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With FIVB season less than a month off, club action peaks

Osmany Juantorena in action for Cucine Lube Civitanova against Itas Trentino
Lausanne, Switzerland, April 22, 2019 - It's less than a month now until the FIVB season begins, with the 2019 FIVB Women's Volleyball Nations League due to start on 21 May and the men's competition following ten days later. And as these dates approach, the stars that will shine with their National Teams this season are giving their clubs the final push for distinction in leagues across the globe.

• In men's action, with Cubans Jesus Herrera (23 points) and Osniel Melgarejo (20) paving the way, Obras de San Juan beat Bolivar Voley 3-2 (21-25, 25-23, 26-24, 18-25, 15-12) to tie the final series of Argentina's National League at 2-2. Yadrian Escobar, also of Cuba, bagged a match-high 25 points for Bolivar, with captain Pablo Crer bagging 5 stuffs. The deciding 5th match is on Thursday 25 April at San Carlos de Bolivar.
• The first finalists of the Italian Superleague could very well emerge on Monday evening, as Cucine Lube Civitanova now enjoy a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five semifinal series following a 3-1 (16-25, 25-18, 25-23, 25-13) win over Itas Trentino. Yoandy Leal led Lube with 23 points (icluding 3 aces and 2 stuffs), with Serbia's Uros Kovacevic scoring 18 Including 2 aces and 3 stuffs) for Trentino.
• Meanwhile, Azimut Leo Shoes Modena have tied the other semifinal series at 1-1 following their 3-2 (19-25, 25-22, 25-22, 23-25, 15-9) victory over Sir Safety Conad Perugia. Ivan Zaytsev's 30 points for Modena were decisive for the win to balance out 27 from Serbia's Aleksandar Atanasijevic and 24 from Wilfredo Leon for Perugia.
• Zenit Kazan took an early advantage in the best-of-three semifinal series of the Russian Superleague as Maxim Mikhaylov scored 19 points, USA's Matt Anderson 16 and France's Earvin Ngapeth 15 in their 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 25-19) sweep of Fakel Novy Urengoy. Kuzbass Kemerovo lead the other semifinal series after beating Zenit Saint Peteresburg 3-0 (25-15, 26-24, 25-23) with Yaroslav Podlesnykh scoring 16 points and Victor Poletaev another 14.

• In women's action, as many as 22 stuffs (nine by Carol Silva alone) and match-high socring performance of 30 points by USA's Nicole Fawcett were not enough for defending champions Dentil / Praia Clube of Uberlandia who fell to Itambe / Minas Tenis Clube of Belo Horizonte 3-2 (28-26, 25-22, 17-25, 17-25, 15-6) in the first match of the best-of-three final series of Brazil's women's Superleague. Critical to the result was Praia Clube losing Fe Garay to inhury towards the end of the first set. Gabi Guimaraes was best scorer of Minas with 22 points.
Natalya Goncharova scored 15 points and Irina Fetisova another 13, leading Dinamo Moscow to a 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-20) sweep of Uralochka NTMK Ekaterinburg in their deciding match of the Russian Superleague semifinals. In the best-of-five final series Dinamo will face Lokomotiv Kaliningrad who had already secured their own semifinal series 2-0 against Dinamo Kazan.
• Imoco Volley Conegliano are one win away from the final of the Italian Superleague after extending their lead in the best-of-five semifinal series to 2-0 over Saugella Monza with a convincing 3-0 (25-19, 25-12, 25-22) win. Croatia's Samanta Fabris scored 18 points and the Netherlands' Robin de Kruijf 14 to lead Conegliano.
• But the other semifinal series is tied at 1-1, after Paola Egonu scored 33 points in four sets to lead Igor Gorgonzola Novara to a 3-1 (27-25, 25-28, 23-25, 25-19) win over Savino Del Bene Scandicci.
• Midweek, VakifBank Istanbul became the second finalist of the Turkish League after China's Zhu Ting scored 22 points to lead them to a 3-1 (23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-18) win over Fenerbahce Opet in the decisive match of their semifinal series. In the final series VakifBank meet crosstown rivals Eczacibasi VitrA who had already qualified earlier with two straight wins over Galatasaray Istanbul.

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