Outside Hitter, 6-9
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 20, 2021) – Congratulations to former U.S. Men’s National Team member and three-time Olympian Clay Stanley who was inducted into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame on Oct. 16.
Stanley was the MVP of the 2008 Olympic Games as the U.S. Men won the gold medal.
Congratulations to 2020 Olympian Garrett Muagututia and his wife Keisha on the birth of their second child, a son named Kaikōhau. The couple also had a daughter named Teahi.
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Muagututia is scheduled to play for Al-Ahly in Egypt’s men’s league this fall and winter.
While many U.S. Men’s National Team players gravitated to Italy in 2020-21, Poland has become a prime destination in 2021-22 with 2020 Olympians David Smith, Erik Shoji, T.J. DeFalco and Mitch Stahl all playing there.
Smith and Shoji are playing with Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle and have a 3-0 record after the first three matches of the regular season. In their most recent match on Oct. 16, Smith, Shoji and Kędzierzyn-Koźle beat LUK Lublin (0-3), including U.S. libero Dustin Watten, 3-0 (25-22, 25-13, 25-19).
Smith at middle blocker started only the first set and scored one point with a kill. Shoji at libero started the first two sets and was credited with nine receptions, 67 percent positive. Watten started all three sets for Lublin and was credited with 15 receptions, 67 percent positive.
On Oct. 20, Kędzierzyn-Koźle fell to Jastrzębski Węgiel in the finals of the Polish SuperCup, 3-0 (25-18, 25-22, 30-28).
Setter Micah Ma’a and GKS Katowice are 2-1 after the first three matches. Most recently, Katowice fell to Aluron CMC Warta Zawiercie, 3-1 (21-25, 25-20, 25-19, 25-21) on Oct. 16. Ma’a scored five points on two kills, one block and two aces. He set the team to a .361 hitting efficiency.
Outside hitter DeFalco, middle blocker Taylor Averill and Indykpol AZS Olsztyn got their first win of the new season on Oct. 16. Unfortunately, it came against setter Josh Tuaniga (DeFalco’s good friend and teammate at Long Beach State) and Ślepsk Malow Suwałki.
Olsztyn beat Suwałki, 3-0 (31-29, 25-21, 28-26). DeFalco led all scorers with 20 points on 16 kills (.565), three blocks and one ace. He was credited with 20 receptions, 55 percent positive. He was named the match MVP. Averill added seven points on three kills and a match-high four blocks.
Tuaniga scored four points on two kills and two blocks and set Suwałki (1-2) to a .430 hitting efficiency.
Middle blocker Stahl and the aptly named Stal Nysa are still looking for their first victory after three matches. They came close on Oct. 16, but fell to PGE Skra Bełchatów, 3-2 (25-17, 19-25, 25-23, 21-25, 20-18). Stahl scored 12 points on four kills, two blocks and a match-high six aces.
Teams in Italy’s SuperLega have played two regular-season matches so far.
Olympic outside hitter/opposite Matt Anderson and Sir Safety Perugia are 2-0. On Oct. 17, Perugia beat Verona Volley, 3-1 (25-18, 25-19, 22-25, 25-23). Anderson scored 19 points on 16 kills (.640), two blocks and one ace. He was credited with 30 receptions, 67 percent positive.
Perugia will play Itas Trentino in the semifinals of Italy’s SuperLega SuperCup on Oct. 23. The winner will play the winner of Cucine Lube Civitanova and Vero Volley Monza on Oct. 24.
Olympic middle blocker Max Holt, 2016 Olympic outside hitter Aaron Russell and Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza are also 2-0. On Oct. 17, they beat Cucine Lube Civitanova, 3-2 (23-25, 25-16, 23-25, 25-22, 15-12). Holt scored 13 points on nine kills (.750) and a match-high four blocks. Russell started the first two sets and scored four points on four kills.
Olympic outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke is playing for Allianz Milano and led it to its first win of the season on Oct. 17 when it beat Vero Volley Monza, 3-2 (18-25, 27-25, 25-15, 20-25, 15-8). Jaeschke was Milano’s leading scorer with 18 points on 15 kills (.565), two blocks and one ace. He was credited with 23 receptions, 61 percent positive.
Olympic setter Micah Christenson and his Russian team Zenit Kazan are 3-0 so far in Russia’s league. On Oct. 15, Kazan beat Gazprom-Yugra Surgut, 3-0 (25-16, 25-21, 25-19). Christenson scored two points on a kill and a block and set Kazan to a .494 hitting efficiency.
Olympic setter Kawika Shoji and Toto Spor got their first win of the season on Oct. 17, beating Cizre Bld., 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, 25-21) to improve to 1-2. Shoji scored one point with a block and set Toto Spor to a .430 hitting efficiency.
Olympic opposite Kyle Ensing, outside hitter J.T. Hatch and libero Josh Ayzenberg have returned to Maccabi Tel Aviv, which won the Egyptian league title in 2020-21. Tel Aviv beat Maccabi Ashdod in their opening league match on Oct. 19.
Opposite Ben Patch, middle blocker Jeff Jendryk, outside hitter Cody Kessel and setter Matt West are all playing for the Berlin Recycling Volleys, who won the German SuperCup on Oct. 2 and are undefeated after four matches in the regular season. In fact, the team has not lost a set. On Oct. 20, Berlin beat TSV Haching München, 3-0 (25-16, 25-23. 25-22). Patch did not play and Kessel played as a substitute. Jendryk scored five points on three kills and two blocks. West scored one point on a kill and set Berlin to a .419 hitting efficiency.
Olympic outside hitter Taylor Sander has been pursuing beach volleyball. He is scheduled to compete with Taylor Crabb at the FIVB World Tour four-star event on Nov. 10-14 in Itapema, Brazil.