COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 8, 2019) – Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon) and Chiaka Ogbogu (Coppell, Texas) earned gold in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship this weekend, while two-time Olympic star Foluke Akinradewo had a Thanksgiving worth remembering. Find out all the details plus other team news from around the world in the current weekly update.
AKINRADEWO GIVES BIRTH TO FIRST CHILD: Foluke Akinradewo (Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Instagram), an Olympic silver and bronze medalist, and her husband Jonathan Gunderson welcomed their first child, Olukayode Ayodele Gunderson on Thanksgiving (Nov. 28). Akinradewo is aiming to earn a spot on her third Olympic Team this summer.
HILL, OGBOGU WITH CONEGLIANO IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Middle Chiaka Ogbogu (Coppell, Texas, Instagram, Twitter) and outside hitter Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon, Instagram) are playing in the Italian Serie A1 and European Champions League for Imoco Volleyball Conegliano this winter. Hill and Ogbogu helped Conegliano win the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship title on Dec. 8. Conegliano won the gold-medal match 22-25, 25-14, 25-19, 25-21 over Turkish power Eczacibasi. Hill tallied nine kills and two blocks in the title match. To reach the championship match, Conegliano beat another Turkish power VakifBank 25-23, 20-25, 25-23, 21-25, 23-21 in a thrilling semifinal. Conegliano trailed 14-10 in the fifth set and Hill rotated to the service line at 14-11 and pushed her team into the lead at 15-14 and saved 10 set points before winning 23-21. Hill scored 11 kills in the match while serving a team-high 24 times. Ogbogu added a block as a sub in the second set. Conegliano went undefeated in pool play, starting with a 25-20, 25-22, 22-25, 25-21 win over Eczacibasi on Dec. 3. Hill produced 13 kills on 26 attacks in the victory. Hill was named match most valuable player as Conegliano swept Guangdong Evergrande 25-16, 25-22, 25-21 on Dec. 4. Hill provided 14 kills on 26 attacks with a block for 15 points. Ogbogu was tabbed match most valuable player in leading Conegliano to a 25-17, 25-19, 20-25, 22-25, 28-26 marathon win over Itambe Minas on Dec. 6. Ogbogu pounded 13 kills on 23 attacks and added seven blocks for 20 points. Hill was selected to the Dream Team as one of two outside hitters. For the tournament, she notched 56 kills on 123 attacks (45.5 kill percent for fifth-best), three blocks and two aces to ranked 10th in scoring with 61 points. Hill added a 1.76 dig average and was seventh in Best Receiver with a 39.56 receiving efficiency. In the Italian Serie A1, Conegliano (9-0, 26 points), which sits atop the standings with a full two match lead in the loss column, returns to action on Dec. 12 against last place Bartoccini Fortinfissi Perugia (1-7, 5 points) followed by Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri on Dec. 15. In European Champions League, Conegliano (2-0, 5 points) returns to action on Dec. 17 against Pool D leader Nantes (2-0, 6 points).
THOMPSON CONTINUES LEADING CINCINNATI: Jordan Thompson (Edina, Minnesota, Instagram, Twitter) had a breakout season with the U.S. Women’s National Team during its gold-medal run in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League and qualification for the 2020 Olympic Games before heading back for her senior season at University of Cincinnati. After leading Cincinnati to a 24-6 regular season record, Thompson pushed the Bearcats to two more victories to open the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Tournament. Cincinnati rallied to defeat Virginia Commonwealth University 20-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-23 on Dec. 6. Thompson collected 27 kills on 67 attacks, one ace and two block assists while reaching a double-double with 10 digs. In the NCAA second round, Cincinnati rallied to defeat No. 2 ranked (tournament sixth seed) University of Pittsburgh 24-26, 25-21, 16-25, 25-21, 15-13 on Dec. 7. Once again Thompson scored 27 kills via 70 attacks with two block assists. Cincinnati now advances to its first-ever Sweet 16 where it will meet 11th-seeded Penn State University on Dec. 13. Thompson now has 2,596 kills in her four-year career at Cincinnati.
RETTKE LEADING WISCONSIN: Middle Dana Rettke (Riverside, Illinois, Instagram, Twitter), who was part of the U.S. Women’s FIVB Volleyball Nations League gold-medal team along with the 2020 Olympic qualification tournament, has helped University of Wisconsin to a 24-6 record and 18-2 mark in the Big Ten as a junior this season. The Badgers have now advanced to the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Tournament Sweet 16 with two victories this past weekend. The Badgers defeated Illinois State University 25-13, 25-14, 26-24 in the first round on Dec. 6. Rettke provided a .400 hitting efficiency with 13 kills on 25 swings, one ace, one block solo and six block assists for 18 points. Wisconsin followed with a 25-18, 25-21, 25-14 sweep of UCLA in the second round on Dec. 7. Rettke charted 10 kills on 25 swings, a block solo and three block assists for 12.5 points. Wisconsin, the fourth seed in the tournament, will host No. 13 seed Texas A&M on Dec. 13 in the Sweet 16. The match will air live on ESPNU.
COURTNEY, HANCKOCK WITH NOVARA IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Libero/outside hitter Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio, Instagram) and setter Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma, Instagram, Twitter) are playing for Igor Gorgonzola Novara in the Italian Serie A1 and European Champions League this winter. Novara finished the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship in fourth place in Shaoxing, China. Novara rallied to defeat China’s Tianjin Bohai Bank 17-25, 15-25, 25-18, 25-15, 15-11 on Dec. 3. Courtney scored 16 points in the match while Hancock set Novara to a 36.9 kill percent. On the opposite side of the net, 2012 U.S. Olympic silver medalist Destinee Hooker scored six points in starting all five sets. Novara needed five sets again to win its second pool play match after defeating Turkey’s VakifBank 25-21, 25-22, 25-27, 24-26, 15-12. Hancock, the match MVP, set Novara to a 37.4 kill percent while scoring five aces, three blocks and three kills on four swings for 11 points. Courtney scored 13 points with 12 kills on 29 swings and a block. Novara blanked Dentil Praia Clube 25-21, 26-24, 25-19 on Dec. 5 to close out pol play undefeated. Courtney scored nine points with seven kills and two blocks. Hancock set Novara to a 40.0 kill percent while scoring eight points. Novara lost a tough five-set match to Eczacibasi 25-21, 23-25, 25-11, 23-25, 15-13 on Dec. 7 in the semifinals. Courtney scored seven points with five kills and two blocks. Hancock set Novara to a 32.7 kill percent while serving three aces as part of a five-point match. Novara lost to VakifBank 26-24, 25-23, 25-21 in the bronze-medal match. Hancock scored six kills on eight attacks, two aces and a block for nine points while set Novara to a 45.7 kill percent. Courtney added eight kills in the loss. Courtney, who plays as a libero for the U.S. Women’s National Team, ranked 19th in scoring with 45 kills and eight blocks for 53 points. She ranked sixth in Best Receiver with a 43.07 receiving efficiency while adding 2.52 digs per set for eight-best in the tournament. Hancock was 15th in the digging with 2.00 digs per set. In the Italian Serie A1, Novara (6-3, 17 points), now in fourth place, plays ninth-place Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri (3-5, 10 points) on Dec. 12 followed by Bartoccini Fortinfissi Perugia on Dec. 15. In European Champions League, Novara (1-1, 3 points) returns to action on Dec. 17 against Poland’s LKS Comercecon Lodz (2-0, 4 points), which leads Pool C.
WASHINGTON, LOWE WITH BUSTO ARSIZIO IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Middle Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Colorado, Instagram, Twitter) and opposite Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa Fe, California, Instagram) are playing for Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio in the Italian Serie A1 and CEV Cup this winter. Busto Arsizio blanked VK Up Olomouc 25-18, 25-11, 25-20 in the opening match of the CEV Cup 16th Finals Round home-and-home series on Dec. 4 in Italy. Washington totaled nine kills on 12 attacks with a block for 10 points. Lowe, who started just the first two sets, connected for three kills on six swings. Busto Arsizio can close out the series with a victory on Dec. 19 and advance to the 8th Finals Round. Busto Arsizio swept Pomi Casalmaggiore 25-22, 25-17, 34-32 on Dec. 8. Lowe provided 16 kills on 41 swings and a block for 17 points. Washington downed seven kills on 15 swings, two blocks and an ace for 10 points. Busto Arzisio (8-2, 24 points), now in second place, faces fourth-place Saugella Monza (6-4, 18 points) on Dec. 15.
POULTER WITH CHIERI IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Setter Jordyn Poulter (Aurora, Colorado, Instagram, Twitter) is competing for Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri in the Italian Serie A1 for the 2019-20 pro season along with American Amber Rolfzen (Papillion, Nebraska). Chieri lost to Saugella Monza 25-21, 26-24, 25-23 on Dec. 8. Poulter set Chieri to a 34 kill percent while starting the first two sets. Rolfzen turned in four kills on 11 errorless attacks and two blocks for six points. Chieri (3-6, 10 points), in 11th place, takes on league-leader Imoco Volley Conegliano (9-0, 26 points) on Dec. 15.
ALHASSAN WITH CASERTA IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Middle Rhamat Alhassan (Glenarden, Maryland, Instagram, Twitter) is competing for Golden Tulip Volato 2.0 Caserta in the Italian Serie A1 this winter. Caserta lost a heart-breaking 25-17, 25-22, 33-35, 24-26, 15-11 match to Zanetti Bergamo on Dec. 8. Alhassan scored 11 kills on 23 swings with just one error in the match. Caserta (2-8, 8 points), which is in 13th place, challenges seventh-place Savino Del Bene Scandicci (6-4, 16 points) on Dec. 15.
FOECKE WITH FIRENZE IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Outside hitter Mikaela Foecke (West Point, Iowa, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Il Bisonte Firenze in the Italian Serie A1 for the 2019-2020 season. Firenze was idle this past week. Firenze (6-4, 18 points), which is in fifth place, meets 10th-place Lardini Filottrano (4-6, 11 points) on Dec. 15 in its next league match.
CUTTINO WITH CASALMAGGIORE IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Opposite Danielle Cuttino (Indianapolis, Indiana, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Epiu Pomi Casalmaggiore in the Italian Serie A1 during the 2019-2020 pro season. Casalmaggiore lost to Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio 25-22, 25-17, 34-32 on Dec. 8. Cuttino, who started the first two sets and subbed in the third, totaled nine points with seven kills on 18 swings, one block and one ace. Casalmaggiore (6-4, 19 points), which is in third place, returns to action on Dec. 15 against 12th-place Bosca San Bernardo Cuneo (3-7, 9 points).
JONES-PERRY WITH BRESCIA IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Outside hitter Roni Jones-Perry (West Jordan, Utah, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Banca Valsabbina Millenium Brescia in the Italian Serie A1 this winter. Brescia was idle this past week. Brescia (4-6, 11 points), now in ninth place, returns to action on Dec. 14 against eighth-place Zanetti Bergamo (4-6, 12 points).
DREWS WITH JT MARVELOUS IN JAPAN V-LEAGUE: Opposite Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana, Instagram, Twitter) is playing in the Japan V-League this winter with JT Marvelous. JT Marvelous blanked Hitachi Rivale 25-17, 25-16, 25-19 on Dec. 7. Drews tallied nine kills, five of which came from the back-row on seven swings, two blocks and an ace for 12 points. JT Marvelous swept Victorina Himeji 25-18, 25-22, 25-18 on Dec. 8. Drews secured 15 kills on 27 attacks in the victory. JT Marvelous (13-3, 37 points), which is in first place in the Star Conference, resumes action on Dec. 14 against Toyota (11-5, 29 points, second in Star Conference) followed by a Dec. 15 contest versus PFU Blue Cats (3-13, 11 points, fifth in Star Conference).
HANNAH TAPP WITH HITACHI IN JAPAN V-LEAGUE: Middle Hannah Tapp (Stewartville, Minnesota, Instagram, Twitter) is playing with Hitachi Rivale in the Japan V-League this winter. Hitachi lost to Star Conference leader JT Marvelous 25-17, 25-16, 25-19 on Dec. 7. Tapp contributed six kills on 14 swings and two blocks for eight points. Hitachi downed Kurobe Aqua Fairies 25-13, 25-18, 25-16 on Dec. 8. Tapp was stellar on both offense and defense with 12 kills on 16 errorless attempts for a .750 hitting efficiency while adding eight blocks for 20 points. She was named the most valuable player of the match. Hitachi (5-11, 18 points), in fifth place in the Premier Conference, faces Hisamitsu Springs (6-8 points, 20 points, fourth in Premier Conference) on Dec. 14 and Himeji Victorina (3-13, 10 points, sixth in Premier Conference) on Dec. 15.
LEE WITH KUROBE IN JAPAN V-LEAGUE: Outside hitter Simone Lee (Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Kurobe Aqua Fairies in the Japan V-League this winter. Kurobe lost to Victorina Himeji 25-20, 25-20, 25-20 on Dec. 7. Kurobe lost to Hitachi Rivale 25-13, 25-18, 25-16 on Dec. 8. Lee did not play in either match. Kurobe (1-15, 5 points), in sixth place in the Star Conference, challenges Ageo Medics (9-6, 28 points, fourth in Star Conference) on Dec. 14.
CARLINI WITH DINAMO MOSCOW IN RUSSIA LEAGUE: Setter Lauren Carlini (Aurora, Illinois, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Dinamo Moscow in the Russia Super League and the European Champions League. Dinamo swept Sakhalin 25-21, 25-20, 25-14 on Dec. 7. Carlini set Dinamo Moscow to a 41 kill percent while added two aces, one block and one individual kill. Dinamo Moscow (4-4, 14 points), in sixth place, resumes Russia Super League action on Dec. 13 against third-place Proton (7-1, 18 points). In the European Champions League, Dinamo (2-0, 6 points) will play Pool E second-place RC Cannes (2-0, 5 points) on Dec. 17. Dinamo will face Uralochka in the Russia Cup semifinals on Dec. 25.
RIVERS, ROSENTHAL WITH STUTTGART IN GERMAN BUNDESLIGA: Opposite Krystal Rivers (Birmingham, Alabama, Instagram, Twitter) and middle Jenna Rosenthal (Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, Instagram, Twitter) are playing for Allianz MTV Stuttgart in the German Bundesliga and the European Champions League. Stuttgart blanked Erfurt 25-10, 25-17, 25-19 on Dec. 4. Rivers notched 18 points with 14 kills on 20 swings and four blocks. Rosenthal pitched in five kills on seven errorless attacks, here blocks and an ace for nine points. Stuttgart (7-1, 22 points), which remains in first place based in the Bundesliga regular season standings, returns to action on Dec. 14 against Vilsbiburg. Stuttgart has also advanced to the German Cup semifinals where it will face Schwerin on Dec. 11. In European Champions League, Stuttgart (1-1, 4 points) returns to action on Dec. 17 against Khimik Yuzhny (0-2, 1 point), which is in fourth place in Pool C.
WONG-ORANTES WITH SCHWERIN IN GERMAN BUNDESLIGA: Libero Justine Wong-Orantes (Cypress, California, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for SSC Palmberg Schwerin in the German Bundesliga this winter. American Lauren Barfield is also a member of the team. Schwerin defeated Sliedrecht Sport 25-17, 25-17, 25-19 on Dec. 4 in The Netherlands to open their CEV Cup 16th Finals Round home-and-home series. Wong-Orantes was 58 percent positive on 19 receptions, which helped Schwerin to a 52 kill percent as a team. Schwerin can wrap up the series and advance to the next round with a victory on Dec. 17. In the German Bundesliga, Schwerin defeated Straubing 25-21, 25-17, 25-14 on Dec. 1. Wong-Orantes accounted for eight receptions in the victory. Schwerin swept VC Wiesbaden 25-18, 25-16, 25-12 on Dec. 7. Wong-Orantes did not play in the match. Schwerin (7-1, 21 points), which ranks second in the Bundesliga regular season, returns to action on Dec. 14 against third-place Potsdam (7-1, 20 points). Schwerin will meet Stuttgart in the German Cup semifinals on Dec. 11.
KADIE ROLFZEN WITH DRESDNER IN GERMAN BUNDESLIGA: Outside hitter Kadie Rolfzen (Papillion, Nebraska, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Dresdner in the German Bundesliga and the CEV Challenge Cup. Dresdner opened its CEV Challenge Cup 16th Finals Round home-and-home series with a 26-24, 25-22, 25-13 victory over SC Prometey on Dec. 4 in Dresden. Rolfzen contributed 17 points with a 14 kills on 28 swings, two blocks and an ace. She also handled 15 receptions in the victory. Dresdner will have its rematch with SC Prometey on Dec. 18 with the winner advancing the CEV Challenge Cup 8th Finals Round. In the German Bundesliga, seventh-place Dresdner (4-4, 12 points) was idle in league action and returns to the court on Dec. 14 versus Straubing. Dresdner takes on Suhl in the German Cup semifinals on Dec. 11.
SELIGER-SWENSON WITH BEZIERS IN FRENCH LEAGUE: Setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson (Minnetonka, Minnesota, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Beziers in the French League and the CEV Challenge Cup along with American teammate Alexa Smith (Colorado Springs, Colorado). Beziers downed RSR Walferdange 25-17, 25-9, 25-10 on Dec. 4 to open their CEV Challenge Cup 16th Finals Round home-and-home series. Smith collected 13 kills on 19 swings while producing a 40 positive reception percent on 10 chances in the victory. Seliger-Swenson did not player in the match. The teams meet again on Dec. 12 with the winner advancing to the CEV Challenge Cup 8th Finals Round. Beziers swept Mougins 25-23, 25-18, 26-24 on Dec. 7. Seliger-Swenson set Beziers to a 44 kill percent while added two individual kills and a block for three points. Smith was a sub in the first and third sets and recorded three receptions. Beziers (8-3, 25 points), which moved into third place in the French league, returns to action on Dec. 10 against Paris Saint Cloud followed by a Dec. 14 match versus 11th-place Terville Florange (3-8, 10 points).
KINGDON-RISHEL WITH THY IN TURKISH LEAGUE: Outside hitter Madi Kingdon Rishel (Phoenix, Arizona, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Turk Hava Yollari (THY) in the Turkish League this winter. THY swept its home-and-home CEV Challenge Cup 16th Final Round series with Ibsa CV CCO Palmas with two victories last week. In opening match on Dec. 3, THY won 25-22, 25-21, 25-15. In the rematch on Dec. 4, THY won 25-22, 25-19, 25-15 to advance to the CEV Challenge Cup 8th Final Round. Match statistics were not available for either contest. In a break from the Turkish League, THY defeated Besiktas 25-15, 25-18, 25-22 in the opening round of the Kupa Cup on Dec. 7. Kingdon-Rishel produced 17 kills on 37 swings and a block for 18 points in the victory. THY resumes the Kupa Cup on Dec. 11 against Besiktas. In the Turkish League, THY finished the first half of the season in sixth place with a 5-6 record.
ROBINSON WITH FENERBAHCE IN TURKISH LEAGUE: Outside hitter Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Website) is playing for Fenerbahce in the Turkish League and European Champions League this winter. Fenerbahce resumes Champions League action on Dec. 18. In the Turkish league, Fenerbahce (9-2, 26 points) closed out the first half of the season tied for third place.
WILHITE PARSONS WITH SESI BAURU IN BRAZILIAN SUPERLIGA: Outside hitter Sarah Wilhite Parsons (Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Instagram, Twitter) is competing for Sesi Bauru in the Brazilian Superliga this winter. Sesi Bauru defeated Valinhos 25-13, 25-19, 25-18 on Dec. 3. Wilhite Parsons tallied nine kills on 13 swings and an ace in a starting role. Sesi Baru nearly rallied from a two-set deficit against Osasco Audax before falling 29-27, 25-18, 20-25, 20-25, 15-13 on Dec. 6. Wilhite Parsons started the first two sets and scored four kills with a 40 positive reception percent on 10 chances. Bauru (4-3, 14 points), currently in fifth place, returns to action on Dec. 13 against second-place Dentil/Praia Clube (5-0. 15 points).
BENSON WITH NUC IN SWISS LEAGUE: Libero Amanda Benson (Litchfield Park, Arizona) is playing for Viteos Neuchatel UC in the Swiss League and CEV Cup this winter along with American teammates Tia Scambray (Dana Point, California) and Kyra Holt (Hercules, California). Neuchatel UC lost a road match to Minchanka Minsk 25-11, 26-24, 25-22 on Dec. 4 to start its CEV Cup 16th Finals Round home-and-home series. Benson was 56 percent positive on nine receptions. Holt scored 17 kills on 41 attacks while handling 23 receptions. Scambray notched 14 points with 13 kills and an ace. The series concludes on Dec. 18 on Neuchatel’s home court. Neuchatel UC lost to VC Kanti Schaffhaussen 25-18, 21-25, 25-21, 25-19 on Dec. 7. Benson was 63 percent positive on 19 receptions as Neuchatal UC was 36 percent on its attacks. Both Scambray and Holt scored 21 points each in the loss. Neuchatel UC (8-2, 24 points), now in second place, challenges eighth-place Geneve Volley (2-9, 7 points) on Dec. 14 in its next Swiss League match.
LARSON WITH SHANGHAI IN CHINESE LEAGUE: Outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska, Instagram, Twitter) is playing for Shanghai in the Chinese Super League this winter. Shanghai is 1-0 in the four-team Pool E of China’s second-round playoffs. The playoffs took a break from action with the FIVB Club World Championship taking place last week in China with two Chinese teams in the competition.
BARTSCH-HACKLEY, DIXON WITH BEIJING AUTO IN CHINESE LEAGUE: Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Champaign, Illinois, Instagram, Twitter) and middle Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota, Instagram, Twitter) are playing for Beijing Auto in the Chinese Super League this winter. Beijing Auto is 1-0 in the four-team Pool E of China’s second-round playoffs. The playoffs took a break from action with the FIVB Club World Championship taking place last week in China with two Chinese teams in the competition.
LAKE DIGGING RECORDS FOR BYU: Mary Lake (Palm Springs, California, Instagram, Twitter), who played for the U.S. Women during their gold-medal FIVB Volleyball Nations League season and helped Team USA qualify for the 2020 Olympics, is playing her final collegiate season with BYU this fall. BYU won its opening NCAA Division I Volleyball Tournament match by defeating New Mexico State University 25-7, 25-23, 25-19 on Dec. 6. Lake was credited with seven digs in the victory. However, BYU’s season concluded earlier than expected after being upset by state-rive University of Utah 25-15, 25-15, 25-15 on Dec. 7. Lake was credited with 14 digs in the loss. BYU concludes its 2019 season with a 26-5 record.