Club action heats up across the globe as FIVB season nears
USA middle blocker Tori Dixon was instrumental in Beijing Auto's 3-2 (25-21, 21-25, 25-13, 19-25, 15-11) win on the road over Shanghai Bright Ubest in the China Super League, as the winners extended their lead to 2-0 in the best-of-five semifinal series.
Dixon, who leads the overall blockers' lists in the Super League scored 16 points for Beijing, second only to Australia's Rachel Rourke (24), though it was Rio 2016 gold medallist Liu Xiaotong who was named MVP of the game. On the other side Yang Jie scored 20 points, followed by USA's 2018 VNL gold medallist Kelly Murphy with 17.
In the other semifinal Tianjin Bohai Bank sailed to a comfortable 3-0 (25-19, 27-25, 25-17) victory at Jiangsu Zhongtian Steel to also extend their lead in the series to 2-0.
Li Yingying, a bronze medallist with China in both the 2018 VNL and World Championship, led Tianjin with a remarkable 25 points.
The third legs of the semifinal series are on Tuesday.
• Elsewhere, Serbia's Tijana Boskovic, the MVP of the 2018 FIVB World Championship, helped Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul confirm their lead in the Turkish League with a top-scoring performance of 17 points in her side's 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-19) sweep of Besiktas Istanbul.
• Crosstown rivals VakifBank Istanbul remain close on the heels of Eczacibasi, following a 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-21) win on the road over Kameroglu Beylikduzu on the back of 20 points from China's Zhu Ting and another 12 each from the Netherlands' Lonneke Sloetjes and USA's Kelsey Robinson.
• USA's Karsta Lowe was her team's best scorer in Imoco Volley Conegliano's 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-23) win over Lardini Filottrano in the Italian A1 League.
• And Italy's Paola Egonu scored 17 points as Igor Gorgonzola Novara beat Il Bisonte Firenze 3-0 (25-19, 26-24, 25-19) to stay level with Conegliano at the top of the standings.
• In men's mid-week action, USA's Benjamin Patch, a bronze medallist in both the 2018 VNL and World Championship, scored 33 points for Berlin Recycling Volley's in their 3-2 (22-25, 20-25, 31-29, 25-22, 15-13) comeback win over Beligum's Greenyard Maaseik for the European Champions League. Maaseik had match point at 24-23 to finish the game in three, before Berlin bounced back.
• Also in the Champions League, Maciej Muzaj scored 21 points for Trefl Gdansk in the all-Poland derby against PGE Skra Belchatow, helping his side win 3-2 (25-22, 28-26, 21-25, 18-25, 16-14) and stay top of their pool.
• And Serbia's Aleksandar Atanasijevic was once again top scorer for Sir Safety Conad Perugia with 23 points in the Italian side's 3-1 (22-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-23) win in Moscow over Dinamo to remain undefeated in the Champions League.
• Atanasijevic then scored another 22 in the Italian League over the weekend, as Perugia downed BCC Castellana Grotte 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-20) to stay top of the table.
• Across the Atlantic in Brazil's Superleague, meanwhile, Rodrigo 'Rodriguinho' Leao scored 16 points and Isac Santos added another 15 as Sada Cruzeiro fought hard from two sets down at home in Contagem's Riachao to edge Volei Renata 302 20-25, 18-25, 25-22, 25-16, 18-16) and stay top of the table.
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