Two Nomos EVE 2020 participants, and starting freshmen outside hitters for their MVC teams, Doga Topcicek and Yagmur Cinel, faced each other last weekend. The first match winner was Doğa's team, the Bradley Braves, and the second match winner was Yagmur's team, the UNI Panthers. Doga Topcicek paced Bradley offensively with her season-high 13 kills. After last weekend, Bradley took 4th place for the MVC Tournament and UNI placed 7th. Both teams are guaranteed a spot for the upcoming MVC Volleyball Championship. UMBC swept Hartford two matches in a row in a single day, and Beste Ayhan recorded a match-best seven blocks in the first game and she was extremely strong and efficient on offense as she had seven kills on seven attacks in the second game. UTEP kept sweeping and earned the #2 seed for the upcoming Conference USA Tournament, while Hande Yetis recorded 19 assists in both games.
After dancing in the Big Dance and experiencing the wonders of March Madness over two rounds of highly-competitive basketball, Elena Tsineke of the University of South Florida (the only Greek who made it in the 2021 NCAA tournament) bid farewell to her remarkable sophomore campaign on March 23th. The USF Bulls, reaching as high as #12 in the country earlier this season, faced #1 seed North Carolina State University in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament. USF lost 67-79, in a tough game. Despite the loss and not having her best game, Elena scored 22 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists in 32 minutes of action. She finished her season having a huge impact on the team and tremendously helping USF win the AAC title earlier in March, wrapping up averaging 13.6 points per game.
HIGHLIGHTS Freshman Cagla Bengi made her collegiate debut after her injury and she finished with 18 assists and 7 digs. She added 19 assists and 5 digs the following day, leading her Seton Hall Pirates to an important win against Villanova in Big East Conference action. Beste Ayhan recorded a career-high 10 kills on .667 hitting with no errors and seven blocks. Beste is helping her young UMBC Golden Retrievers to their best season in recent years. Cansu Gunaydin recorded a career-high 3 blocks against Purdue. UNI won against strong MVC rival Loyola on Saturday, and Yagmur Cinel recorded 3 kills and 2 blocks. Bradley has won three straight three-set matches in conference play for the first time since 2003. Doga Topcicek helped in Bradley's victory with 11 digs and 2 aces. UTEP swept Louisiana Tech with Hande’s assists. She had a total of 32 assists this weekend. Ada’s UTRGV Vaqueros dropped the regular season finale at Tarleton and they are starting to prepare for the WAC Conference tournament.
Kagialis & Kalagasidis - The Greek Californians triumph! Aris - Paok 2-0… in New York! Baka is undaunted with two more double-doubles in a row!
The Greeks of Simpson University contributed to two more wins for the SU Redhawks and their efforts did not go unnoticed. Kagialis was named player of the week and Kalagasidis was named setter of the week for the California Pacific Conference. The former player of PAOK, Leontaridou, visited the former players of Aris, Alexakou and Kathariou, in their new “home” in New York. Baka had her 16th and 17th double-double in her career in America last week, and now has double digits in kills and digs in 7 out of her 15 matches in ’21!
Yagmur Cinel keeps firing up her team and was the second scorer and player of the game with 16 points against Valpo. She also broke her career record with 14 kills and 4 blocks this past weekend. UMBC ended Sunday with one win and one loss in a day. Beste Ayhan finished the first game, against reigning (and perennial) America East champions UAlbany, with an amazing block performance. She had 8 blocks, 3 kills, and 1 dig. She broke her career record with her 8 blocks. Bradley Volleyball keeps sweeping and Doga Topcicek keeps helping with her digs and aces. She recorded a total 6 aces and 19 digs in two matches. Ada Bulgur helped her team with 3 blocks to record a season high 13 team blocks, as a team. She also added 11 kills and 5 digs.
1) What inspired you to come to America to play volleyball? Why the US?
The thing that inspired me the most was my friends who come to US before me and while I was talking with them, I realized that this was the best decision for me. Another reason was, US has the best resources compared to other countries. They provide every single detail for you. They also plan your classes and practice schedule so it is easier to make everything work together. Our sport equipments, food…everything that comes to your mind is provided by school. When I think about all of these stuff, US was the best option for me.
Ioanna Krimili was named as the Newcomer of the Year in the West Coast Conference, and in the All-Conference First Team, earlier in March while leading the WCC in points per game (18.7), 3-point field-goal percentage (46) and free-throw percentage (90.4). On March 8 in a conference tournament matchup vs #2 BYU, she scored 21 points while shooting 4/8 from the 3pt line and making 9/12 Free throws in a tough 55-85 loss which ended her season. She finished this season averaging 18.6 points per game going along with 3.3 rebounds while shooting 46.6% from the 3pt line.