WNT Update: Finding CEV Champions League Success
Updates on U.S. women's volleyball players competing for professional club teams around the world.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 15, 2022) – Vero Volley Monza in Italy’s women’s league announced that U.S. Women’s Team Captain Jordan Larson is joining their team for the final months of the 2021-22 season.
Larson will join another recent Monza acquisition, middle blocker Dana Rettke, who won the NCAA Championship with the University of Wisconsin in December.
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Rettke debuted with Monza in a CEV Champions League match on Feb. 3. She started the first three sets and scored four points on four kills as Monza fell to Turkey’s VakifBank Istanbul, including outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley and middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu, 3-1 (21-25, 25-17, 25-17, 25-12).
Bartsch-Hackley scored 12 points on 11 kills and one ace. She was credited with 21 receptions, 71 percent positive. Ogbogu scored 12 points on 10 kills (.769 hitting efficiency) and two blocks.
Rettke made her Italian women’s league debut on Feb. 6 in a match against Prosecco Doc Imoco Volley Conegliano with U.S. outside hitters Megan Courtney and Kathryn Plummer.
Rettke scored 15 points on 10 kills (.600) and three blocks as Monza won 3-1 (23-25, 25-20, 27-25, 25-13). Plummer scored six points on six kills for Conegliano and Courtney played as a substitute.
Rettke earned her first Italian league MVP award on Feb. 12 when Monza beat Savino del Bene Scandicci, 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 31-29). She scored 14 points on 13 kills (.619) and one block.
Monza now leads the league at 14-4.
Conegliano (14-2) is in second place. On Feb. 12, Conegliano beat Unet E-Work Busto Arsizio (11-7) with setter Jordyn Poulter, 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-23). Plummer scored 17 points on 15 kills, one block and one ace. She was credited with 25 receptions, 76 percent positive.
Igor Gorgonzola Novara (13-2), with setter Micha Hancock and middle Haleigh Washington, sits in fourth place in the league. On Feb. 12, Novara beat Bosca S.Bernardo Cuneo, 3-0 (25-16, 25-23, 25-19). Hancock scored four points on four aces and set Novara to a .364 hitting efficiency. Washington did not play.
CEV CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Three teams with U.S. players have advanced to the quarterfinals of the CEV Champions League.
Reigning champion Conegliano advanced with a perfect 6-0 record in pool play. In their final pool play match on Feb. 15, Conegliano beat Poland’s Grupa Azoty Chemik Police, 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-22). Plummer started the first set and scored two points on a kill and a block. Courtney started the first two sets and scored six points on five kills and one block. U.S. outside hitter Dani Drews, who played for Police, scored 13 points on 13 kills and was credited with 18 receptions, 44 percent positive.
VakifBank also advanced with a 6-0 record. On Feb. 15, VakifBank beat France’s ASPTT Mulhouse, 3-0 (25-11, 25-18, 25-21). Bartsch-Hackley was named match MVP as she scored 12 points on nine kills (.750) and a match-high three blocks. She was credited with 26 receptions, 50 percent positive. Ogbogu scored 11 points on eight kills (.615), one block and a match-high two aces.
Monza advanced with a 4-2 record. Its only losses were to VakifBank. On Feb. 15, it beat Finland’s LP Salo, 3-0 (25-21, 25-13, 25-23). Rettke started the first two sets and scored three points on three kills.
Turk Hava Yollari (THY), with outside Madi Kingdon Rishel, setter Lauren Carlini and middle Tori Dixon, finished pool play 3-3 and did not advance. In its final pool play match on Feb. 15, it took a big comeback win over VK Dukla Liberec of Czech Republic, 3-2 (23-25, 16-25, 25-16, 25-23, 15-10). Kingdon Rishel and Carlini both entered the match in the second set and started the final three sets. Kingdon Rishel scored 15 points on 15 kills. She was credited with 20 receptions, 45 percent positive. Carlini scored five points four kills and one block and helped set THY to a .343 hitting efficiency.
Igor Gorgonzola Novara, which shared the pool with THY, finished in second place at 4-2 but did not advance. They lost their final match to Russia’s Dinamo Moscow, 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-22). Washington scored five points on three kills and two blocks. Hancock started the first two sets and helped set Novara to a .248 hitting efficiency.
The quarterfinal matchups will be determined by draw on Friday.
VakifBank (16-2) is in second place in the league. On Feb. 12, VakifBank beat Nilufer Bld., 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-20). Bartsch-Hackley started the first two sets and scored five points on four kills and one block. Ogbogu did not play.
On Feb. 8, VakifBank beat Bolu Bld., 3-0 (25-7, 25-20, 25-27, 25-17). Ogbogu led all scorers with 19 points on 12 kills (.688) and a match-high seven blocks.
Turk Hava Yollari (THY), with outside Madi Kingdon Rishel, setter Lauren Carlini and middle Tori Dixon, is in third place at 15-4. On Feb. 11, THY beat Karayollari, 3-0 (25-17, 25-15, 25-21). Kingdon Rishel finished with 12 points on 12 kills. She was credited with 13 receptions, 77 percent positive.
The Japanese league is slowly getting back in action after a long COVID delay. While opposite Annie Drews and JT Marvelous remain in first place (16-2), the big news is that outside hitter Kelsey Robinson and the Toyota Auto Body Queenseis have won four matches and moved into 11th place in the 12-team league.
On Feb. 13, the Queenseis beat Victorina Hemeji, 3-1 (25-23, 25-27, 25-23, 25-23). Robinson 30 points on 28 kills, one block and one ace.
Drews and JT Marvelous got their 16th win on Feb. 13, beating the Denso Airybees, 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-14). Drews scored 14 points on 13 kills and one ace.
Middle Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson and Hisamitsu Springs (11-6) beat the Okayama Seagulls, 3-0 (25-23, 31-29, 31-29) on Feb. 12. Akinradewo scored 23 points on 22 kills and one block.
Opposite Danielle Cuttino and Itambé Minas (13-3) beat Country Club Valinhos on Feb. 14, 3-1 (25-18, 20-25, 25-12, 25-13). Cuttino led all scorers with 11 points on 10 kills and one block.
Middle Rachael Adams and Osasco São Cristóvão Saúde (14-12) beat Esporte Clube Pinheiros, 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-22) on Feb. 11. Adams scored six points on five kills and one block.
Libero Justine Wong-Orantes and Wiesbaden have not played a match since Jan. 21 due to COVID. They are scheduled to play again on Feb. 19 against Aachen.