The first month of this challenging volleyball season came with some pleasant surprises for college volleyball fans, courtesy of the young Turkish guns by the names of Doga Topcicek and Yagmur Cinel, who keep firing away in each game. They are both third in scoring and consistent attackers for their teams, helping their teammates maintain 3-3 W-L records in the highly competitive Missouri Valley Conference, annually featuring Top-50 teams nationally!
Katerina Papazoglou and Temple University premiered with the Greek senior being “on fire” on the service line with 5 aces. The dynamic duo, Alexakou-Kathariou had a great weekend at St. John’s after Saturday’s sweep over Sacred Heart University (3-0). Alexakou led her team with 17 points, 16 kills, 2 blocks, and 6 digs, while Kathariou hosted a “block-party” attaining 7 blocks and 4 kills. Valentine’s Day, however, challenged St. John’s after it took them 5 sets to break Stony Brook University’s resistance and wrap up their two-match home-stand. With Kathariou building walls for St. John’s block and Alexakou’s mighty swings, they managed to capture the 5th set with 15-11 bringing the Red Storm to raging celebrations. Alexakou ended the game with 14 kills, 1 block, and 13 digs while Kathariou was named the best blocker for both teams with 8 blocks, 7 kills, and 1 ace.
What inspired you to come to America to play volleyball? Why in the US? America has been my dream since I was very young. I thought it was very interesting to be able to play the sport you love and study at the same time, but without determining the continuation of your life from the panhellenic exams, as in Greece.
An amazing performance by Christos Gitersos after breaking last year’s personal record of 46 assists, having 51 against Queens University of Charlotte, also scoring his first double-double of the year with 51 assists and 10 digs. Giourda’s University of Central Florida ranks 1st place with 5 wins while Papazoglou’s Temple University ranks 2nd, neither of which have suffered any defeats.
Ioanna Krimili is having a great start in the month of February helping her team get two wins against Saint Mary’s (CA) and Pacific University this past week. Her team started the month 2-0 and Krimili was awarded yet again the Freshman of the Week award, her 8th in 11 weeks! She also received a national award this past week, as NCAA D1 "High Major Player of the Week" from CollegeSportsMadness.com.
What inspired you to come to America to play volleyball? Why did you choose the U.S? The first time I thought of America as an option was in high school when I started preparing for the Panhellenic Examinations. That was when I realized that I would have to choose between volleyball and school/getting a degree, not only during my preparation for the Panhellenic Examinations but also while I would be studying in a Greek university. The U.S. seemed to be the best choice because not only can one combine their academic and athletic careers, but also because I would be able to focus on becoming a better player which would give me a great opportunity to develop as an exceptional athlete. Furthermore, I have always liked to surround myself in new environments, try new things, and live outside Greece even if it is for a short period of time.
Ioanna Krimili had a memorable January, and to cap it all off she is the first WCC player to receive the Player of the Week twice, while also receiving her 7th Freshman of the Week award in 10 weeks of action!
Another remarkable appearance in the books for Elena Baka who scored 19.5 points and led Saint Mary’s College to yet another victory. Christos Gitersos’ excellent appearance raises the bar with 34 assists. Stavroula Papazoglou’s Odessa College had an incredible start with 7 wins and just one defeat.