Jordan Larson Leads Stacked Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul Into Fourth Round

After three rounds of qualification, the most exciting part of the 2019 CEV Women’s Champions League tournament is poised to begin. 

The first leg of the group of stage kicks off on Tuesday, November 20, and lasts until Thursday, November 22, with all 20 teams competing. Every team will be motivated to play well, as these matches will set the tone for the five remaining legs of group stage, which runs through February. Only the top eight teams advance out of the group stage and into the quarterfinals in March 2019.

Check out the schedule below and keep reading for a few storylines you’re going to want to keep an eye on this week.


Nov. 20

Hameenlinna @ Dinamo Kazan, 10 AM CT (Pool B)

Maritza Plovdiv @ Beziers VB, 1 PM CT (Pool A)

SSC Palmberg Scherwin @ LKS Commercecon Lodz, 1:30 PM CT (Pool D)

Nov. 21

Fenerbahce SK Istanbul @ Dinamo Moscow, 10 AM CT (Pool E)

Uralochka-NTMK Ekaterinburg @ Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul, 10:30 AM CT (Pool B) 

Minchanka Minsk @ RC Cannes, 1 PM CT (Pool C)

Savino Del Bene Scandicci @ Imoco Volley Conegliano, 1:30 PM CT (Pool D)

Nov. 22

Allianz MTV Stuttgart @ VakifBank Istanbul, 10 AM CT (Pool A)

CSM Bucuresti @ Chemik Police, 11 AM CT (Pool E)

Budowlani Lodz @ Igor Gorgonzola Novara, 1:30 PM CT (Pool C)

Americans Go Head-to-Head in Two Matches

Wednesday’s match between Scandicci and Imoco Volley and Thursday’s pitting Allianz MTV Stuttgart against VakifBank Istanbul will both feature Americans on both sides of the net. 

Annie Mitchem, a University of Hawaii grad, is with Scandicci in just her second professional season, while Imoco Volley features veteran outside hitters Kim Hill and Megan Easy. Both teams compete in Italy’s SuperLega, and Imoco is undefeated so far in league play, while Scandicci has lost just once and is fourth in the standings. The two teams have not yet played in SuperLega competition.

Five Americans will take the floor for Allianz MTV Stuttgart, which advanced into the group stage by defeating CSM Volei Alba Blaj in the third round. Paige Tapp and Krystal Rivers have played big roles for Stuttgart, contributing 18 and 14 points, respectively in the final third-round matchup. The roster also includes Americans Sarah Wilhite Parsons, Madi Bugg, and Molly McCage. 

Stuttgart’s first group stage opponent VakifBank Istanbul features outside hitter Kelsey Robinson, who played libero all summer for the U.S. women. 

SuperLega Leaders Face Qualifier Squad

Igor Gorgonzola Novara has jumped out to a quick 5-0 start in SuperLega competition. Not only does this squad have Americans Michelle Bartsch-Hackley, the Volleyball Nations League MVP, and four-time All-American setter Lauren Carlini, but also Netherlands star outside hitter Celeste Plak and World Championships leading scorer Paola Egonu of Italy. 

Novara’s opponent on Thursday is Budowlani Lodz, which won both its second round matches over Hungarian club Swietelsky Bekescsaba and then continued to roll in the third round, beating French squad ASPTT Mulhouse VB (and s Ali Frantti, Carli Snyder, and Hayley Spelman) 3-1 in Lodz, and then 3-2 in Mulhouse. 

Stacked Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul the Favorite? 

Novara’s roster is pretty impressive across every position, but there’s at least one other team in Champions League that can rival that level of talent: Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul of the Turkish League. 

The 2018 Eczacibasi squad includes Team USA captain and top outside hitter Jordan Larson; Serbian opposite Tijana Boskovic, the reigning MVP of the World Championships; American middle blocker Lauren Gibbemeyer; and Team Korea’s captain Yeon Koung Kim. 

In five Turkish league matches, Eczacibasi has yet to drop a set on its way to a 5-0 start and a No. 1 spot in the standings. 

Princeton Wins League Title For First Time Since 1998

EIVA Championship: Harvard vs. Princeton

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They didn’t go down as easily this time. In fact, it took No. 1 Princeton five sets to dispatch No. 3 Penn State in the EIVA championship match (28-26, 22-25, 25-18, 20-25, 15-13). It was the third time this season the two teams had played each other, with Princeton winning both of the previous meetings in four sets. 

Princeton, Penn State To Meet In EIVA Title Match

With wins in Thursday night’s EIVA semifinals, Princeton and Penn State advanced to the conference championship match, to be played on Saturday night inside Princeton’s Dillon Gymnasium.

EIVA Honors Trio Of Hall Of Famers

Saturday, on the campus of Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, the EIVA men’s volleyball conference will crown a new champion. 

EIVA Championships Preview

Princeton didn’t really need to beat Penn State in both teams’ final regular season match of the 2019 season. With a four-set victory over Saint Francis the night before, the Tigers had secured the EIVA regular season championship and hosting rights for the conference playoffs. 

CEV Women's Final Is Set For Imoco, Novara

In the 2018-19 CEV Champions League semifinals, Italy proved itself to be home of the best women’s professional volleyball in Europe. 

EIVA Notebook: Gimeno Shines For NJIT

A big week in EIVA men’s volleyball saw the four postseason contenders determined, and a new team rise to No. 2 in the standings.

EIVA Notebook: Princeton Digs In At No. 1

With only six teams advancing to the national postseason, winning your conference title is of the utmost importance for college men’s volleyball teams with NCAA Championship ambitions. 

Samantha Bricio Aims For The Top Of The World With Fenerbahce

Something about the way Samantha Bricio plays the game of volleyball catches a spectator’s eye. Perhaps it’s her graceful nonchalance on defense or her readiness to attack from anywhere on the court. It could just as easily be her practically un-passable hybrid jump serve or her understated but genuine celebrations. Of course, she’s also a pretty solid attacker who jumps high and swings fast. 

Bricio, Fenerbahce Among CEV Women's Final Four

The quarterfinals of the CEV Champions League made it pretty clear which regions serve as hubs for the best women’s professional volleyball in Europe. 

EIVA Notebook: Penn State Downs Reigning MIVA Champ

Only five of the EIVA’s eight teams competed last week and there were no conference matchups, so instead of our usual weekly notebook format, we’re going to break down the results for each of those five active teams and give you a preview of the top upcoming matches.