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.