Dinamo Moscow in pole position ahead of Russian Playoffs


Ekaterina Kosianenko of Dinamo Moscow and Tatiana Shchukina of Metar Chelyabinsk duel at the net as the Russian Superleague Regular Season comes to a close.

Lausanne, Switzerland, February 19, 2017 - Defending champions Dinamo Moscow wrapped up the regular season at the top of the Russian women's Superleague with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-15) defeat of bottom of the table Metar Chelyabinsk, as the top eight teams head into the playoffs for the 2017 title.

Russian Superleague Playoffs Quarterfinals:
Dinamo Moscow v Sakhalin Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk
Dinamo Kazan v Proton Saratov
Uralochka NTMK Ekaterinburg v Zarechye-Odintsovo
Dinamo Krasnodar v Yenisei Krasnoyarsk

Nataliya Goncharova with 16 points and Yana Shcherban with 15 led Dinamo Moscow, who finished the regular season with 46 points from 18 matches on a 16-2 record, ahead of Dinamo Kazan (42 points, 14-4).

Dinamo Moscow, who are looking to claim their fifth title in the Russian Superleague, head into the playoffs with home advantage all the way. The best-of-three quarterfinals series begins on February 25.

Imoco Volley Conegliano unstoppable in Italy
With four rounds remaining in the Italian Samsung Gear A1 League, defending champions and current table leaders Imoco Volley Conegliano retained their four-point lead over reigning European champions Pomi Casalmaggiore with a 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-11) sweep of Club Italia Crai (essentially Italy's Junior National Team).

The win comes a few days after Conegliano were confirmed as hosts of the European Champions League Final Four in Treviso's Palaverde on April 22-23.

Captain Serena Ortolani led Conegliano with 15 points and Nicole Fawcett of USA added another 11, but Paola Egonu was top scorer of the game with 22 points for Club Italia.

VakifBank down Eczacibasi once again
Table leaders VakifBank Istanbul dealt another blow to their crosstown arch-rivals and reigning FIVB world champions Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul with a 3-0 (25-13, 25-20, 25-23) in the Turkish League.

Rio 2016 Olympics MVP Zhu Ting of China scored 14 points while Lonneke Sloetjes of the Netherlands and Milena Rasic of Serbia added another 13 each for VakifBank who overwhelmed their opponents in absolutely every aspect of the game. Despite coming off the bench in both of the first two sets, Serbia's Tijana Boskovic - the MVP of the 2016 FIVB Club World Championship in Manila - was Eczacibasi's best scorer with 13 points, but her team proved poor in attacking, with just 35 kills in 101 swings for a mere 35 per cent.

The result allowed Fenerbahce Istanbul to climb to second place in the standings - though only after surviving a very scary five sets away against Canakkale Belediyesi 3-2 (25-20, 20-25, 25-19, 22-25, 16-14). Korea's Kim Yeon-Koung rose to the occasion to save the day for Fenerbahce with 28 points.

Third straight five-set win for Hisamitsu Springs
In Japan, meanwhile, 2017 FIVB Club World Championship hosts Hisamitsu Springs scored two five-set wins over the weekend, defeating Hitachi Rivale 3-2 (22-25, 18-25, 25-18, 25-20, 15-10) and Toray Arrows 3-2 (25-27, 25-20, 25-21, 18-25, 15-9), to remain undefeated and at the top of the standings in the 'Top 6' playoffs of the V.Premier League. Risa Shinnabe with 24 points and Miyu Nagaoka with 23 were the team's top scorers in the two games respectively.

It was the third tie-break in as many 'Top 6' matches for Hisamitsu Springs, who will greet the world's best clubs for the 2017 title from May 8 to 14.

But NEC Red Rockets of Kawasaki, who will also be playing at the Club Worlds in Kobe as the reigning Asian champions, fell in straight sets to Toyota Auto Body Queenseis 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 36-34). Despite Sarina Koga's 17 points for the Red Rockets, Azerbaijan's Polina Rahimova scored 34 in just three sets for the Queenseis.

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