Men's National Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 5, 2023) – Two teams with U.S. men have advanced to the semifinals of the CEV Champions League, which began on March 29.

Poland’s Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle, with libero Erik Shoji and middle blocker David Smith, won its first semifinal match at home, beating Italy’s Sir Sicoma Monini Perugia 3-1 (25-18, 24-26, 25-19, 25-22). Smith scored 11 points on a match-high four aces plus five kills and two blocks. Shoji was credited with 16 receptions, 38 percent positive.

The teams will play again on April 6 in Italy.

Türkiye’s Halkbank Ankara, with outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke and setter Micah Ma’a, lost its first match at home to Poland’s Jastrzębski Węgiel, 3-1 (25-22, 25-23, 16-25, 25-22). Jaeschke led his team with 18 points on 16 kills (.500 hitting efficiency), one block and one ace. Ma’a scored four points on one block, one kill and two aces. He set Ankara to a .469 hitting efficiency.

Halkbank won the teams’ second match 3-2 (17-25, 25-18, 25-22, 16-25, 15-12), but the two sets that Jastrzębski Węgiel won were enough for it to win the series.

Jaeschke led all scorers in the second match with 22 points on 16 kills (.600), three blocks and three aces. He led the team in receptions with 26, 42 percent positive. Ma’a started the first four sets and scored one point on a block.

Zaksa advanced after splitting two quarterfinal matches with Italy’s Trentino Itas. Zaksa won the tie-breaking golden set 15-9.

Similarly, Türkiye’s Halkbank advanced by winning a golden set 15-12 after splitting two quarterfinal matches with Italy’s Cucine Lube Civitanova, including opposite Gabi Garcia.

Champions League matches are shown on, a subscription service.


Outside hitter T.J. DeFalco scored 20 points on 15 kills, three blocks and two aces as Asseco Resovia Rzeszów beat Trefl Gdańsk, 3-1 (25-27, 25-22, 25-18, 28-26) on March 26. DeFalco did not play in his team’s final regular-season match on March 31. Resovia Rzeszów (24-6) won the league title and will play PSG Stal Nysa in the first round of the playoffs.

Erik Shoji, David Smith and Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle (22-8) beat Jastrzębski Węgiel 3-1 in the final regular-season match on April 1. Smith scored nine points on four kills, three aces and two blocks. Shoji was credited with 22 receptions, 73 percent positive. The team finished fourth in the league and will play Projekt Warszawa in the playoffs beginning April 9.

On March 27, Indykpol AZS Olsztyn with middle Taylor Averill swept PGE Skra Bełchatów (25-23, 25-19, 25-22), knocking Bełchatów out of the playoffs. Averill scored 11 points on seven kills, one block and three aces. On March 31, Indykpol AZS Olsztyn beat Cuprum Lubin 3-2 (22-25, 25-22, 25-11, 21-25, 15-13) to finish the regular season in seventh place. Olsztyn (19-11) will play Aluron CMC Warta Zawiercie in the playoffs starting April 6.

LUK Lublin with middle Jeff Jendryk and libero Dustin Watten finished the regular season in ninth place at 15-15. It will play Ślepsk Malow Suwałki in the playoff for ninth place.

Setter Matt West played as a substitute as his team Cerrad Enea Czarni Radom (3-27) finished the season in 15th and BBTS Bielsko-Biała (3-27) with opposite Jake Hanes (3-27) finished 16th.


Setter Micah Christenson and Zenit Kazan finished the regular season leading the Russian league at 28-2. In the final match on March 24, Kazan beat Yenisey Krasnoyarsk 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-15). Christenson scored three points on two aces and one block and set the team to a .587 hitting efficiency.

Opposite Matt Anderson and Zenit St. Petersburg finished the regular season in third place (24-6). In the final match on March 24, Anderson scored 15 points on 14 kills and one ace.

Zenit Kazan is playing ASK Nizhny Novgorod in the playoff quarterfinals and Zenit St. Petersburg is facing Dinamo Leningrad.


Outside hitter Aaron Russell and the JT Hiroshima Thunders finished the regular season in seventh place at 16-20 and did not advance to the final stage. In his final match with the team on March 24, Russell started the first two sets and scored eight points on eight kills as Hiroshima fell to the JTEKT Stings 3-0 (25-22, 25-17, 25-19).


Libero Kyle Dagostino and Nice made it to the final of the French Cup, but fell to Tours 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-18) on April 2. Dagostino was credited with 14 receptions, 50 percent positive in the final.

Middle Patrick Gasman and Chaumont finished the regular season in third place at 17-9. In the final match on March 25, Chaumont beat Montpellier 3-2 (20-25, 35-37, 25-23, 25-18, 15-11). Gasman was named match MVP after scoring 14 points on 12 kills and two blocks. U.S. middle Michael Marshman started the final two sets and scored four points on three kills and an ace.

St. Nazaire with opposite Kyle Ensing and setter Quinn Isaacson finished the regular season in sixth place at 16-10. In their final match of the regular season, St. Nazaire beat Narbonne 3-2 (23-25, 25-21, 23-25, 26-24, 15-11). Ensing led all scorers with 25 points on 18 kills, three blocks and a match-high four aces. Isaacson scored one point with an ace and set his team to a .369 hitting efficiency.

Chaumont will play St. Nazaire in the playoff quarterfinals beginning April 8.

Opposite Kyle Russell and Sète fell to Poitiers in their final match of the season 3-2 (23-25, 25-18, 25-20, 20-25, 17-15. Russell started the first three sets and scored 15 points on 13 kills, one block and one ace. Russell was named the league’s best server with 55 aces (.64 aces per set). Sète (13-13) finished the regular season in seventh place and will play Nantes Rezé in the playoffs.

Middle Tyler Mitchem and Plessis-Robinson (10-16) finished the regular season in 12th place. In the final match on March 25, Plessis-Robinson beat Toulouse 3-1 (27-25, 18-25, 25-23, 25-23). Mitchem scored 14 points on 11 kills (.833), two blocks and one ace.

Dagostino and Nice finished the regular season in 13th. Their final match on March 25 was a loss to Tours, 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-20). Dagostino was credited with 11 receptions, 64 percent positive.


The league in Türkiye is still finishing the regular season after the interruption caused by the devastating earthquake that hit the country and Syria.

Halkbank with Jaeschke and Ma’a leads the league at 22-1. On April 1, Halkbank beat Fenerbahçe HDI Sigorta, 3-2 (25-18, 25-15, 23-25, 23-25, 17-15). Jaeschke scored 16 points on 14 kills (.565), one block and one ace. He was credited with 15 receptions, 73 percent positive. Ma’a scored 11 points on a match-high five aces, four kills and two blocks. He set Halkbank to a .411 hitting efficiency.

Middle Dan McDonnell and Arkas Spor beat Türsad 3-1 (25-17, 21-25, 25-22, 26-24) on April 2. McDonnell scored seven points on seven kills. Arkas Spor is in sixth place at 14-9.


The Berlin Recycling Volleys with outside hitter Cody Kessel won two matches over TSV Haching München to win the German league quarterfinals. In the second match on April 2, Berlin won 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-13). Kessel led his team with 10 points on 10 kills. He was credited with 15 receptions, 53 percent positive. He was named match MVP.

Lüneburg, with U.S. libero Gage Worsley, outside hitter Jordan Ewert, setter Joe Worsley and outside hitter Colton Cowell, won two matches over Energiequelle Netzhoppers KW-Bestensee to advance to the semifinals. In the second match on April 2, Lüneburg won 3-1 (25-19, 19-25, 25-21, 29-27). Ewert led all scorers with 18 points on 17 kills (.556) and one ace. He was credited with 26 receptions, 48 percent positive.

Setter James Shaw and WWK Volleys Herrsching won the battle for fifth place, going 6-1, which meant it could play a match to try to get into the playoff semifinals. However the team lost to Düren 3-1 on April 5 and did not advance.


Cucine Lube Civitanova (10-8) with Gabi Garcia finished the regular season in fourth place at 13-9. In the playoff quarterfinals, they lost the first two matches to WithU Verona, but came back to win the second two. Game 5 will be April 8 at Civitanova.