Kobe 2017 entrants with mixed results in Japan V.Premier League


NEC Red Rockets libero Miku Torigoe gets low to receive the ball in the Japan V.Premier League.

Lausanne, Switzerland, November 27, 2016 - Both Japanese teams entered in the 2017 FIVB Women's Club World Championship ended with 1-1 records over the weekend in the domestic V.Premier League - but both remain very much on track at this very early stage of the competition.

Despite some top scoring from Yuki Ishii (18 points) and Miyu Nagaoka (17), Hisamitsu Springs Kobe fell on Saturday to Toray Arrows of Otsu 3-1 (25-21, 25-23, 25-27, 25-21), before bouncing back on Sunday with a 3-0 (25-14, 25-16, 25-13) sweep of Toyota Auto Body Queenseis of Kariya. Nagaoka, Risa Shinnabe and Poland's Maja Tokarska scored 11 points each to lead Hisamitsu Springs to their win.

Meanwhile, NEC Red Rockets of Kawasaki fell to Hitachi Rivale of Hitachinaka 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-22) on Saturday, before pulling together the very next day to edge JT Marvelous of Nishinomiya 3-1 (25-16, 21-25, 25-20, 25-23). Despite the Saturday loss, Emiliya Nikolova of Bulgaria was top scorer of the game against Hitachi Rivale with 18 points; Sarina Koga, MVP of the 2016 Asian Club Championship, led NC Red Rockets in their win over JT Marvelous with 20.

Hisamitsu Springs and NEC Red Rockets are the only two sides already confirmed to take part in next year's edition of the ultimate international club competition, 8-14 May in Kobe. Hisamitsu Springs are in as hosts, while NEC Red Rockets will be representing Asia as the reigning continental champions.

The two teams clash again in the Japan V.Premier League next weekend. Hisamitsu Springs had won in four in their previous encounter earlier this season.

Hisamitsu Springs, who finished sixth at the 2016 FIVB Club World Championship in Manila last month, currently continue to lead the race in the V.Premier League on 21 points after 9 matches. Hitachi Rivale and JT Marevlous are tied in second place on 18 each, with NEC Red rockets following in fourth place with 15 points.

Status quo intact in Italy
Table leaders Foppapedretti Bergamo bounced back from a setback in the second set and rallied from behind in the fourth to down Saugella Team Monza 3-1 (25-10, 20-25, 25-22, 31-29) and retain the pole position in the Italian A1 League.

Bergamo were led by Poland's Katarzyna Skowronska who scored 25 points to counter the 17 of Spain's Maria Segura for Monza.

Pomi Casalmaggiore, the reigning European champions and runners-up of the 2016 FIVB Volleyball Club World Championship, found little resistance from Il Bisonte of Florence in their 3-0 (25-16, 25-22, 25-18) win before almost 3,000 fans at the PalaRadi, that keeps them in hot pursuit of the leaders.

Led by match MVP, setter Carli Lloyd of USA, and top scorer (22 points) Samanta Fabris of Croatia, Pomi clinched the three points that keep them within one of the leaders in the standings after 7 matches.

Cup holders crash out in Russia
Meanwhile, Proton Balakovo stunned the defending Cup holders Dinamo Krasnodar 3-2 (22-25, 25-20, 22-25, 26-24, 15-11) as the finalists of the women's Cup in Russia were confirmed after the conclusion of the preliminary round pools.

Proton will be joined by Dinamo Moscow, Yenisei Krasnoyarsk and Dinamo Kazan in the "Givi Akhvlediani" Russian Cup Final Four scheduled for 27-28 December.

The competition is named after the coach who led the USSR to Olympic gold medals in Mexico City 1968 and Munich 1972, the FIVB World Championship title in 1970 and a wealth of other international distinctions.

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