COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 1, 2017) – The U.S. Men’s National Team will face Russia and Serbia among others in the first round of the FIVB World Championship in 2018.
The FIVB held the draw for the first round on Thursday in Florence. The 2018 World Championship will take place Sept. 10-30 in Italy and Bulgaria.
The U.S. Men, ranked No. 2 in the world, will open the tournament in Pool C in Bari, Italy, along with Russia (No. 4), Serbia (No. 11), Australia (No. 16), Tunisia (No. 24) and Cameroon (No. 30).
Held in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, the draw split the 24 teams participating in the event into four, first-round pools of six teams each. The top four teams in each of these pools will progress to a second round featuring two pools of eight teams. The top three from each of the second-round pools will qualify for the third round before four teams move on to the semifinals and finals.
Cucine Lube Civitanova, including setter Micah Christenson and outside hitter Taylor Sander, went 2-0 over the last two weeks and beat two teams with U.S. players in the process. On Nov. 19, Civitanova beat Gi Group Monza, including setter Kawika Shoji and outside hitter Jake Langlois, 25-20, 25-22, 20-25, 25-23.
Sander did not play in the match. Christenson scored three points on blocks and set Civitanova to a Shoji scored two points on blocks and set Monza to a .381 hitting efficiency. Shoji scored two points on blocks and set Monza to a .385 hitting efficiency. Langlois played as a substitute.
On Nov. 26, Civitanova handed Sir Safety Conad Perugia, including outside hitter Aaron Russell and setter James Shaw, its first loss of the season, 28-26, 25-15, 25-21. Sander was named match MVP after scoring 13 points on 12 kills and one ace. He was credited with 23 receptions, 70 percent positive. Christenson scored four points on two kills and two aces and set his team to a .486 hitting efficiency.
Russell scored five points on three kills, one block and one ace. Shaw played as a substitute.
Perugia was coming off a sweep of Tonno Callipo Calabria Vibo Valentia on Nov. 19, 25-13, 25-23, 25-23. Russell scored seven points on seven kills. Shaw played as a substitute. Opposite Ben Patch scored nine points on seven kills, one block and one ace for Vibo Valentia.
Perugia leads the league at 8-1. Civitanova is second, also at 8-1.
Middle blocker Max Holt and Azimut Modena are in third place at 8-1 and went 2-0 in its last two matches. On Nov. 19, Modena beat Revivre Milano, 25-19, 21-25, 25-21, 26-28, 15-11. Holt scored nine points on three kills, three blocks and three aces. Middle blocker Taylor Averill started the first four sets and scored six points for Milano on five kills and one block.
On Nov. 26, Modena defeated Vibo Valentia, 25-21, 25-23, 25-22. Holt scored eight points on five kills and a match-high three blocks. Patch led Vibo Valentia with 11 points on 11 kills.
Libero Erik Shoji and Taiwan Excellence went 1-1 over the past two weeks. On Nov. 23, Latina fell to Diatec Trentino, 23-25, 22-25, 25-20, 25-20, 15-10. Shoji was credited with 28 receptions, 61 percent positive. On Nov. 26, Latina beat Bunge Ravenna, 25-19, 25-22, 25-19. Shoji was credited with 11 receptions, 91 percent positive.
Shoji has also started an online volleyball consulting service. You can learn more at erikshoji.com.
Outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke and Calzedonia Verona beat Biosi Indexa Sora, 25-20, 29-27, 25-23 on Nov. 19. Jaeschke played as a substitute and scored two points on two kills. American outside hitter Kupono Fey scored five points on four kills and one block for Sora.
Averill and Milano beat Soro, 25-21, 25-19, 25-10 on Nov. 26. Averill scored seven points on five kills and two block. Fey scored one point on one kill for Sora while fellow American Mitch Penning played as a substitute and scored one point.
On Nov. 25, middle blocker David Smith and Aluron Virtu Warta Zawiercie beat GKS Katowice, 25-10, 25-23, 25-21. Smith scored eight points on six kills and two aces. Zawiercie is in 13th place in the league standings.
Middle blocker Dan McDonnell and Trefl Gdansk swept Dafi Spolem Kielce on Nov. 19, 25-23, 35-33, 25-11. McDonnell scored nine points on seven kills and two aces. Gdansk is in third place in the league standings.
Libero Dustin Watten and Cerrad Czarni Radom fell to Asseco Resovia Rzeszow on Nov. 18, 25-21, 25-16, 19-25, 25-23. Watten was credited with 14 receptions, 36 percent positive. On Nov. 25, Radom beat Indykpol AZS Olsztyn, 25-17, 25-20, 27-25. Watten was credited with seven receptions, 71 percent positive. Radom is in 10th place in the league standings.
On Nov. 18, setter Jonah Seif and MKS Bedzin fell to ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle, 25-13, 22-25, 25-13, 25-21. Seif started the first two sets and scored one point. On Nov. 25, Bedzin lost to PGE Skra Bełchatów, 25-17, 25-14, 25-21. Seif started the third set and scored one point.
Outside hitter Matt Anderson and Zenit Kazan continue to go undefeated in the Russian league. On Nov. 18, Kazan beat Dinamo-Lo (from the Leningrad region), 25-14, 25-21, 25-17. Anderson scored 11 points on five kills and a match-high six aces. On Nov. 25, Kazan beat Zenit St. Petersburg, 22-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-23. Anderson scored nine points on six kills, one block and two aces.
Middle blocker Mitch Stahl and Paris beat Ajaccio, 25-17, 26-24, 27-29, 25-20 on Nov. 18. Stahl scored seven points on three kills, three aces and one block. Paris is in third place in the league.
Outside hitter Kyle Russell and the Berlin Recycling Volleys beat United Volleys Rhein-Main, 14-25, 25-23, 25-27, 25-18, 15-10 on Nov. 22. Russell played as a substitute and scored four points on four kills.