WNT Update: Americans in European Champions League

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | Nov. 19, 2018, 12:52 p.m. (ET)

Chiaka Ogbogu attacking in the Polish League
U.S. Women's National Team middle Chiaka Ogbogu continues to roll in the early going of the Polish professional league.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 19, 2018) – The U.S. Women’s National Team will have players on six teams playing in five European Champions League matches this week as the double-round robin main phase begins on Wednesday.

QUICK SETS

  • Paige Tapp notched nine kills in leading Stuttgart to a must-win European Champions League third-round match against Blaj. Stuttgart went on to win the golden set that same day to earn a spot into the Champions League main phase.
  • The U.S. Women’s National Team has players on six of the 20 remaining Champions League teams. The Champions League main phase begins this week.
  • Kelsey Robinson helped VakifBank to two victories in the Turkish League. For the week, she cashed in on a .696 hitting efficiency (17-1-23). Robinson has transitioned back to being an outside hitter for her club team after being stellar at libero for the U.S. Women’s National Team in her first year at the position.
  • In the latest FIVB World Ranking, the USA dropped one spot to third behind top-ranked Serbia and second-ranked China. For the full rankings, click here.

TRIVIA QUESTION: Which current U.S. Women’s National Team member did not play club volleyball prior to college, instead on concentrating on playing USA Volleyball High Performance, high school volleyball and other prep sports?

CEV CHAMPIONS LEAGUE MAIN PHASE BEGINS THIS WEEK: The U.S. Women’s National Team will be well-represented in the European Champions League main phase, which begins this week with six clubs having at least one National Team member. All matches will be available for live streaming on www.flovolleyball.tv.

WILHITE, PAIGE TAPP, RIVERS AND McCAGE WITH MTV STUTTGART IN GERMAN BUNDESLIGA: Outside hitter Sarah Wilhite (Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Twitter, Instagram), middles Molly McCage (Spring, Texas, Twitter, Instagram) and Paige Tapp (Stewartville, Minnesota, Twitter, Instagram), opposite Krystal Rivers (Birmingham, Alabama) and setter Madi Bugg are playing for Allianz MTV Stuttgart in the German Bundesliga. All but Bugg played for the U.S. Women in the 2018 season. In the European Champions League third round home-and-home finale, Stuttgart defeated CSM Volei Alba Blaj 25-19, 25-17, 25-11 on Nov. 13 in a must-win contest to force a golden set immediately after the match. Stuttgart carried the momentum from match win into the golden set by winning 15-7. Tapp came up huge with 18 points, including nine blocks and nine kills on 12 attacks. Rivers added 12 kills on 31 swings, one block and one ace for 14 points. In the third set and golden set alone, Tapp scored seven of her nine blocks to go with three kills. McCage tacked on five kills on 11 errorless swings and six blocks for 11 points. Bugg set Stuttgart to a 44 kill percent and .307 hitting efficiency. Wilhite did not play in the match. Blaj was the 2018 European Champions League silver medalist. Stuttgart now advances to the main phase where it is part of Pool A with VakifBank, Beziers and Maritza Plovdiv. Stuttgart opens the double-round robin format against VakifBank on Nov. 22. Stuttgart dominated VCO Berlin 25-11, 25-20, 25-9 on Nov. 18 in its second German Bundesliga match. Wilhite tallied eight kills on 14 swings and an ace for nine points. Tapp added six kills on eight swings and two blocks in playing the first and third sets. McCage scored two kills on three attacks and a block in starting just the second set. Rivers added a kill and block as a sub in the third set. Stuttgart returns to Bundesliga action on Dec. 2 against Munster.

BENSON WITH DRESDNER IN GERMAN BUNDESLIGA: Libero Amanda Benson (Litchfield Park, Arizona, Twitter, Instagram) is playing for Dresdner SC in the German Bundesliga this winter. Dresdner is also competing in the CEV Cup this winter. Dresdner defeated Aachen 25-18, 25-17, 25-18 on Nov. 17 in Bundesliga action. Benson handled six receptions with a 67 positive reception percent, helping Dresdner to a 49 kill percent as a team. Dresdner resumes Bundesliga action on Nov. 21 against Vilsbiburg. Dresdner faces Italy’s Yamamay E-Work Busto Arsizio in the CEV Cup 16th Finals Round home-and-home series on Nov. 28 and Dec. 5.

ROBINSON WITH VAKIFBANK IN TURKISH LEAGUE: Outside hitter Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California, Twitter, Instagram, Website) is playing club volleyball with VakifBank in the Turkish professional league and European Champions League this winter. VakiBank swept Galatasaray 25-23, 25-18, 25-18 on Nov. 14. Robinson scored seven kills on 13 errorless swings to go with two blocks for nine points. She handled nine receptions as part of a 56 positive reception percent. VakifBank blanked Aydin B.Sehir Bld. 25-13, 25-18, 25-21 on Nov. 17. Robinson cashed in 12 points with 10 kills on 16 attacks and two blocks. She was credited with a 54 positive reception percent on 13 chances. For the week, Robinson held a .696 hitting efficiency (17-1-23). VakifBank (5-0), one of two teams undefeated in the Turkish League, resumes its domestic league schedule next week by challenging 10th-place Nilufer (1-4) on Nov. 24. VakifBank begins European Champions League action on Nov. 22 against Germany’s Allianz MTV Stuttgart. Next month VakifBank will be competing in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship Dec. 4-9 in Shaoxing, China. Robinson has launched her own website, nomandplay.com on her passions for play, travel and food. To read more about her website, click here.

LARSON AND GIBBEMEYER WITH ECZACIBASI IN TURKISH LEAGUE: Outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska, Twitter, Instagram) and middle Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minnesota, Twitter, Instagram) are competing with Eczacibasi in the Turkish League this winter. Larson is serving as the team’s captain. Eczacibasi swept Fenerbahce 26-24, 27-25, 26-24 in a hard-fought three-set match on Nov. 13 where all three sets were settled by two points. Gibbemeyer, who was a sub in the first set and started the final two sets, tallied four blocks in the victory. Larson, who started the opening set, did not produce a point in her limited action. Eczacibasi downed THY 25-14, 25-21, 25-23 on Nov. 16. Larson slammed nine kills on 24 swings and an ace for 10 points. Gibbemeyer was a sub briefly in the third set. Eczacibasi (5-0), in first place in the Turkish League, returns to domestic league action on Nov. 24 against 11th-place Canakkale (1-4) . Eczacibasi opens the European Champions League on Nov. 11 against Russia’s Uralochka-NTMK Ekaterinburg in Pool B action. Next month Eczacibasi will be competing in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship Dec. 4-9 in Shaoxing, China.

DREWS AND LEE WITH BEYLIKDUZU IN TURKISH LEAGUE: Opposite Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana, Twitter, Instagram) and Simone Lee (Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, Twitter, Instagram) are competing with Kameroglu Beylikduzu Voleybol Ihtisas alongside fellow American setter Kelly Hunter in the Turkish League for the 2018-19 season. Beylikduzu lost to THY 29-27, 25-20,2 5-23 on Nov. 13. Drews charted 13 points with 10 kills on 40 swings and three blocks. Lee added 11 points with nine kills on 22 attacks and two blocks. She was credited with a 50 positive reception percent on 16 chances. Hunter set Beylikduzu to a 30 kill percent and added two blocks. Beylikduzu bounced back to defeat Canakkale 26-24, 26-24, 25-20 on Nov. 17. Lee scored a team-best 20 points with 17 kills on 41 attacks, two blocks and an ace. She was credited with a 59 positive reception percent after handling 32 of the team’s 65 receptions. Drews added 18 points in the victory with 16 kills on 38 swings and two blocks. Hunter set Beylikduzuo to a 43 kill percent and chipped in one block, one ace and one kill for three points. Beylikduzu (2-3), now in seventh-place, returns to Turkish League action on Nov. 24 against fourth-place Karayollari (3-2).

LLOYD WITH PRAIA CLUBE IN BRAZIL: Setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California, Instagram) is playing for Praia Clube in the Brazilian Superliga this winter. Praia Clube also has former U.S. Women’s National Team member Nicole Fawcett playing at opposite. Praia Clube opened its Brazilian Superliga schedule with a 25-14, 25-18, 25-16 victory over Volei Balneario Camboriu on Nov. 16. Lloyd set Praia Clube to a 51 kill percent and .440 hitting efficiency. She added two individual kills on two attacks in the victory. Fawcett turned in five kills on 18 swings and three blocks for eight points. Praia Clube has two matches this week starting with Curitiba Volei on Nov. 20 followed by BRB Brasilia Volei on Nov. 23. Praia Clube opens its Superliga season on Nov. 16 against Volei Balneario Camboriu. Next month Praia Clube will be competing in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship Dec. 4-9 in Shaoxing, China.

HILL WITH CONEGLIANO IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Outside hitter Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon, Instagram) is playing for Imoco Volley Conegliano in the Italian Serie A1 this winter. Further, 2012 Olympic silver medalist Megan Hodge Easy (Boston) is competing for Conegliano. Conegliano topped Zanetti Bergamo 25-14, 25-16, 25-20 on Nov. 14 in Italian League action. Hill cashed in 10 points with nine kills on 18 swings and a block. She was also credited with an 86 positive reception percent on 14 chances. Easy did not play in the match. To watch highlights of the match, click here. Conegliano remained undefeated in the Italian Serie A1 with a 26-24, 26-24, 25-23 victory over Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri on Nov. 18. Easy, who started the first two sets, scored five kills on 11 attacks and a block for six points. She was credited with an 80 positive reception percent on five chances. Hill, who came off the bench as a sub in the second set and started the third set, provided three kills and a block. She handled nine reception with a 56 positive percent. To watch video highlights of the match, click here. Conegliano (4-0, 12 points), in second place with one match less played than league-leader Igor Gorgonzola (5-0, 14 points), faces 10th-place Lardini Filottrano (1-4, 3 points) on Nov. 25 in its next Italian Serie A1 match. Conegliano and Novara meet on Nov. 28. Conegliano is also part of the European Champions League and opens Pool D against Italian rival Savino Del Bene Scandicci on Nov. 21.

BARTSCH-HACKLEY, CARLINI WITH NOVARA IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Champaign, Illinois, Twitter, Instagram) and setter Lauren Carlini (Aurora, Illinois, Twitter, Instagram) are playing for Igor Gorgonzola Novara in the Italian Serie A1 and the European Champions League this winter. Novara rallied to defeat Club Italia Crai 21-25, 22-25, 25-19, 25-10, 15-6 on Nov. 14. Bartsch-Hackley, who was a sub in the second set before starting the final three sets, notched four kills, one ace and one block for six points. She also handled 18 receptions in the victory. Carlini set Novara to a 51 kill percent as a team and added three individual kills on four swings and a block for four points. For video highlights of the match, click here. Novara earned a 25-21, 19-25, 25-18, 25-21 victory over Lardini Filottrano on Nov. 18. Barstch-Hackley totaled 13 points with 10 kills on 25 swings and three blocks. Carlini set Novara to a 46 kill percent and .323 hitting efficiency. She added two individual kills on four attacks, one block and one ace for four points. To watch video highlights of the match, click here. Novara (5-0, 14 points), which is two points ahead of second-place Imoco Volley Conegliano who they play on Nov. 28, will meet eighth-place Il Bisonte Firenze (3-2, 8 points) on Nov. 24 in its next Italian Serie A1 match. Novara opens European Champions League action on Nov. 22 against Poland’s Budowlani Lodz.

ADAMS AND HANCOCK WITH TEAM MONZA IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Middle Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio, Twitter, Instagram) and setter Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma, Twitter, Instagram) are playing for Saugella Team Monza in the Italian Serie A1 and CEV Challenge Cup this winter. Team Monza lost a heart-breaking 20-25, 24-26, 32-30, 25-15, 15-12 match to Il Bisonte Firenze on Nov. 14. Adams tallied seven kills on 19 attacks and five blocks for 12 points. Hancock, who was a sub in the first two sets before starting the final three sets, tallied one block in the loss. To watch highlights of the match, click here. Team Monza came back from the loss to defeat Bosca San Bernardo Cuneo 26-24, 22-25, 25-19, 25-15 on Nov. 17. Adams charted nine kills on 19 attacks, two blocks and an ace for 12 points. Hancock set Team Monza to a 36 kill percent while adding four aces, two kills on five attacks and a block for seven points. To watch video highlights of the match, click here. Team Monza (3-3, 10 points), in sixth place, meets fourth-place Savino Del Bene Scandici (4-1, 12 points) on Nov. 25 in its next Italian Serie A1 match. In the CEV Challenge Cup, Monza will face Austria’s Prinz Brunnenbau Volleys Perg on Nov. 28 to start its 16th Finals Round home-and-home series.

COURTNEY AND HANNAH TAPP WITH BERGAMO IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Libero/outside hitter Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio, Instagram) and Hannah Tapp (Stewartville, Minnesota, Twitter, Instagram) are playing for Zanetti Bergamo in the Italian Serie A1 during the 2018-19 pro season. Bergamo lost to Imoco Volley Conegliano 25-14, 25-16, 25-20 on Nov. 14. Courtney contributed 12 points in the loss with 11 kills on 28 swings and a block. Tapp added two blocks and a kill for three points in starting the first two sets. Bergamo bounced back to defeat Banca Valsabbina Millenium Brescia 25-21, 26-24, 22-25, 25-23 on Nov. 18. Tapp amassed a team-leading 16 points with seven kills on 14 swings, six blocks and three aces on 21 serves. Courtney added 10 kills on 28 swings while being credited with a 50 positive reception percent on 16 chances. To watch video highlights of the match, click here. Bergamo (1-5, 3 points), now in 11th place, will face Bosca San Bernardo Cuneo on Nov. 25 in its next league match.

WASHINGTON WITH BRESCIA IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Middle Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Colorado, Twitter, Instagram) is playing for Banca Valsabbina Millenium Brescia in the Italian Serie A1 this winter. Brescia lost a tough five-set match (15-25, 27-25, 25-22, 18-25, 15-12) on Nov. 14 to Bosca San Bernardo Cuneo. Washington, who came of the bench as a sub in the second set and started the final three sets, tallied four kills and a block for five points in the loss. For video highlights of the match, click here. Brescia lost to Zanetti Bergamo 25-21, 26-24, 22-25, 25-23 on Nov. 18. Washington provided Brescia with eight kills on 18 swings, two blocks and two aces for 12 points. To watch video highlights of the match, click here. Brescia (3-3, 10 points), now in seventh-place, is idle next week.

WHITNEY WITH FILOTTRANO IN ITALIAN LEAGUE: Opposite Aiyana Whitney (Norwood, New Jersey, Twitter, Instagram) is playing for Lardini Filotrrano in the Italian Serie A1 this winter along with American Courtney Schwan. Filottrano lost to Pomi Casalmaggiore 25-21, 25-19, 25-22 on Nov. 14. Whitney powered down 12 kills on 29 attacks to go with two blocks for 14 points. For video highlights of the match, click here. Filottrano lost its second match of the week by falling to Igor Gorgonzola Novara 25-21, 19-25, 25-18, 25-21 on Nov. 18. Whitney collected 16 points with 13 kills on 36 attacks, two aces and a block. Schwan, as a sub in the first and third sets, added three kills on five swings. To watch video highlights of the match, click here. Filottrano (1-4, 3 points), in 10th-place, will now face second-place Imoco Volley Conegliano (4-0, 12 points) on Nov. 25.

OGBOGU WITH CHEMIK POLICE IN POLAND: Middle Chiaka Ogbogu (Coppell, Texas, Twitter, Instagram) is playing for Chemik Police in the Polish League and European Champions League this winter. Chemik Police eased past E.Leclerc Radomka Radom 25-19, 25-16, 25-16 on Nov. 14. Ogbogu totaled nine points with six kills on 11 swings and three blocks. Chemik Police remained undefeated in the Polish League by stopping Developres SkyRes Rzeszow 25-17, 25-15, 25-22 on Nov. 17. Ogbogu notched nine kills on 15 swings and two blocks for 11 points. Chemik Police (4-0, 12 points), in first place and one of two undefeated teams through four rounds, has a rematch with fourth-place Developres SkyRes Rzeszow (2-2, 7 points) on Nov. 17. Chemik Police begins the European Champions League action on Nov. 11 in Pool E versus C.S.M. Bururesti.

DIXON AND KINGDON-RISHEL PLAYING FOR BEIJING BAIC IN CHINESE LEAGUE: Middle Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota, Twitter, Instagram) and Madi Kingdon Rishel (Phoenix, Arizona, Twitter, Instagram) are playing for Beijing BAIC Motors Volleyball Club in China during the 2018-19 pro season. BAIC Motors defeated Fujian 25-18, 25-21, 25-17 on Nov. 13. Dixon tallied four kills on nine errorless attacks, two blocks and an ace. Kingdon did not play in the match. BAIC Motors swept Jiangsu Zhongtian Iron and Steel 25-22, 25-19, 25-21 on Nov. 14. Kingdon placed 12 points on the stat sheet, all on kills from 28 attacks. She handled 14 receptions with a 79 positive percent. Dixon chipped in eight kills on 11 attacks and an ace for nine points. BAIC Motors finished the first stage with a perfect 6-0 record and 18 points to place first. BAIC Motors returns to the court on Nov. 24 against Shandong followed by a Nov. 26 match versus Tianjin Bohai in Group C action.

MURPHY WITH SHANGHAI VOLLEYBALL CLUB: Opposite Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Illinois, Twitter, Instagram) is playing for Shanghai Volleyball Club this winter. Shanghai dominated Fujian 25-19, 25-12, 25-14 on Nov. 14. Murphy, playing in just the first two sets, pounded seven kills on 15 errorless attacks to go with an ace for eight points. Shanghai finished the first stage in second place with a 5-1 record. Shanghai begins Group C action versus Guangdong Evergrande on Nov. 24 followed by Fujian on Nov. 26.

AKINRADEWO WITH HISAMITSU SPRINGS IN JAPAN: Middle Foluke Akinradewo (Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Twitter, Instagram) has returned to Hisamitsu Springs of the Japanese V-League this winter. Hisamitsu Springs defeated Saitama Ageo Medics 25-20, 25-21, 25-21 on Nov. 17. Akinradewo did not play in the match.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Foluke Akinradewo did not go the traditional route in her #PathtothePodium. She did not play youth club volleyball, but still competed at the highest levels of USA Volleyball’s High Performance pipeline as a youth before heading to Stanford. She also made her international debut with the U.S. Women’s National Team at the 2005 Pan Am Cup prior to playing in her first collegiate match.