COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 4, 2022) – Hisamitsu Springs with U.S. middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson won Japan’s women’s league championship after winning one match in the final round over JT Marvelous with opposite Annie Drews.
Due to positive COVID cases on both teams, only one finals match was played on April 10. Hisamitsu won 3-1 (25-23, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23). Akinradewo scored 25 points on 20 kills and a match-high five blocks. Drews led all scorers with 32 points on a match-high 29 kills, two blocks and one ace.
Akinradewo was named Best Spiker.
Prior to the start of the league playoffs, VakifBank Istanbul, including outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley and middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu, won the Turkish Cup, beating Fenerbahçe Opet in the final, 3-2 (21-25, 25-21, 25-13, 27-29, 17-15) on April 17.
That was a preview for the league final, which has VakifBank once again battling Fenerbahçe Opet. The two are tied 1-1 in the best-of-five series.
Most recently on May 3, VakifBank beat Open, 3-1 (25-16, 19-25, 25-21, 25-20). Bartsch-Hackley scored six points on five kills and one ace. She was credited with 26 receptions, 54 percent positive. Ogbogu did not play. The teams will play again on May 6.
VakifBank advanced to the finals by beating Turk Hava Yollari (THY), with outside Madi Kingdon Rishel, setter Lauren Carlini and middle Tori Dixon, 2-0 in the semifinals. THY went on to finish fourth in the playoffs.
The Italian League playoffs are down to the finals with Prosecco Doc Imoco Volley Conegliano with Megan Courtney and Kathryn Plummer playing Vero Volley Monza, including outside hitter Jordan Larson and middle blocker Dana Rettke.
The best-of-five final series is tied 1-1. Conegliano won the most recent match on May 3, 3-2 (23-25, 24-25, 25-16, 25-20, 15-10).
Plummer scored 17 points on 15 kills, one block and one ace. She was credited with 33 receptions, 45 percent positive. Courtney started sets three and five and played as a substitute, scoring two points on two kills. She recorded 14 receptions, 64 percent positive.
For Monza, Larson scored 12 points on 12 kills and was credited with 15 receptions, 60 percent positive. Rettke started the first three sets and scored five points on four kills and one ace.
The teams will play again on May 7.
Monza advanced to the final by beating Igor Gorgonzola Novara, with setter Micha Hancock and middle Haleigh Washington, 2-1 in the semifinals.
In the third and deciding match, Monza won 3-2 (24-26, 21-25, 25-22, 25-23, 15-12). Larson scored 11 points on 11 kills and was credited with 12 receptions, 67 percent positive. Rettke added 11 points on five kills, three blocks and a match-high three aces.
Washington totaled 18 points on a match-high seven blocks, one ace and 10 kills. Hancock scored four points on three kills and one block. She set Novara to a .320 hitting efficiency.
CEV CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Turkey’s VakifBank Istanbul will take on Italy’s Prosecco Doc Imoco Volley Conegliano in the final of the CEV Champions League on May 22 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Conegliano got a bye into the final after Russian teams were removed the tournament in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
VakifBank split two semifinal matches with its Turkish rival Fenerbahçe Opet. VakifBank won the first match, 3-1 (25-21, 25-20, 22-25, 25-18) on March 31. Opet won the second match, 3-0 (25-14, 25-20, 28-26). However, VakifBank came back to win a golden set, 15-11, to advance.
VC Wiesbaden with libero Justine Wong-Orantes fell to Dresden in the playoff quarterfinals, 2-0, ending its season on April 9. In the final match, which Wiesbaden lost 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, 25-22), Wong-Orantes was credited with 11 receptions, 55 percent positive.
Opposite Danielle Cuttino and Itambé Minas won the Brazil league playoffs, defeating Dentil/Praia Clube 2-0 in the best-of-three final. Itambé Minas won the final match 3-1 (26-24, 18-25, 25-15, 25-17) on April 29.
U.S. athlete Nia Reed who played for Sesi Vôlei Bauru was honored as Best Opposite.