U.S. setter Micah Christenson shows off the Russian Cup trophy (photo courtesy Zenit Kazan/Roman Kruchinin)
U.S. setter Micah Christenson shows off the Russian Cup trophy (photo courtesy Zenit Kazan/Roman Kruchinin)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 5, 2022) – Micah Christenson and Zenit Kazan spent the holidays winning the Russian Cup.

On Dec. 26, Kazan swept Dinamo Moscow in the Russian Cup final, 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-23). Christenson scored one point with a block and set his team to a .500 hitting efficiency.

In the semifinals on Dec. 25, Kazan beat Lokomotiv Novosibirsk, 3-0 (25-19, 25-21, 25-22). Christenson scored three points on two kills and a block and set Kazan to a .512 hitting efficiency.

Kazan finished the 2021 regular season in first place in the league with a 9-1 record. It started the new year right with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-22, 25-13) win over Fakel Novy Urengoy on Jan. 4. Christenson started only the first set and scored two points on a block and an ace. He helped set Kazan to a .444 hitting efficiency.


Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle with libero Erik Shoji and middle blocker David Smith finished the 2021 regular league season at 13-0 and made it 14-0 on Jan. 4 with a 3-0 (25-20, 25-15, 25-23) win over middle Mitch Stahl and Stal Nysa (1-13).

Smith started the first two sets and scored four points on two kills, one block and one ace. Shoji was not on the roster. Stahl scored two points on one block and one ace.

GKS Katowice (5-8) with setter Micah Ma’a opened 2022 with a win over Trefl Gdańsk, 3-1 (25-23, 23-25, 25-13, 26-24). Ma’a scored five points on two kills, two aces and one block. He set Katowice to a .519 hitting efficiency.

Outside hitter T.J. DeFalco, middle Taylor Averill and Indykpol AZS Olsztyn (7-6) opened the year with a loss to Asseco Resovia Rzeszów, 3-0 (31-29, 25-22, 25-14) on Jan. 5. DeFalco scored 11 points on nine kills and two blocks. He was credited with 17 receptions, 17 percent positive. Averill was not on the roster.

Setter Josh Tuaniga and Ślepsk Malow Suwałki (3-10) fell to Aluron CMC Warta Zawiercie (11-3), 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-20) on Jan. 6.


Setter Kawika Shoji and Spor Toto Ankara and middle Dan McDonnell and Arkas Izmir advanced to the semifinals of the Turkish Cup.

Shoji and Ankara beat Fenerbahçe HDI Sigorta in the quarterfinals on Dec. 24, 3-0 (25-12, 25-21, 25-18). Shoji scored five points on two kills and three blocks. He set Ankara to a .506 hitting efficiency.

McDonnell and Izmir beat Halkbank in the quarterfinals, 3-2 (26-28, 25-23, 25-19, 25-27, 15-12) on Dec. 24. McDonnell scored eight points on eight kills.

A firm date has not yet been set for the semifinals.


Outside hitter Matt Anderson was back on the court with Sir Safety Perugia on Jan. 2 as the team beat Itas Trentino, 3-2 (25-21, 21-25, 26-24, 22-25, 15-11). Anderson played as a substitute in the first four sets and started the fifth. He scored three points on two kills and an ace. Anderson missed matches at the end of 2021 due to COVID.

Allianz Milano (7-6) with outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke defeated Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza (7-6), with middle Max Holt and outside hitter Aaron Russell, 3-1 (31-29, 23-25, 25-22, 25-18) on Jan. 6.

Jaeschke led Milano with 19 points on 17 kills (.417), one block and one ace. He was credited with 25 reception, 64 percent positive. Russell started the third and fourth sets for Piacenza, scoring eight points on seven kills and one block. He was credited with eight receptions, 50 percent positive. Holt did not play.

Holt did play on Jan. 2 when Piacenza beat Vero Volley Monza, 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 34-32). He scored nine points on eight kills (1.00) and one block. Russell did not play in that match.


The Berlin Recycling Volleys with opposite Ben Patch, middle Jeff Jendryk, outside hitter Cody Kessel, setter Matt West and Germany’s Berlin Recycling Volleys have not played since Dec. 18. The team is scheduled to be back in action in the Bundesliga on Jan. 9.