International stars gear up as playoffs approach across the world's leagues
Jakub Kochanowski on the attack as he helps PGE Skra Belchatow clinch a crucial win over GKS Katowice in the race for the Playoffs of the Polish PlusLiga.
In Poland's PlusLiga PGE Skra Belchatow scored yet another victory and are closing in on securing a ticket for the Playoffs, after their 3-1 (25-20, 23-25, 25-23, 25-15) win at home over GKS Katowice. The winners were inspired by match MVP Milad Ebadipour of Iran, who was also top scorer of the game with 23 points.
ZAKSA Kedzierzyn-Kozle continue to lead the race in the Regular Season after four players scored in double digits (Lukasz Kaczmarek 16, Rafal Szymura 15, Mateusz Bienek 13 and Aleksander Sliwka 13) to lead them to a 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 25-23, 25-23) win at home over Cerrad Czarni Radom.
• Elsewhere, with two matchdays remaining to wrap up the Regular Season in Russia's Superleague, Zenit Kazan continue to lead the pack following their 3-1 (19-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-21) win on the road over Zenit Saint Petersburg. France's Earvin Ngapeth with 19 points and 2018 VNL MVP Maxim Mikhaylov with 18 led Kazan.
• Sir Safety Conad Perugia continue to lead the Italian Superleague after Cuba-born match MVP Wilfredo Leon scored 21 points and Serbia's Aleksandar Atanasijevic added another 15 on their way to a 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-22) sweep of Kioene Padova.
• With 16 points from Serbia's Uros Kovacevic and 13 from USA's Aaron Russel, Itas Trentino downed Consar Ravenna 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-22) to stay in hot pursuit of Perugia with two rounds of play remaining until the end of the Regular Season.
• Alan Souza scored 15 points and Eder Carbonera 12 as Sesi Sao Paulo defeated Volei UM Itapetininga 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-19) to temporarily reach the top of the Brazilian Superleague with one match left to play in the Regular Season.
• Defending champions Sada Cruzeiro beat Sesc Rio de Janeiro 3-1 (21-25, 25-23, 25-14, 25-19) on the road powered by 18 points from Luan Weber and 14 from USA's Taylor Sander. They are in second place in the standings, but have two matches remaining in the Regular Season.
• In women's action, Beijing Auto completed a sweep of the best-of-five series in the Playoffs final of China's Superleague over defending champions Tianjin Bohai Bank. Australia's Rachel Rourke with 26 points led Beijing in their third straight win, 3-1 (25-21, 25-15, 20-25, 25-20) to clinch the title. Liao Xiatong added 19 points and USA's Tori Dixon another 10 for the winners. Beijing had won the previous two games in four and five sets.
• Rosamaria Montibeller scored 20 points to lead Dentil Praia Clube of Uberlandia in a 3-2 (25-23, 20-25, 21-25, 25-22, 16-14) win at Belo Horizonte over Minas Tenis Clube in the Minas classic and have now closed in on their rivals to within a point in the standings with two matches each left to play in the Regular Season of the Brazilian Superleague. Bruna Honorio also with 20 points was Minas' best scorer.
• Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul enter the Playoffs in pole position in the Turkish Superleague after wrapping up the Regular Season with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-16, 25-13) sweep of Aydin Buyuksehir Belediyesi on the road. Serbia's Tijana Boskovic and Korea's Kim Yeon Koung shared top scoring honours with 13 points each for Eczacibasi.
• Crosstown rivals VakifBank tied with Eczacibasi in first place following a win 3-0 (25-19, 25-21, 25-19) over Canakkale Belediyespor, but fell behind on ranking points. Ebrar Karakurt with 17 points and USA's Kelsey Robinson with 16 led VakifBank in their latest win.
• Italian A1 League table leaders Imoco Volley Conegliano dropped a point in their 3-2 (25-16, 24-26, 25-20, 19-25, 15-8) win at home over Il Bisonte of Florence, but still widened the gap after second-placed Igor Gorgonzola Novara blew a two-set lead and lost 3-2 (22-25, 222-5, 25-21, 25-19, 15-13) to Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri on the road.
• USA's Kim Hill and Croatia's Samantha Fabris were joint top scorers for Conegliano, who had Miriam Sylla add another 15. Indre Sorokaite was top scorer of that game with 25 points. Paola Egonu led Novara with 25 points.
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