CEV Women's Champions League Second Round Preview

One leg down, five to go in the group stage of the women’s CEV Champions League. Keep reading to hear the highlights of first leg and see what the 20 CEV Champions League teams have been up to since the last leg concluded. 

VakifBank Celebrates FIVB Club World Champs Gold

Led by Chinese outside hitter Zhu Ting, VakifBank Istanbul, which is competing in Pool A of the Champions League, won the 2018 FIVB Women’s Club World Championship, marking the team’s second year in a row finishing on top of the podium. 

Ting had a match-high 21 points in VakifBank’s championship sweep of Minas Tenis Clube. She also led all players in the tournament with 98 total points and was named Club Worlds MVP.

Dinamo Kazan Showcased Young Talent in Sweep of Hameenlinna

Dinamo Kazan, which won the Champions League in 2014, dominated the Finnish team Hameenlinna in both team’s first-leg match. 

Russian national team middle blocker Irina Koroleva led the match in blocks (3), aces (3), kills (9) and total points (15). Kazan also showcased its young talent, with 18-year-old Anna Kotikova finishing the match as the second-highest scorer and 15-year-old Tatiana Kadochkina adding seven points.

Kelsey Robinson Named MVP of VakifBank’s 3-1 W Over Stuttgart

American outside hitter/libero Kelsey Robinson tallied 16 points in VakifBank’s Champions League opener victory over Stuttgart. She also tallied three blocks and 55 percent perfect reception and was named MVP of the match.

On the opposite side of the net, University of Alabama alum Krystal Rivers led Stuttgart with 14 points, while former Minnesota middle blocker Paige Tapp has three blocks. 

VakifBank’s head coach said he believes Stuttgart is the strongest team in Pool A, so the straight-set victory marks a great start for the reigning CEV champs.

Eczacibasi Takes Turkish League Lead

Eczacibasi had to settle for a bronze medal at the Club World Championships, but less than a week later in Turkish League competition, it scored a four-set victory over Club World Champ VakifBank Istanbul to take the uncontested lead in the standings.

Tijana Boskovoic led the match with 18 points and Team USA’s Jordan Larson added 17.

These two Turkish rivals had already played once this season (in the Turkish Supercup where Eczacibasi won in four) and many expected the two teams to face in the Club World Championships gold-medal match.

Dinamo Moscow Loses First Leg Match, But Wins Russian Cup

Fenerbahce SK Istanbul, which ranks third behind Eczacibasi and VakifBank in the Turkish League standings, claimed a first leg victory over Dinamo Moscow in four sets.

Russian star opposite Nataliya Goncharova had an impressive 20 points for Moscow, but Fenerbahce’s 19-year-old Cuban pin hitter Melissa Vargas had 21, Russian middle Erdem Dundar added 15 and former USC outside hitter and 2015 AVCA National Player of the Year Samantha Bricio tallied 14.

The Russian squad didn’t stew on the loss for too long, however, as Moscow turned around to win the Russian Cup, sweeping VC Yenisey in the final, proving that despite the first-leg loss, this team will still be deadly.

Novara Leads Italian League Standings

With a 9-0 record, including six sweeps, Igor Gorgonzola Novara has a solid hold on the top spot in the Italian league standings.

Former University of Wisconsin setter Lauren Carlini starts for Novara, along with Italy’s 19-year-old opposite Paola Egonu, who might just be the best offensive player in the world, and Team USA outside Michelle Bartsch-Hackley.

In its first match of the 2019 Champions League, Novara swept Budowlani Lodz and Egonu led the match with 19 points. Bartsch-Hackley added 11.

For its second leg matchup, Novara will take on Minchanka Minsk, which lost in straight sets to RC Cannes to open its group stage slate.

Conegliano and Scandicci, both Champions League competitors, currently rank third and fourth, respectively, in the Serie A1 standings.

CEV Champions League Round 4, Second Leg

Dec. 18

Dinamo Kazan @ Uralochka-NTMK Ekaterinburg, 8 a.m. CT (Pool B)

Imoco Volley Conegliano @ SSC Palmberg Schwerin, 12 p.m. CT (Pool D)

Dec. 19

Beziers VB @ Allianz MTV Stuttgart, 12 p.m. CT (Pool A) 

Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul @ Hameenlinna, 12 p.m. CT (Pool B)

Igor Gorgonzola Novara @ Minchanka Minsk, 11 a.m. CT (Pool C)

Chemik Police @ Fenerbahce SK Istanbul, 9:30 a.m. CT (Pool E)

Dec. 20

VakifBank Istanbul @ Maritza Plovdiv, 12 p.m. CT (Pool A)

RC Cannes @ Budowlani Lodz, 11 a.m. CT (Pool C)

LKS Commercecon Lodz @ Savino Del Bene Scandicci, 1:30 p.m. CT (Pool D)

Dinamo Moscow @ C.S.M. Bucuresti, 11:30 a.m. CT (Pool E)

EIVA Notebook: Schoenfeld Leads Harvard Back From Extended Break

College basketball has hurtled into the postseason and March is officially mad, but in men’s college volleyball, regular-season action chugs along.

Q&A With Power Volley Milano's Taylor Averill

Former University of Hawaii middle blocker Taylor Averill is having a pretty solid year. He made the playoffs of Italy’s Serie A at the conclusion of the 2017-18 professional season with his Power Volley Milano team and then hit the road with the U.S. Men’s National Team for Volleyball Nations League and World Championships. 

EIVA Notebook: Gimeno Shines In Moral Victories For NJIT

With just over a month to go before the conference playoffs and a month and a half from the NCAA Tournament, men’s college volleyball is heating up. 

Krystal Rivers Is On The Rise With Allianz MTV Stuttgart

Krystal Rivers, a 24-year-old American opposite from Birmingham, Alabama, posted 29 points in Allianz MTV Stuttgart’s final Champions League pool play match, a 3-1 defeat of Martiza Plovdiv. No other player on the court at the Kolodruma Sport Hall in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, even came close to matching her tally of 21 kills and eight blocks.

Inside Samantha Middleborn's Extraordinary Journey To Chieri Glory

Here’s the short version of Samantha Middleborn’s extraordinary story.

CEV Women's Quarterfinal Preview

The field has narrowed once again in the race for the 2019 CEV Women’s Champions League title.

EIVA Notebook: Princeton Falls To Red Hot St. Francis

Just when you think you’d gotten a good grasp of the teams and talent in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association, a couple of major shakeups go down.

Catching Up With Former Penn State Star Jalen Penrose

USA Volleyball recently released its updated list of international transfers. The American governing body processed a record 440 transfers as of Feb. 1, granting U.S. athletes permission to compete in overseas leagues.

Q&A With Brescia's Haleigh Washington

Almost exactly two months after the conclusion of her college volleyball career, Penn State All-American middle blocker Haleigh Washington crossed the Atlantic to begin her first professional season with Italian A2 team Olimpia Teodora Ravenna. 

Malina Terrell's Pro Volleyball Career: A Travel Log

On a trip to Slovenia in 2011, Malina Terrell decided she would someday be a professional volleyball player.