T.J. DeFalco attacks and Josh Tuaniga blocks
T.J. DeFalco attacks as Josh Tuaniga goes up to block during their match in Poland

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 21, 2022) – In Poland, longtime teammates collided as Outside hitter T.J. DeFalco, middle Taylor Averill and Indykpol AZS Olsztyn defeated setter Josh Tuaniga and Ślepsk Malow Suwałki, 3-2 (25-23, 23-25, 25-23, 25-27, 15-12) on Jan. 15.

DeFalco scored 27 points on 22 kills (.636) and five aces. He was credited with 30 receptions, 43 percent positive. Averill was on the roster but did not play. Tuaniga scored three points on a kill and two aces. He set his team to a .526 hitting efficiency.

DeFalco and Tuaniga played together at Long Beach State, for the HBC Volleyball Club and on the Boys U19 National Team.

In another battle of U.S. teammates, Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle (15-0) with libero Erik Shoji and middle blocker David Smith beat LUK Lublin (6-10) with libero Dustin Watten, 3-1 (25-18, 22-25, 25-22, 27-25) on Jan. 15. Smith scored eight points on three kills, a match-high four blocks and one ace. Shoji did not play in the match. Watten was credited with 23 receptions, 57 percent positive.

Setter Micah Ma’a and GKS Katowice (6-9) beat Aluron CMC Warta Zawiercie, 3-0 (28-26, 31-29, 25-21) on Jan. 16. Ma’a scored seven points on two kills, three blocks and two aces. He set Katowice to a .390 hitting efficiency.

Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle and GKS Katowice have both advanced to the quarterfinals of the Polish Cup as did Stal Nysa with middle blocker Mitch Stahl.


Outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke and Allianz Milano (8-6) upset Cucine Lube Civitanova (11-3) on Jan. 16 in the quarterfinals of the Italian Cup, 3-1 (25-22, 19-25, 25-20, 29-27).

Jaeschke led Milano with 18 points on 16 kills and two aces. He was credited with 25 receptions, 56 percent positive.

Outside hitter Matt Anderson and Sir Safety Conad Perugia (13-2) also advanced to the Italian Cup semifinals. On Jan. 19, Perugia beat Kioene Padova, 3-0 (25-15, 25-23, 25-21). Anderson scored nine points on eight kills and one block. He was credited with 13 receptions, 31 percent positive.

Middle blocker Max Holt, outside hitter Aaron Russell and Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza (8-8) won their quarterfinal match over Leo Shoes PerkinElmer Modena, 3-1 (25-20, 22-25, 25-21, 26-24) on Jan. 16. Holt scored eight points on five kills, two blocks and one ace. Russell was on the roster but did not play.

In the semifinals on March 5, Perugia and Piacenza will play each other while Milano will face Itas Trentino (10-4).

In Italian league regular-season play, Milano swept Tonno Callipo Calabria Vibo Valentia, 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-13) on Jan. 9. Jaeschke led all scorers with 16 points on 14 kills (.619), one block and one ace. He was credited with 18 receptions, 72 percent positive.

Piacenza fell to Modena, 3-2 (25-22, 25-18, 18-25, 23-25, 15-13) on Jan. 9. Holt scored five points on four kills and one block. Russell started the first two sets and scored three points on three kills.


Middle blocker Dan McDonnell and Arkas Spor improved to 10-5 with a 3-0 (28-26, 27-25, 25-21) win over Tokat Belediye Plevne on Jan. 15. McDonnell scored four points on four kills (1.00). Arkas Spor is in fourth place in the league.

Setter Kawika Shoji and Spor Toto (8-6) fell to Ziraat Bankası, 3-1 (25-22, 16-25, 25-20, 25-19) on Jan. 16. Shoji scored six points on three kills, one block and a team-high two aces. He set his team to a .398 hitting efficiency.


Setter Micah Christenson and Zenit Kazan (12-1) continue to dominate the Russian league. On Jan. 8, Kazan beat Ural Ufa, 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-16). Christenson scored six points on two kills, one block and three aces. He set Kazan to a .450 hitting percentage.


The German men’s league begins play again on Jan. 22 with the top eight teams from 2021 now competing for league playoff spots.


On Jan. 15, Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Hapoel Urbani Kiryat Ata, 3-0 (25-11, 25-13, 25-15) and broke a league record by winning its 12th straight match and not dropping a set. Outside hitter J.T. Hatch led Tel Aviv with 13 points and opposite Kyle Ensing added 12. U.S. libero Josh Ayzenberg also plays on the team.


In the CEV Cup, Christenson and Russia’s Zenit Kazan have advanced to the quarterfinals after sweeping two matches against Netherlands’ Orion Doetinchem. In the second match on Jan. 20, Kazan won 3-0 (25-17, 25-12, 25-17). Christenson started the first two sets and scored four points on two kills and a match-high two blocks. He helped set Kazan to a .493 hitting efficiency.

In the CEV Champions League, Matt Anderson and Italy’s Sir Safety Perugia beat Turkey’s Fenerbahçe HDI Istanbul, 3-0 (26-24, 27-25, 25-22) on Jan. 12. Anderson scored 11 points on nine kills (.444) and two aces. He was credited with 23 receptions, 61 percent positive.

Perugia is 3-0 after the first half of pool play.

David Smith, Erik Shoji and Poland’s Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle fell to Italy’s Cucine Lube Civitanova, 3-2 (25-17, 16-25, 25-18, 22-25, 15-12) on Jan. 12.

Smith scored eight points on five kills, one block and two aces. Shoji was credited with 17 receptions, 65 percent positive. It was the first Champions League loss for the Polish club (2-1), which will try to come back on Jan. 26 against Russia’s Lokomotiv Novosibirsk.