Three opposites headline the 2022 edition of the Women's Club World Champs and feature in this selection of players to watch when six of the most exciting club teams in the world compete in Antalya, Türkiye from December 14 to 18.
Don't miss these six players at the Women's Club World Championship
Publicado 08:15, 12 Dec 2022
Imoco have such an outstanding group of players, that any of them could have made this selection. But what makes Haak special is that she was also the Most Valuable Player of the 2021 Club World Championship and will now defend the colours of the club she helped to defeat last year. The Swede was key to her previous club VakifBank Istanbul’s amazing golden quintuple last season, when they won the Champions League and Türkiye’s three domestic trophies, in addition to the world title. She also earned individual awards at most of those competitions, to add to her already impressive collection of honours. Since transferring to Conegliano this season, the 23-year-old points machine has celebrated a Supercoppa Italiana victory and is the leading scorer of the Italian league as her team emphatically tops the standings. Before VakifBank, Haak played in her home country, France and Italy. She has also played a big role for Sweden in recent years, helping them to two trophies in the CEV European Silver League and reaching the EuroVolley Finals for the first time in 38 years in 2021.
Position: Middle blocker
It will not surprise anyone that Ana Carolina Da Silva is currently the leading blocker in the Brazilian Superliga. The fantastic Brazilian middle was the best blocker of this season's FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship and Volleyball Nations League, was on the Dream Team at both tournaments, and at countless competitions before those two. In the history of the Club World Championships, Carol has been on Dream Teams twice, in 2013 and 2015. Her long list of individual honours also includes an MVP award at the South American Club Championship in 2016. The 31-year-old star has played for Dentil Praia Clube since 2018, earning a continental title in 2021, in addition to three silvers. However, she has not been able to make it to a Club Word Championship podium with her current team yet, like she did in 2013 as a Unilever Volei Rio de Janeiro player, when they finished runners-up. Overall, Carol is a four-time continental champion, four-time national champion, two-time national cup winner and six-time Brazil Super Cup laureate. With the Brazilian national team, she collected last year’s Olympic silver and this year’s World Championship silver, among other medals from major world and continental competitions.
31-year-old playmaker Lora Kitipova is probably the most well-known player on the Kuanysh roster. In 2018, Kitipova won the FIVB Volleyball Challenger Cup with Bulgaria. She has also won as many as five CEV European Golden League medals, including the 2018 and 2021 golds, and made the Dream Team of the continental tournament in 2018. Before joining Kazakhstan’s Kuanysh Club, Kitipova played for teams in Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Germany, Italy, Russia, Romania and Ukraine and helped win domestic trophies and medals in most of those countries. She also received Best Setter honours in the Bulgarian and Ukrainian leagues. Her greatest success at a club level was a 2019 CEV Cup silver with Romania’s Volei Alba Blaj.
Paola Egonu hardly needs an introduction. Arguably the top player in the world, she has already won numerous trophies and individual awards as her 24th birthday approaches on the final day of the Club World Championship tournament. After moving from Prosecco Doc Imoco Conegliano to VakifBank Spor Kulubu at the end of last season, and switching places with Isabelle Haak, Egonu will be eager to defend the title her new club won against the Italian champs last year. She has, however, already won the Club World Championship with Imoco in 2019 when she was honoured as the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, the highest among a number of MVP awards she has claimed at high-level competitions in her club career. Playing for either Imoco or her previous club, Igor Gorgonzola Novara, Egonu has also won two Champions League crowns, two Italian championship titles, five Coppa Italia trophies and four Supercoppa Italiana trophies. With VakifBank, she is now the second most efficient scorer of the Turkish league season, after Tijana Boskovic, with an average of 6.7 points per set. As a leading member of the Italian national team, Egonu topped the podiums and claimed the MVP honours at both VNL 2022 and EuroVolley 2021, in addition to World Championship medals in 2018 (silver) and 2022 (bronze).
Position: Middle blocker
Two-time Olympic champion Thaisa Menezes has not been a member of the Brazilian national team since 2018, which means that the upcoming Club World Championship offers a great opportunity for her global fanbase to enjoy her performance at the world level again. Thaisa is a true legend of the Club World Championships. She has collected five medals, including gold in 2012 and 2016, the first four with Brazil’s Molico Osasco and the last with Turkish team Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul in 2016. She also made the Dream Team in 2014 and topped the best spikers’ charts at three editions of the tournament. In her club career, Thaisa has also picked up six South American Club Championship crowns and seven Brazilian Superliga titles, including the most recent ones this year with Gerdau Minas. In addition to her Olympic titles in 2008 and 2012, the 35-year-old star collected two World Championship medals with the national team. At the 2014 World Championship, she made the Dream team, and at the 2013 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix, she was named the Most Valuable Player.
Only 25 years old, Tijana Boskovic has already claimed the highest individual honour in the world of volleyball twice. She was the Most Valuable Player of the last two World Championships in 2018 and 2022 when she led Serbia to their first two world titles in history. That fact alone speaks for the quality of this outstanding athlete. As a national team player, Boskovic has also picked up two Olympic medals, an FIVB Volleyball World Cup silver, a World Grand Prix bronze and four EuroVolley podiums, including the 2017 and 2019 continental titles, alongside MVP and Dream Team nominations. As a player of Eczacibasi, the only club she has competed for since she made her first international transfer in 2015, Boskovic won the Club World Championship title and the MVP award in 2016, in addition to a 2018 bronze and a 2019 silver. Her continental achievements include two CEV Cup trophies, a Champions League bronze and numerous medals from domestic competitions in Türkiye and Serbia. Boskovic is the current scoring leader of the Turkish league season with an average of 6.8 points per set as Eczacibasi top the standings undefeated.