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Honore’s SL Benfica gets vital win
T&T’s Marc-Anthony Honore and his Portugal A-1 Men’s Division Volleyball champion club SL Benfica warmed up for a crucial mid-week contest with Itlains Ravenna with a second straight league win, 25-23, 25-22, 25-14 over AJF Bastardo on Saturday.
The straight sets triumph followed a similar outcome over AAS Mamede 25-20, 25-12, 25-19 and improved the three-time Portugal champions and current title-holders to a 19-4 win loss record and 60 points, level with table-toppers Sporting CP which has a 21-1 record.
The trio of SC Espinho (19-3), Castelo da Maia (16-7) and AJF Bastardo (15-8) with 54, 48 and 46 points respectively complete the top five on the 13-team table.
Honore and Benfica faced ninth placed Clube K (7-15) yesterday in another league match ahead of Wednesday’s Confederation European Volleyball (CEV) Challenge Cup quarter-final second- leg at home to Ravenna after losing the first encounter in four sets, 25-22, 22-25, 23-25, 20-25 at the Pala De Andre, Ravenna.
National women’s team middle- blocker Sinead Jack had a match-high 18 points to lead Turkish club, Galatasaray to a comefrom- behind 19-25, 25-22, 25-15, 25-21 win over Dynamo Moscow on match day five in the European Champions League Pool D round-robin series on Tuesday.
With the win at their Burhon Felek Spor, Salanu, Istanbul, Jack and her team-mates improved to a 4-1 record and 12 points, two behind fellow Turkish club Vakifbank Instanbul which swept past winless Budowlani Lodz 25-13, 25- 22, 25-16 to improve to 5-0.
In the final round of group matches, Galatasaray which also got 17 points from Russian standout Tatiana Kosheleva will host Vakifbank Istanbul on Tuesday with top spot up for grabs and both teams having already qualified for the main draw knockout stage of Europe’s elite club competition.
On Saturday last, Jack and her club rebounded from a shock 23- 25, 17-25, 25-20, 28-26, 12-15 loss to seventh placed Besiktas Jimnastik by spanking Canakkale 25-10, 25- 13, 25-18 in the 12-team Sultanlar Ligi.
The win improved Galatasaray record fell to 16-6 and 48 points while Eczacibasi stayed top of the standings with a 20-1 mark and 60 points followed Vakifbank Istanbul (19-3) and 57 points, with Fernerbache Grundig (16-6) fourth with 46 points.
In the Turkish 1. Lig Bayanlar (Division Two), national women’s team pair Krystle Esdelle and Channon Thompson and their respective clubs continued their playoff push with double wins.
Current national women’s team captain Esdelle and Pursaklar Belediyesi rallied past Kazan Belediye 21-25, 25-20, 25-16, 25-16 and then crushed Bartin Polisgucu Spor 25-18, 25-10, 25-18 to carry its record to 20-4 and 55 points in fourth spot. Thompson’s Ankara Numune (17-7) is eight points behind of Esdelle’s club after battling past fifth placed Bursaspor Voleybol (18-5) and 48 points, 25-20, 27-25, 25-17, and then TVF Spor Lisesi 25-16, 25-17, 25-20 At the top of the 14-team standings is Ankara Karayollari 64 points and a 21-3 record followed Samsun BSB Anakent (20-4) and 63 points and Bolu Belediye (18-6) for 57 points.
Up next for Esdelle and Thompson, former players at the University of T&T (UTT) will be matches against Bolu Belediye and Ankara Karayollari respectively tomorrow.
Former national captain, setter Renele Forde and her Svedala team-mates also rebounded from a loss to table leaders Hylte/Halmstad by topping Lunds VK 25-19, 26-24, 25-17 for a third win in five matches and a 10-14 record and 30 points, level with sixth placed Gislaved.
Hylte/Halmstad is the leader of the 11-team Elitserien Damer with a 20-2 win loss record and 61 points, just two ahead of Engelholm which has the identical record of 20-2, but trails based on sets won to sets loss ratio.
Forde and Svedala face a tough battle in their next match when they battle Engelholm tomorrow.
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