Kathryn Plummer attacks
Kathryn Plummer attacks for Italy's Prosecco Doc Imoco Volley Conegliano. Photo courtesy of the CEV

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 5, 2022) – Turkey’s VakifBank Istanbul, including outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley and middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu, won its first CEV Champions League semifinal match on March 31.

VakifBank beat its Turkish League rival Fenerbahçe Opet, 3-1 (25-21, 25-20, 22-25, 25-18). Bartsch-Hackley scored 18 points on 17 kills (.500) and one block. She was credited with 21 receptions, 48 percent positive. Ogbogu added 10 points on seven kills, two blocks and one ace.

The teams will play again on April 6 to determine which will advance to the final.

VakifBank overcame Developres Rzeszów of Poland to advance from the quarterfinals. Rzeszów won the first quarterfinals match, 3-2 (13-25, 29-27, 19-25, 29-27, 15-13) but VakifBank came back to win the second match, 3-1 (25-15, 25-19, 23-25, 25-23), and advanced to the semis.

Italy’s Prosecco Doc Imoco Volley Conegliano with U.S. outside hitters Megan Courtney and Kathryn Plummer advanced directly to the Champions League final.

Conegliano will not have to play any semifinal matches after Russian teams were eliminated from the tournament as a reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In the quarterfinals, Conegliano won two matches over Italy’s Vero Volley Monza, including outside hitter Jordan Larson and middle blocker Dana Rettke.

On March 9, Conegliano beat Monza, 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-19). Plummer scored 12 points on 10 kills (.435 hitting efficiency) and two aces. Courtney played as a substitute. Larson led Monza with 16 points on 14 kills (.464 hitting efficiency), one block and one ace. Rettke score five points on four kills and one block.

On March 17, Conegliano beat Monza, 3-1 (25-19, 22-25, 25-16, 25-17). Plummer scored 14 points on 12 kills, one block and one ace. She was credited with 10 receptions, 50 percent positive. Courtney played as a substitute and scored one point on a kill. Larson scored six points on six kills for Monza. She was credited with 16 receptions, 88 percent positive. Rettke started the first three sets and scored three points on two kills and one block.


Congratulations to three-time Olympian and silver medalist Stacy Sykora who was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco on March 12.

Sykora grew up in Burleson, Texas, and played volleyball and basketball and ran track at Texas A&M.

Congratulations to two-time Olympian and two-time medalist Christa Harmotto Dietzen who will be inducted into the Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame on April 30.

Harmotto Dietzen was named the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Female Athlete of the Year in 2005 while she was at Hopewell High School. She was a three-time AVCA All American at Penn State.


The Italian league finished its regular season over the weekend. The playoff quarterfinals will begin April 10.

Setter Jordyn Poulter has not been playing for Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio since suffering an apparent knee injury a month ago. The team finished the regular season in fifth place at 16-10 and qualified for the playoffs.

Prosecco Doc Imoco Volley Conegliano (23-3) with Courtney and Plummer won the regular season standings. In their final match on April 2, it beat Volley Bergamo 1991, 3-0 (25-13, 28-26, 25-16). Plummer scored 14 points on 12 kills (.545), one block and one ace. She was credited with 16 receptions, 56 percent positive. Courtney played as a substitute.

Igor Gorgonzola Novara (23-3), with setter Micha Hancock and middle Haleigh Washington, finished second in the league. In their final match on April 2, Novara beat Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri 3-0 (25-12, 25-19, 25-21). Washington scored eight points on four kills, two blocks and two aces. Hancock scored two points on two kills and set Novara to a .422 hitting efficiency. American Rhamat Alhassan scored three points on three kills for Chieri.

Vero Volley Monza (20-6) with Larson and Rettke finished in third. In its final regular season match, Monza beat Delta Despar Trentino, 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 29-27). Rettke scored five points on three kills and two blocks. Larson did not play.


VakifBank won the Turkish league regular season with a 24-2 record. On April 3, VakifBank beat Kuzeyboru, 3-1 (22-25, 25-15, 25-13, 25-21). Ogbogu started the final three sets and scored nine points on five kills and four blocks. Bartsch-Hackley started the first set and scored one point with an ace.

Ogbogu finished the regular season leading the league in kill percentage at 63 percent.

Turk Hava Yollari (THY), with outside Madi Kingdon Rishel, setter Lauren Carlini and middle Tori Dixon, finished in fourth place at 21-5. On April 2, THY beat PTT, 3-0 (25-18, 25-13, 25-14). Kingdon Rishel scored 14 points on 11 kills, two blocks and one ace. Dixon scored five points on four kills and one block. Carlini scored five points on four blocks and one kill. She set THY to a .415 hitting efficiency.

THY will play VakifBank in the first round of the playoffs.

Kingdon Rishel announced on April 4 that she has re-signed with THY for next season.


JT Marvelous (27-6) with opposite Annie Drews won the regular season league title in Japan. The team finished the regular season on April 3 with a victory over the PFC BlueCats, 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-18). Drews scored 20 points on 19 kills and one ace.

Hisamitsu Springs (23-10) with middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson finished the regular season in third place and qualified for the “final stage.”

In its final regular season match, Hisamitsu Springs beat the NEC Red Rockets with outside hitter Sarah Wilhite Parsons, 3-1 (26-24, 25-20, 17-25, 25-21). Akinradewo scored 19 points on 19 kills. Wilhite Parsons started the first two sets and scored eight points on seven kills and one block.

The Red Rockets (23-10) finished fourth in the league and did not advance.

Hitachi Rivale (14-19) with middle blocker Hannah Tapp finished seventh. In its last match of the season, Hitachi Rivale beat the Kurobe Aqua Fairies, 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-23). Tapp finished with 12 points on nine kills and three blocks.

The Toyota Auto Body Queenseis (10-23) with outside hitter Kelsey Robinson finished in 10th place. In its final match on March 26, Toyota beat the Saitama Ageo Medics, 3-2 (21-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-27, 17-15). Robinson scored 33 points on 29 kills and four blocks.


VC Wiesbaden (12-10) with libero Justine Wong-Orantes finished seventh in the regular season and will face No. 2 Dresden in the playoff quarterfinals starting April 6.

In its final match of the regular season, Wiesbaden beat Straubing, 3-0 (25-18, 25-11, 25-22). Wong-Orantes was credited with nine receptions, 56 percent positive.


Opposite Danielle Cuttino and Itambé Minas (18-4) finished the regular season in second place in the league. Middle Rachael Adams and Osasco São Cristóvão Saúde (16-6) finished in fourth.

In the league quarterfinals, Itambé Minas beat Barueri Volleyball Club, 2-0. In the second match on March 29, Itambé Minas won, 3-2 (22-25, 22-25, 25-20, 25-19, 15-4). Cuttino started the first four sets and scored 11 points on 11 kills.

Itambé Minas will play Barueri Volleyball Club in the semifinals, which begin April 8.

São Cristóvão Saúde fell to SESC RJ Flamengo in the quarterfinals, 2-1. In the final match on April 1, São Cristóvão Saúde lost 3-1 (28-26, 25-18, 13-25, 25-20). Adams scored 14 points on 11 kills and three blocks.


Libero Morgan Hentz is in sixth place after three weeks of play in the Athletes Unlimited U.S. women’s volleyball league.

Former national teamer and USA Volleyball Board of Directors member Cassidy Lichtman is in seventh place at outside hitter. U.S. Olympic opposite Karsta Lowe is in eighth and Olympic setter Carli Lloyd is in 17th.

Outside hitter Dani Drews, who has played on the U.S. Women’s Collegiate National Team, is currently in the lead.

Keep up with Athletes Unlimited and find out where to watch the matches at auprosports.com.