USA Volleyball Bringing VNL Excitement Back to the U.S.
International volleyball returns to the United States in a big way next summer when USA Volleyball will host two major events as part of the 2023 Volleyball Nations League (VNL)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 20, 2023) – Leagues are moving deeper into the playoffs and the CEV Cup was awarded in this week’s update.
Haleigh Washington and Italy’s Savino Del Bene Scandicci won the CEV Cup on April 12 after taking two victories over Romania’s CS Volei Alba Blaj in the final series.
Scandicci won the first match in Romania 3-1 (25-12, 25-19, 21-25, 26-18). Washington scored nine points on nine kills, nine blocks and one ace. In the second match at home 3-1 (25-18, 25-12, 25-11) on April 12. Washington scored 10 points on seven kills, two aces and one block.
Middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu, outside hitter Kara Bajema and Türkiye’s VakifBank qualified for the finals of the CEV Champions League after winning two semifinal matches over Türkiye’s Fenerbahce Opet.
On April 6, visiting Opet beat VakifBank 3-0 (25-10, 25-23, 25-20). Bajema scored five points on three kills and two blocks. She was credited with 16 receptions, 44 percent positive. Ogbobu scored two points on two kills.
On April 13, VakifBank beat Open 3-0 (25-22, 25-14, 25-22) and then won a golden set 15-12 to break the tie. Bajema was named match MVP after scoring 13 points on 10 kills, two aces and one block. She was credited with 19 receptions, 53 percent positive.
VakifBank will play Türkiye’s Eczacibasi Dynavit in the final on May 20 in Turin, Italy.
Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano (25-1) with outside hitters Kelsey (Robinson) Cook and Kathryn Plummer and opposite Stephanie Samedy won the regular-season league title. They have advanced to the playoff semifinals after beating eighth-place E-Work Busto Arsizio (12-14) with setter Carli Lloyd 2-0 in the quarterfinals.
Washington and Savino Del Bene Scandicci (21-5) placed second in the regular season. They beat seventh-place Volley Bergamo 1991 with U.S. outside hitters Mac May and Khalia Lanier 2-0 in the playoff quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals.
Vero Volley Milano (20-6), with opposite Jordan Thompson, outside hitter Jordan Larson and middle Dana Rettke finished the regular season in third place. They are tied with 1-1 in the playoff quarterfinals with sixth-place Trasportipesanti Casalmaggiore (12-14) with setter Lauren Carlini and outside Ali Frantti.
Milano won their first quarterfinal match 3-2 (25-19, 22-25, 25-20, 18-25, 15-12). Rettke entered the match as a substitute in the fourth set and started the fifth. She scored seven points on seven kills and was named the match MVP. Casalmaggiore won the second match 3-2 (30-28, 25-18, 20-25, 23-25, 15-12). Frantti finished with 17 points on 17 kills. She was credited with 29 receptions, 62 percent positive. Carlini scored three points on three kills and set her team to a .286 hitting efficiency. Thompson played as a substitute, then started the final three sets and led her team with 20 points on 18 kills and two blocks.
Their third match will be April 23.
Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri (18-8) with middle Brionne Butler finished fourth in the regular season. They are playing Igor Gorgonzola Novaro in the quarterfinals. On April 19, Novara beat Chieri 3-2 (17-25, 19-25, 25-22, 25-18, 15-8). Butler played as a substitute. U.S. outside hitter McKenzie Adams started the final three sets and scored 12 points on seven kills and a match-high five aces.
Their second match will be April 22.
In the challenge playoff for the teams that finished ninth-12th in the regular season, Il Bisonte Firenze with middle Rhamat Alhassan beat Cuneo Grande San Bernardo with middle Anna Hall and outside hitter Dani Drews, 2-0. Firenze (9-17) finished the regular season in 10th and San Bernardo (9-17) was 11th.
Il Bisonte Firenze won the second match 3-0 (25-15, 25-20, 25-21). Alhassan scored 11 points on six kills and a match-high five blocks. Hall scored six points on three blocks, two kills and one ace. Drew started the second and third sets and scored five points on five kills. She also had 20 receptions, 75 percent positive.
Megabox Ond. Savio Vallefoglia with opposite Annie Drews and setter Micha Hancock finished the regular season ninth and is tied 1-1 in their challenge playoff with 12th-place Wash4green Pinerolo.
Vallefoglia won the first match on April 15, 3-1 (27-25, 23-25, 25-12, 25-21). Drews led her team with 22 points on 20 kills, one block and one ace. Hancock scored one points with a kill and set the team to a .391 hitting efficiency.
The teams will play their deciding match on April 22.
The league has one more round of matches left in the regular season. VakifBank (22-3) with Chiaka Ogbogu and Kara Bajema, is in second place behind Eczacibasi Dynavit (25-0).
On April 18, VakifBank beat Kuzeyboru 3-0 (25-23, 25-15, 25-17). Ogbogu did not play. Bajema scored 10 points on 10 kills (.562). She was credited with 14 receptions, 57 percent positive.
Türk Hava Yollari (18-7) with outside hitter Madi Kingdon Rishel is in fourth place. On May 18, THY beat Galatasaray HDI Sigorta, with outside hitter Logan Eggleston, 3-1 (25-21, 25-23, 13-25, 25-20). Kingdon Rishel led her team with 18 points on 17 kills and one block. She was credited with 41 receptions, 41 percent positive. Eggleston led all scorers with 23 points on 21 kills and two aces. She was credited with 29 receptions, 35 percent positive.
Galatasaray HDI Sigorta (16-9) is in fifth place in the league.
Nilüfer Belediyespor (14-11) with U.S. opposite Sherridan Atikinson and outside hitter Brooke Nuneviller is in sixth place in the league. On April 19, it beat Bolu Belediyesi (4-21)) with middle Tori Dixon 3-1 (25-14, 25-13, 19-25, 25-23). Atkinson led all scorers with 21 points on 17 kills, three blocks and one ace. Nuneviller added 10 points on nine kills and one ace. Dixon scored 11 points on nine kills, one block and one ace.
Beziers (17-9) with U.S. libero Justine Wong-Orantes, setter Madison Lilley, outside hitter Avery Skinner and middle Blake Mohler finished the regular season in fourth place.
The team won two best-of-three quarterfinal matches against Terville Florange with libero Kendall White, opposite Taylor Fricano, setter Taira Ke’Alohilani Robins-Hardy and outside hitter Shannon Scully, knocking Florange from the playoffs.
Beziers will play Mulhouse in the semifinals beginning April 26.
Cannes (14-12) with setter Jenna Gray, outside hitter Carli Snyder and middles Madeleine Gates and Claire Felix finished the regular season in eighth place but fell to Mulhouse 2-0 in the quarterfinals.
Outside hitter Sarah Wilhite Parsons and the NEC Red Rockets will play the Toray Arrows for the league championship on April 22.
Toray finished the regular season in first place at 26-7. NEC finished fourth at 23-10 but went 2-1 in the round-robin playoff to advance to the final.
U.S. opposite Danielle Cuttino with the Toyota Auto Body Queenseis finished as the league’s leading scorer with 788 points. The Queenseis finished out of the four-team playoff as did opposite Karsta Lowe and JT Marvelous.
Setter Tori Dilfer Stringer and outside hitters Ronika Stone and Adanna Rollins are playing for Corozal (12-5), which finished the regular season in second place and has advanced to the playoff semifinals against Naranjito.
Corozal won the first semifinal match on April 19, 3-2 (25-21, 25-21, 22-25, 22-25, 15-10). Rollins led Corozal with 23 points on 15 kills, five aces and three blocks.
American Lindsey Vander Weide scored 22 points, including four blocks, for Naranjito. Shelly Stafford added 12 points.