women’s pro volleyball: Big weeks for Thompson, Lanier, Mims, Jones-Perry, Bell

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

CEV Champions League

Fenerbahce eased past VakifBank in the first match of the semifinal series 25-10, 25-23, 25-20. Kara Bajema was limited to three kills and two blocks for VakifBank and teammate Chiaka Ogbogu had two kills.


Scandicci got one step closer to the CEV Cup title by beating Alba Blaj in the first leg of the final series 25-12, 25-19, 21-25, 25-18. Haleigh Washington had four kills, four blocks and an ace for Scandicci. Kaitlyn Hord had six kills (hitting .500), four blocks and an ace for Alba Blajt.


Imoco Conegliano ended the regular season in first place by sweeping Perugia 25-21, 25-15, 25-20. Kathryn Plummer had seven kills, two blocks and an ace for Conegliano (25-1) and Kelsey Robinson-Cook added nine kills and a block.

Kelsey Cook attacks for Imoco Conegliano against Perugia/Bartoccini Fortinfissi photo

Milano finished on a high note by sweeping Busto Arsizio 25-22, 25-11, 25-19. Jordan Thompson was named MVP for Milano (20-6) as she had 12 kills (.455), a block and an ace. Carli Lloyd had one block while setting for Busto Arsizio (12-14).

Scandicci bounced back from conceding a late lead in the fourth set to beat Firenze 25-21, 25-14, 20-25, 24-26, 15-7. Washington did not play for Scandicci (21-5). Rhamat Alhassan was the second-top scorer for Firenze (9-17) with 14 kills and two blocks.

Novara (19-7) overcame a slow start to beat Cuneo 21-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-17. McKenzie Adams came off the bench to have 11 kills, a block and an ace. Anna Stevenson-Hall had four kills for Cuneo (9-17)  in a two-set appearance. Dani Drews had one block as a substitute.

Vallefoglia ended the regular season by sweeping Macerata 25-22, 26-24, 25-17. Annie Drews led Vallefoglia (11-15) with 12 kills, two aces and a block. Setter Micha Hancock added four kills, one block, and an ace. Claire Chausee led Macerata (3-23) with 18 kills (.400).

Khalia Lanier powered Bergamo )12-14) past Casalmaggiore 26-24, 26-24, 18-25, 25-17 with 21 kills, two blocks and an ace. Mac May had one block as a substitute. Ali Frantti had 14 kills and two aces for Casalmaggiore (12-14). Setter Lauren Carlini added three kills, two blocks and an ace while setting.


SigortaShop (5-18) earned a key win in its battle to avoid relegation by beating Ilbank 21-25, 25-18, 25-15, 25-18). Kelsie Payne had 13 kills and an ace and Marin Grote added 10 kills, two blocks and an ace.

Kelsie Payne attacks for SigortaShop against Ilbank

PTT upset THY 25-16, 17-25, 25-20, 21-25, 15-8 as Madi Kingdon Rischel had 13 kills, one block, and an ace for THY (16-7).

Nilufer (12-11) swept Kuzeyboru 28-26, 25-21, 25-15. Sherridan Atkinson had 15 kills (.500) and three blocks and Brooke Nuneviller added 11 kills. Annie Mitchem led Kuzeyboru (9-14) with 16 kills.

VakifBank held second place by sweeping Galatasaray 25-21, 25-23, 25-23. Chiaka Ogbogu had two blocks as a substitute for VakifBank (20-3) and Kara Bajema had one kill as a substitute. Logan Eggleston had seven kills and a block for Galatasaray (15-8).


NEC Red Rockets its opening matches of the Japanese league playoff round. In the first match, NEC lost to top seed Toray 25-18, 25-19, 25-18 as Sarah Wilhite-Parsons had seven kills and two block NEC bounced back to beat Hisamitsu Springs in 25-13, 25-20, 25-23 and Wilhite-Parsons had eight kills, two aces and a block.


The German league playoffs began as Schwerin swept Munster in the first quarterfinal match 25-12, 25-18, 25-18. Lindsey Ruddins led with 12 kills (.706) and two aces. Zoe Fleck was credited with 25% positive reception for Munster.

Stuttgart cruised past Vilsbiburg 25-17, 25-15, 25-21) as Simone Lee and Krystal Rivers had 15 points each. Lee had 11 kills, two blocks and two aces, while Rivers had 14 kills and an ace.

Suhl had the week’s only upset by beating Potsdam 25-21, 25-17, 25-19. Danielle Harbin had 16 kills and two blocks. Julia Brown added 10 kills and an ace. Suhl setter Jenna Ewert finished with two aces.


Mulhouse dashed Nancy’s playoff hopes by ending the regular season with a 25-21, 25-20, 25-15 sweep. Annayka Legros had 12 kills (.556), two aces and a block for Nancy (13-13). Shayla Hoeft chipped in five kills.

Venelles (15-11) secured the seventh seed by beating Chamalieres 25-23, 19-25, 25-19, 25-18 and setter August Raskie was named MVP after getting a kill and an ace. Teammate Samantha Drechsel led with 15 kills and two blocks.

Nantes (19–7) clinched the third seed by beating Beziers 25-22, 24-26, 25-20, 25-27, 15-13. Taylor Mims went off for 33 kills and added two aces and a block. Blake Mohler had seven kills and two blocks for Beziers (17-9). Avery Skinner had seven kills and a block in a three-set appearance. Justine Wong-Orantes was credited with 57% positive reception.

Cannes (14-12) upset Paris SC 25-19, 26-24, 25-18 to win a playoff spot. Madeleine Gates was named MVP as she had eight kills (.615) and a block. Carli Snyder was the top scorer with 13 kills, two blocks and an ace. Claire Felix added four kills, four blocks, and an ace. Setter Jenna Gray contributed three blocks and an ace.

TFOC (18-8) survived a 25-11, 21-25, 24-26, 25-23, 15-7 battle with Saint Raphael to earn the fifth seed as Taylor Fricano led with 18 kills, two blocks and two aces. Shannon Scully added 10 kills, two aces and a block. Kendall White was credited with 60% positive reception. Malina Terrell had 14 kills and a block for Saint Raphael (11-15), which ended it season.


Roni Jones-Perry was named MVP as she led SESC RJ past Fluminense in the first match of the quarterfinals 25-17, 25-20, 25-20. Jones-Perry had 11 kills, four aces and a block.


NUC Viteos won the first match of the finals series 25-18, 25-27, 25-20, 25-16 over Dudingen. Tessa Grubbs had 23 kills and two blocks. Kayla Lund added 12 kills and two aces. Jasmine Gross had seven blocks and added six kills. Madeline Haynes finished with nine kills, three blocks, and two aces.

Puerto Rico

Manati pulled a reverse swep to upset Caguas in their first quarterfinal match 11-25, 22-25, 31-29, 25-21, 15-11. Callie Schwarzenbach led with a match-high seven blocks and had six kills. Glorida Mutiri added 10 kills while setter Mackenzi Welsh had two. Nia Reed made her debut for Caguas and had 19 kills. Kash Williams followed with 15 kills and a block. Kayla Caffey contributed seven kills, three blocks, and three aces.

Naranjito started its playoff campaign with a sweep over Juncos 25-18, 25-22, 25-22 as Lindsey Vander Weide had 11 kills and four blocks and Shelly Stafford added 10 kills and a block, while setter Saige Ka’aha’aina-Torres had two blocks and a kill. Naya Gros was the second-top scorer for Juncos with eight kills and two blocks. Setter Natalie Hayward had five digs.

Manati is up 2-0 as it pulled off a second upset in as many tries by beating Caguas again in their quarterfinal series, this time 26-24, 25-18, 23-25, 25-15. Mutiri was the second-top scorer for Manati with 13 kills and four blocks. Schwarzenbach followed with 13 kills. Welsh contributed three blocks and an ace. Caffey led Caguas with 10 kills, four blocks and an ace. Nia Reed added seven kills and two blocks. Williams did not play.

South Korea

Khat Bell and Expressway Co. Hi-Pass claimed the Korean league title in an exciting 23-25, 25-23, 25-23, 23-25, 15-13 finale and won the series 3-2. Bell was named the MVP after getting 30 kills and two blocks.