Women’s volleyball champions emerge in France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands and Poland; cup winners celebrate in Romania
The 2022-2023 women’s volleyball club season in Europe recently concluded with France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands and Poland wrapping up their championships and Romania holding its national cup Final Four.
Volero Le Cannet picked up their second national title in France, defending the trophy they earned last year, after two four-set victories over Volley Mulhouse Alsace in the championship series. On Sunday 7 May, at home, Volero came back from a set down to claim a 3-1 (27-29, 25-23, 25-16, 25-16) win, and last Sunday they did it again in front of 4,000 fans in Mulhouse, 3-1 (15-25, 26-24, 26-24, 25-16), with their 37-year-old Bulgarian outside hitter and captain Eva Yaneva named Most Valuable Player of the match.
Volero Le Cannet’s team roster
Defending champions Allianz MTV Stuttgart claimed their third title in Germany after winning the best-of-five final playoff in the Bundesliga by three wins to one against Potsdam. On 2 May, Allianz started the championship series with a 3-1 (25-21, 25-22, 17-25, 25-19) home win, but Potsdam reacted with a 3-1 (25-23, 25-22, 21-25, 27-25) home victory of its own on 6 May to level the series. Back in Stuttgart for the third match on 10 May, Allianz delivered an emphatic 3-0 (25-18, 25-16, 25-14) shutout. In front of over 2,000 spectators at a completely sold-out hall in Potsdam last Saturday, the visitors closed the championship with a 3-1 (20-25, 25-12, 25-19, 27-25) victory. The bronze medals went to Dresdner Dresden.
Allianz MTV Stuttgart’s team roster
Defending titleholders KA Akureyri emerged at the winning end of a hard-fought five-match championship series in Iceland to crown their season with a golden double, after also winning the national cup in March. The final playoff against Afturelding Mosfellsbaer started on 27 April with a 3-1 (25-20, 20-25, 25-23, 25-20) home win for KA. Afturelding replied with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-19) sweep of game two in Mosfellsbaer on 4 May. Three five-set battles followed. Afturelding edged forward with a 3-2 (25-20, 26-28, 18-25, 25-23, 16-14) away victory on 7 May. KA reacted accordingly, claiming a 3-2 (25-18, 21-25, 25-12, 19-25, 13-15) away victory three days later. Hosting Friday’s deciding match in Akureyri, KA produced a 3-2 (17-25, 25-21, 25-17, 20-25, 15-12) win to celebrate their third national title.
Reigning FIVB Club World Champions Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano shaped up a golden quadruple this season. After winning the world title, the Italian super cup and the Italian national cup, the Panthers defended their national championship title on Monday after a thrilling final playoff against Vero Volley Milan.
They opened the best-of-five championship series with a hard-fought 3-2 (23-25, 25-23, 23-25, 25-19, 15-11) home victory on 6 May. Vero Volley restored the balance on 9 May with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-18) shutout at home in Monza, and then edged forward with a 3-2 (25-21, 14-25, 20-25, 27-25, 15-13) upset at Imoco’s Palaverde in Villorba on 11 May. The champions struck back with a 3-0 (26-24, 25-20, 25-17) sweep of game four on 13 May in Monza to set up a deciding fifth match at home on Monday. After a strong start for the girls from Milan, Imoco’s Canadian outside hitter Alexa Gray (pictured in the main photo; credits: foto Rubin / LVF) subbed in during the second set and, scoring 25 points, she turned the course of the game and led the Panthers towards a 3-1 (23-25, 26-24, 25-17, 25-21) victory and the club’s sixth (fifth in a row) national title, cheered on by over 5,300 fans in the stands.
Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano’s team roster
The season in Malta’s national league came to an end on Sunday, with Swieqi Phoenix Nium finishing on top of the table with an 11-1 win-loss record and 33 points, losing only five sets in 12 matches played. It was the club’s second national crown, after their triumph in 2021. Defending 2022 champions Falcons Cospicua settled for silver with 8-3 and 23, while the bronze went to Flyers Balzan, who finished on 6-5 and 19.
Swieqi Phoenix Nium’s team roster
Friso Sneek triumphed as national champions of the Netherlands for the 11th time in the club’s history and third time this century. Their best-of-five championship series against Booleans/VV Utrecht lasted five matches with the home factor proving helpful in each of them. Friso started off with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 25-16) shutout on 19 April. Booleans tied the playoff with a 3-1 (25-18, 25-23, 24-26, 25-19) win on 22 April. Friso edged forward again with a tight 3-2 (25-15, 19-25, 20-25, 28-26, 16-14) victory on 29 April, before Booleans drew level again with another five-setter, 3-2 (25-19, 25-22, 24-26, 23-25, 15-12), on 7 May. In last Sunday’s deciding match, Friso mastered a 3-1 (18-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-15) victory to snatch the crown at their sold-out home venue in Sneek.
LKS Commercecon Lodz celebrated as Polish champions for the third time in the club’s history on Saturday. They lost the first match of their best-of-five final playoff against Developres BELLA DOLINA Rzeszow. Playing in Lodz on 3 May, LKS suffered a 3-1 (25-14, 18-25, 25-21, 25-16) defeat. However, they went on to win the next three matches – a 3-2 (13-25, 18-25, 26-24, 25-23, 15-12) comeback on 7 May in Rzeszow, a 3-1 (25-22, 28-26, 22-25, 25-13) victory at home on 10 May, and another 3-2 (17-25, 25-22, 25-22, 22-25, 15-13) five-set win, again in Rzeszow, on 13 May. Grot Budowlani Lodz took the bronze.
LKS Commercecon Lodz’s team roster
The Final Four event of the Romania Cup competition was held in Pitesti over the weekend. CSM Lugoj and CSM Targoviste advanced to Sunday’s final after winning Saturday’s semifinals in five sets each against recently crowned champions Volei Alba Blaj and Dinamo Bucharest, respectively. In the trophy match, Lugoj managed a 3-1 (25-16, 26-24, 22-25, 25-21) victory to triumph as national cup winners for the first time in history. Their Azerbaijani outside hitter Yelyzaveta Samadova-Ruban was named MVP of the tournament. The trophy and the gold medals were presented to the winners by FIVB 2nd Executive Vice President and CEV President Aleksandar Boričić and Federatia Romana de Volei President Adin Cojocaru.