23-year-old Japanese star Mayu Ishikawa had her first international transfer, signing with Il Bisonte Florence to compete in Italy’s Lega Pallavolo Serie A1 Femminile next season.

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The 1.74m-tall outside hitter is leaving the only professional club she has ever played for, Toray Arrows Otsu, after five seasons, during which they won nine medals from domestic competitions in Japan. In 2019, Ishikawa led the junior national team of her country to FIVB Volleyball Women’s U20 World Championship gold, herself earning the Most Valuable Player award. That same year, she made her debut for the senior national team helping Japan win Asian Championship gold, garnished with another MVP award, and a fifth place at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Cup. Ishikawa was the best receiver of Volleyball Nations League 2021 and a key contributor to Japan’s fourth place finish. She was also part of the squad that represented the host country at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. At the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship, she was her team’s best server, contributing 14 aces on the way to Japan’s fifth-place finish.

Mayu’s older brother, 27-year-old national team star Yuki Ishikawa, has played in Italy since 2016 and currently competes for Allianz Milan.

“I was looking for a club to have my first experience outside Japan, and when my agent proposed Il Bisonte to me, I immediately felt that it could be the right team for me,” Mayu Ishikawa said. “In Italy, everything will be new for me, so I'm a little worried, but I like challenges and I want to learn many things. Surely, the fact that my brother Yuki is already in Italy gives me a sense of security, because I can ask him for help at any time, if there is anything I'm not sure about. Playing in the starting line-up and giving my contribution to the team are my first goals, and of course, I will do my best to help Il Bisonte win and climb as high as possible in the standings.”

Ishikawa is the second Japanese athlete to ever compete for Il Bisonte, after setter Naoko Hashimoto, who defended the club’s colours in 2020-2021. Ishikawa is also the second new foreign addition to Il Bisonte’s 2023-2024 roster. They have already announced the arrival of 22-year-old 1.89m-tall German international outside Lina Alsmeier from Palmberg Schwerin, as well as several Italian additions like middle blockers Alessia Mazzaro and Nausica Acciarri, and playmakers Ilaria Battistoni and Beatrice Agrifoglio.