Drama in Cremona to open 2017 for clubs in Europe


Francesca Marcon of Liu Jo Nordmeccanica Modena tries to beat the block of Pomi Casalmaggiore's Lauren Gibbemeyer and Lucia Bosetti in the Italian Cup quarterfinals.

Lausanne, Switzerland, January 8, 2017 - Reigning women's European champions and 2016 FIVB World Championship runners-up Pomi Casalmaggiore crashed out of the Italian Cup in dramatic fashion, as Liu Jo Nordmeccanica Modena survived a golden set to make it through to the Final Four.

After winning the first leg quarterfinal midweek at home 3-0 (25-18, 25-22, 25-16), Modena found themselves dropping the return leg, Sunday evening in Cremona 3-0 (25-15, 25-19, 25-19), as Pomi forced the tie into a 'Golden Set'. Pomi took an early lead midway through the decider, before Modena came back to snatch the ticket to the Final Four 18-16, powered by Caterina Bosetti and Jovana Brakocevic.

In the Final Four Modena join Igor Gorgonzola Novara and Imoco Volley Conegliano, who both scored double victories over Sudtirol Bolzano and Unet Yamamay Busto Arsizio repectively. Savino Del Bene Scandicci complete the semifinalists, despite their return leg defeat to Foppapedretti Bergamo 3-2 (23-25, 19-25, 27-25, 25-19, 15-7), after having clinched the ticket on the back of their straight-set win at home midweek and their 1-0 lead Sunday evening.

The semifinals, on 4 March, pit Savino Del Bene Scandicci against Liu Jo Nordmeccanica Modena and Imoco Volley Conegliano against Igor Gorgonzola Novara.

Dinamo Kazan carry 2016 momentum into 2017
Fresh from claiming the title of the Russian Cup just before the turn of the year, Dinamo Kazan retained their four-point lead at the head of the Russian Superleague table, after Irina Voronkova with 19 points (including 15/24 for 63% in attacking) led them to a 3-0 (25-23, 25-15, 25-23) at home over Leningradka of Saint Petersburg.

That keeps Kazan well ahead of defending champions Dinamo Moscow, despite the latter's impressive win 3-0 (25-9, 25-22, 25-14) at Ekaterinburg over Uralochka, with Yana Shcherban leading the scoring on 16 points and the Dominican Republic's Bethania de la Cruz adding another 15.

Eczacibasi & Volero split wins
In Zurich, meanwhile, reigning FIVB club world champions Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul and 2015 Club World Championship bronze medallists Volero Zurich split wins in two freindly matches - both in five sets. Volero took the first game 3-2 (26-28, 25-21, 25-20, 19-25, 15-9), before Eczacibasi replied with another five-setter 3-2 (22-25, 25-20, 25-23, 20-25, 16-14).

The friendly matches came ahead of this week's European Champions League obligations, where a ticket to the 2017 FIVB Club World Champioship, 8-14 May in Kobe, is up for grabs.

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