Monday, 22 Apr 2024

WNT Update: Akinradewo Celebrates Championship Victory


Colorado Springs, Colo. – May 4, 2022 – In an exciting culmination of skill and teamwork, Hisamitsu Springs, led by U.S. middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson, emerged victorious as champions of Japan’s women’s league. The team secured their title by winning a thrilling finals match against JT Marvelous, with the support of opposite Annie Drews.

Akinradewo’s Stellar Performance

Due to the unfortunate circumstances of positive COVID cases on both teams, only one finals match was played on April 10. Hisamitsu Springs claimed a 3-1 victory (25-23, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23) over their opponents. Akinradewo played a pivotal role, scoring an impressive 25 points with 20 kills and five blocks, earning her the title of Best Spiker. Meanwhile, Drews showcased her prowess on the court, leading all scorers with 32 points, including 29 kills.

Tension Rises in Turkey

In the Turkish League, VakifBank Istanbul, featuring the talents of outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley and middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu, secured the Turkish Cup by defeating Fenerbahçe Opet in a thrilling final match. The game ended with a 3-2 scoreline (21-25, 25-21, 25-13, 27-29, 17-15) in favor of VakifBank.

This victory foreshadowed an intense battle between VakifBank and Fenerbahçe Opet in the league final, where the two teams are currently locked in a 1-1 tie in the best-of-five series. In their most recent encounter on May 3, VakifBank secured a 3-1 victory (25-16, 19-25, 25-21, 25-20) against their opponents. Bartsch-Hackley contributed six points, including five kills and one ace, while also showcasing her defensive skills with 26 receptions at an impressive 54 percent success rate. Ogbogu did not participate in the match. The teams are set to face each other once again on May 6.

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Italian League Thrillers

The Italian League playoffs have reached their finals stage, pitting Prosecco Doc Imoco Volley Conegliano, with Megan Courtney and Kathryn Plummer, against Vero Volley Monza, featuring Jordan Larson and Dana Rettke. The final series is currently tied at 1-1, with Conegliano clinching a recent victory in a nail-biting match on May 3 with a 3-2 scoreline (23-25, 24-25, 25-16, 25-20, 15-10).

During the match, Plummer showcased her skills by scoring 17 points, including 15 kills, while also contributing defensively with one block and one ace. She displayed exemplary reception skills, registering a positive success rate of 45 percent on 33 receptions. Courtney, who started sets three and five and played as a substitute, scored two points with two kills and recorded 14 receptions with a 64 percent success rate.

Larson, a key player for Monza, contributed 12 points with 12 kills and showcased her receiving abilities with a 60 percent success rate on 15 receptions. Rettke also made her mark on the court, scoring five points with four kills and one ace during the first three sets. The teams are scheduled to compete once again on May 7.

CEV Champions League Final

The highly anticipated final of the CEV Champions League will see Turkey’s VakifBank Istanbul go head-to-head with Italy’s Prosecco Doc Imoco Volley Conegliano on May 22 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Conegliano secured their spot in the final through a bye after Russian teams were disqualified from the tournament due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

VakifBank had a thrilling semifinal showdown with Fenerbahçe Opet, splitting the matches with a win and a loss. VakifBank emerged victorious in the first match with a 3-1 scoreline (25-21, 25-20, 22-25, 25-18) on March 31. Despite losing the second match 3-0 (25-14, 25-20, 28-26), VakifBank fought back to win the golden set with a score of 15-11, securing their place in the final.

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Recent Updates

In Germany, VC Wiesbaden, led by libero Justine Wong-Orantes, concluded their season with a playoff quarterfinal loss to Dresden. Despite the defeat, Wong-Orantes showcased her defensive skills with 11 receptions at a positive success rate of 55 percent.

In Brazil’s league playoffs, Itambé Minas, featuring opposite Danielle Cuttino, emerged as the champions after defeating Dentil/Praia Clube 2-0 in the best-of-three final. Itambé Minas sealed their victory with a 3-1 scoreline (26-24, 18-25, 25-15, 25-17) on April 29. U.S. athlete Nia Reed, who played for Sesi Vôlei Bauru, was honored as Best Opposite.

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The world of women’s volleyball continues to captivate fans with thrilling matches and exceptional performances. From Akinradewo’s championship victory in Japan to the intense battles in Turkey and Italy, the skill and determination of these athletes are on full display. As the CEV Champions League final approaches, the anticipation for the clash between VakifBank Istanbul and Prosecco Doc Imoco Volley Conegliano reaches its peak. Stay tuned for more updates as these talented teams continue to make their mark in the world of volleyball.