Lausanne, Switzerland, October 30, 2016 - It's been a short week since the 2016 FIVB Women's Club World Championship wound down in Manila, but the top clubs of the world have already been busy in domestic action, with hardly a moment to reflect and regroup and with varying degrees of ease and success.
World champions Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul stumbled away at Bursa, going down 3-2 (25-19, 25-22, 19-25, 19-25, 16-14). Their two Americans, Jordan Larson (who was limping as the team left Manila after the World Chmapionship) and Rachel Adams remained on the bench throughout. Setter Maja Ognjenovic was also off the court for most of the game, only briefly entering as a sub in the first two sets.
Tijana Boskovic, the 19-year-old Serbian who was named MVP in Manila, led Eczacibasi against Bursa, top scoring in the game with 21 points.
Even with the Americans back in starting positions (though with Ognjenovic still sidelined and Tatiana Kosheleva not even on the scoresheet), Eczacibasi struggled again two days later, on Sunday, to beat Idman Ocagi 3-0 (31-29, 25-20, 27-25). Boskovic again, with 22 points, led the scoring for Eczacibasi, with Adams adding another 10.
On the other hand, crosstown Istanbul ribals VakifBank, who finshed with a bronze medal at the 2016 FIVB World Championship in Manila, started off in the Turkish League with all their international stars on the lineup, coming to a very solid 3-0 (25-21, 25-17, 25-13) away win over Seramiksan.
Zhu Ting, the MVP of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and a member of the Dream Team in Manila, Kubra Caliskan, Melis Durul and Milena Rasic (also on the Manila Dream Team) scored 11 points each in VakifBank's win, followed close behind by Kim Hill.
In Italy, Manila silver medallists Pomi Casalmaggiore needed to find themselves two sets down in Bolzano to Sudtirol before they got their act together to score a hair rising 3-2 (21-25, 23-25, 25-16, 25-17, 15-10) comeback win. All hands were on deck for Pomi's win, including top scorers Samanta Fabris and Stevana Jovanovic.
It was Pomi's second win in five sets in as many games in the Italian A1 League, after their opening match victory over Club Italia just before they headed out to Manila (where they also played two five-settes in five matches).
Volero Zurich regrouped after their disappointment at finishing fourth in Manila, to begin their quest in the Swiss with a convincing 3-0 (25-12, 25-17, 25-13) sweep of Volley Top Lucerne.
All four European clubs are also active in the European Champions League this season. Eczacibasi are up against Bulgarian debutantes Maritza Plovdiv with home-and-away games this week, as Round 2 of the Main Phase launches. VakifBank and Volero are directly through to pool play in the Fourth Round.
Reigning European champions and runners-up at the 2016 FIVB World Championship Pomi are competing this season in the CEV Cup, with their first matches not until the new year.
In Brazil, the Superleague season has just gotten underway, but Rexona-Sesc Rio de Janeiro, 5th in Manila, do not embark on their campaign to defend their title until Tuesday against newly-promoted crosstown Rio rivals Fluminense.
Hisamitsu Springs Kobe, who finished 6th at the Club World Championship in Manila and are looking ahead to hosting the 2017 edition, 8-14 May, opened their defence of the Japan V.Premier League title with a 3-0 (25-17, 26-24, 25-17) sweep of Hitachi Rivale, led by their usual top scorer Miyu Nagaoka on 20 points.
Meanwhile, NEC Red Rockets, who are also set to compete in the 2017 FIVB Club World Championship as the reigning Asian champions, dropped their opening match 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 26-24) at home in Kawasaki to the Okayama Seagulls.
- FIVB Volleyball Women's Club World Championship Manila 2016 - Website
- FIVB Volleyball Women's Club World Championship Manila 2016 - Results & Schedule
- FIVB Volleyball Women's Club World Championship Manila 2016 - Teams