As domestic and international club leagues enter their playoffs nter their playoffs phases across the globe, the world's volleyball superstars continue to thrill fans in a preview of what's to follow later this year when they join their National Teams for a highly anticipated FIVB season which begins in May with the Volleyball Nations League.
With 13 points from Bruna Honorio plus 11 more from Gabi Guimaraes and 10 from Natalia Pereira, Itambe / Minas Tenis Clube wrapped up the Regular Season in Brazil's Women's Superleague in first place after a 3-0 (25-21, 25-10, 25-16) on the road over Curitiba Volei.
Starting the Playoffs tomorrow in pole position, Minas Tenis Clube meet Curutiba again in the best-of-three quarterfinals, which also feature Dentil / Praia Clube of Uberlandia v. Fluminense of Rio de Janeiro, Hinonde Barueri v. Osasco / Audax and Sesc Rio de Janeiro v Sesi Volei Bauru.
• Elsewhere, The Playoffs have begun in Turkey's Women's Superleague, with the favourites all emerging victorious in the first of the four best-of-three quarterfinals. Kubra Akman and Ebrar Karakurt shared top scoring honours with 12 points each and China's Zhu Ting added 11 more in VakifBank Istanbul's 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 26-24) over Nilufer Beleidyespor.
• Meanwhile, Cuba's Melissa Vargas with 18 points led Fenerbahce Opet to a 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 28-26) sweep of Turk Hava Yollari and Hande Baladin starred in Galatasaray's win over Besiktas 3-1 (22-25, 25-15, 25-15, 27-25) with 23 points. Regular Season leaders Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul don't play until 28 March, when they face Kameroglu.
• However, Eczacibasi had started their European Champions League quarterfinals campaign with a convincing 3-0 (25-21, 27-25, 25-22) sweep of Italy's Imoco Volley Conegliano on the road midweek, with Serbia's Tijana Boskovic socring 25 points and Korea's Kim Yoen-Koung adding 14.
• In other Champions League action midweek, Nataliya Goncharova scored 26 points and Irina Fetisova another 19 as Dinamo Moscow narrowly defeated VakifBank 3-2 (20-25, 25-23, 25-23, 21-25, 15-13), despite 26 points from the Netherland's Lonneke Sloetjes and 24 from Zhu.
• Led by Paola Egonu's 33 points Igor Gorgonzola Novara beat Allianz MTV Stuttgart 3-1 (25-19, 26-24, 19-25, 25-20) in Germany, and Fenerbahce downed Savino del Bene Scandicci 3-1 (25-19, 23-25, 25-19, 25-21) in Italy with 21 points each from Vargas and Mexico's Samantha Bricio to wrap up the European Champions League action.