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Honore’s SL Benfica reaches Cup quarters
T&T international men’s volleyballer Marc-Anthony Honore and reigning Portugal A-1 Division champion team SL Benfica advanced to the quarter-finals of Confederation European Volleyball (CEV) Challenge Cup after beating Romania’s Steaua Bucharest 25-19, 19-25, 25-15, 28-16 at Pavilion Luz, Lisbon on Wednesday.
It was the second win in two matches for SL Benfica against the Romanians after taking the first-leg of their round-of-16 meeting 21-25, 25-16, 25-17, 20-25, 15-11.
In the quarter-finals which serves off on February 13, SL Benfica will tackle Italian mid-table club, Ravena which swept Czech Republic by a similar 2-0 margin after winning 25-15, 25-19, 25-14 and 25-23, 29-27, 25-23 in both matches. The second-leg of the quarter-finals will take place on February 27.
Today, Honore and his teammates who have dominated the Portuguese competition in recent years will return to domestic competition versus second from last on the 13-team table Vitoria SC.
Defending champion Benfica is currently second on the table with 48 points and a 15-4 record three points behind Sporting CP which has only dropped one match in 19 outings while SC Espinho is third at 16-3 and 45 points.
Jack’s Galatasaray wins five-set thriller
Over in Turkey, national senior women’s volleyball middle-blocker Sinead Jack and Galatasaray solidified their hold on fourth spot on the 12-team Sultanlar Ligi with a hard fought 25-22, 25-20, 24-26, 22-25, 15-11 defeat of fourth from bottom Seramiksan .
The victory improved Galatasaray to a 12-5 record and 35 points, 13 adrift of joint leaders Eczacibasi and Vakifbank Istanbul, both with 16-1 records while Fernerbache is third with a 14-3 record and 40 points.
Today, Jack and her team will be back in action as they entertain fifth placed Bursa B, Sehir which has 33 points from a 9-8 record.
Staying in Turkey, the T&T spiking duo of Channon Thompson, 23, and 33-year-old national captain Krystle Esdelle will also be in action today with their respective clubs in the 28-clubs two pools 1. Lig Bayanlar (Division Two).
Thompson’s Ankara Numune, sixth on the standings with 36 points will come up against 11th placed Pool B team Bartin Polisgucu Spor (15 points), while Esdelle’s Pursaklar Voleybol Ihtisas (Belediyesi), fourth with 43 points faces and Karsiyaka (47), fourth in Pool A.
Last weekend, Thompson and her Ankara Numune defeated 25-18, 25-18, 20-25, 25-16 for a fifth win-in-a-row to improve to 13-6 while Esdelle and her Pursaklar Voleybol Ihtisas (Belediyesi) won 25-7, 25-19, 25-10 over Gumushane Genclerbirligi to improve to 15-4, level with fifth placed Bursaspot Voleybol (16-3) on points.
At the top of the group is Ankara Karayollari with 51 points from a 17-2 record followed by Samsun BSB Anakent (16-3) with 50 points and Bolu Belediye with a 14-5 mark for 46 points.
Both Thompson and Esdelle will also return to action today with their clubs versus 11th placed Pool B team Bartin Polisgucu Spor and Karsiyaka, fourth in Pool A.
Over in Swedeen, former national captain, setter Renele Forde and Svedala were swept aside by leaders Engelholm 15-25, 15-25, 18-25 in the Elitserien Damer to remain seventh on the 11-club table with 24 points and an 8-13 record.
Engelholm leads with an 18-2 mark and 53 points, two ahead of Hylte/Halmstad which has two matches in hand followed by Orebo (48), Lindesberg (43), Linkopings VC (31) and Gislaved (27).
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