Thursday, February 28, 2013

PRO VOLLEYBALL | Small Town, Big Upset

CEV Championships (Round 1 of 2):

  • Muszyna 3, Istanbul 2 (26-24, 26-24, 19-25, 23-25, 15-11)

Two weeks ago, we walked through the snow to a small gym in a small mountain town in southern Poland, right on the Slovakian border.

Courtney Thompson, playing
professionally for Lodz, Poland,
during a time out against Muszyna.
-Volleyblog Seattle photo by Jack Hamann
Last night, the volleyball world witnessed an eye-opening upset in that same little gym.

In the first (of two) round of the 2013 CEV Volleyball Cup, mighty Istanbul fell to Polish league regular season champ Muszyna 3-2. The teams will play one more time—Saturday in Turkey—to determine the 2013 CEV Cup champion. The CEV Cup is considered the second-most prestigious professional European volleyball tournament.

What’s so mighty about Istanbul? The Turkish League professional team features the best two international players from the past half-decade, Brazil’s Paula (full name: Paula Renata Marques Pequeno) and Korea’s Kim Yeon-Koung. It also includes Lindsay Berg, the starting setter for the USA’s silver medal team at the London Olympics.

The other setter from that US Olympic team is Seattle’s Courtney Thompson, who happens to be playing professionally this season for the Polish Premier League team in the intriguing city of Łódź.

On February 17, Volleyblog Seattle was in Muszyna with Thompson as she led her team to a 2-0 advantage, before dropping a 2-3 decision. Muszyna’s stars are less heralded than Istanbul’s, but—like most great teams at all levels—they serve and pass well when the match is on the line. That’s how they beat Łódź; that’s also how they beat Istanbul.

Istantbul's Kim Yeon-Koung grimaces after a Muszyna point
What was Volleyblog Seattle doing in Poland? We’re just back from a month traveling with Thompson, the centerpiece of a one-hour volleyball documentary we’re producing in time for the 2013 NCAA D1 Volleyball Championships this December in Seattle’s Key Arena. We’ve got lots to share from our trip, both on the blog and in the documentary.

Stay tuned.


  1. Any news on Amanda Gil's request to the NCAA for another year playing at UW?

  2. Sorry, this article is confusing. Does Courtney play for Lodz or for Muszyna? You seem to be saying both, but someone beat Lodz who also beat Istanbul.

    Otherwise, it's great to hear about Courtney and about this upcoming documentary. She is a class act.

    And seconding the question about Amanda.

    And glad you were in Poland on volleyball business; I've been wondering what was up with you.

  3. Courtney plays for Lodz. Her team lost 2-3 at Muszyna, a team that beat Fenerbache Istanbul as described in this article. What's confusing about that? By the way, Muszyna just won their second match play against Fenerbache today and thus won the CEV Cup.

  4. Court plays for Łódź. Actually the article was pretty clear on that point...

    "...Courtney Thompson, who happens to be playing professionally this season for the Polish Premier League team in the intriguing city of Łódź."


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