Club Volleyball

Europeans Abroad: Lozo and Van Hecke take their teams to the playoffs in Japan


Article Sun, Feb 11 2024
Author: Guilherme Torres

European volleyball players are spread all over the world during the 2023-2024 club season, playing big roles in their teams. Many of them are currently away from the continent, competing in some of the top leagues on the planet, and we’ll help you follow their journeys by providing periodic updates on how they’re doing.

Sara Lozo and her teammates will compete in the V. League posteason (Photo: Saitama Ageo Medics)


Two of the three European players that compete in the Japanese Women's V. League will appear in the tournament’s postseason as Serbian outside hitter Sara Lozo will be in action with the Saitama Ageo Medics while Belgian opposite Lise Van Hecke also remains on the hunt for the title with the Toyota Auto Body Queenseis.

The Ageo Medics dropped both of their matches in the last weekend of the regular season, falling to the NEC Red Rockets in three sets on Saturday and to the Hisamitsu Springs in the tie-braker on Sunday – Lozo scored 17 points (16 kills, one block) in the first match and 28 (27 kills, one block) in the second. The team still advanced in fourth place with 15 wins in 22 matches and will face fifth-placed Denso Airybees in the quarterfinals, on February 24.

Van Hecke and the Queenseis played just once, on Saturday, and swept Prestige International Aranmare with 14 points (11 kills, three aces) from the Belgian. The team ranked sixth with 12 wins and will play the Springs for a spot in the semifinals also on February 24.

The third European player to appear in the Japanese V. League this season, Italian opposite Sylvia Nwakalor couldn’t take her team Toray Arrows to the playoffs, as they ranked eighth with eight victories, but she ended the regular season as the league’s top scorer with 538 points.


European players featured in all three matches of the third week of the new American women’s league, the Pro Volleyball Federation, held between Wednesday and Saturday.

On Wednesday, German opposite Saskia Hippe appeared in the first match of her team Vegas Thrill and produced 13 points (11 kills, two blocks) in their 3-2 victory against the Omaha Supernovas.

Hippe (91) scored 13 points in each of the two matches she played this week (Photo: Vegas Thrill)

On Friday, Bulgarian opposite Emiliya Dimitrova led her team Grand Rapids Rise to a 3-1 win over the Atlanta Vibe with a team-high 16 points (13 kills, two blocks, one ace). Czech middle blocker Magdalena Jehlárová appeared in Atlanta’s matchday roster for the first time, but was an unused substitute.

On Saturday, in the final match of the week, Hippe and the Thrill got back on the court and fell to the Orlando Valkyries in four sets. The German was her team’s main scorer with 13 points (12 kills, one ace).


Russian Sofya Kuznetsova led her team Dentil Praia Clube to a productive week in the Brazilian Superliga, guiding the reigning South American champions to a pair of victories over the last week.

In her first season in Brazil, the 24-year-old Kuznetsova fired a match-high 17 points (16 kills, one block) in a Wednesday road sweep of Unilife Vôlei Maringá. On Saturday, Praia returned home and the Russian repeated her 17-point performance with 16 kills and one ace as they topped Barueri Volleyball Club in straight sets. Praia are now in second place and have booked a spot in the playoffs.

The top scorer of the Superliga, Serbian outside hitter Aleksandra Uzelac also shone during the week. The 19-year-old outside hitter tallied 20 points (15 kills, three blocks, two aces) on Wednesday, when her team Fluminense defeated Associação Atlética São Caetano in three sets on the road.