MNT Update: The Return of Aaron Russell
A roundup of what's happening with U.S. men's players on pro teams overseas.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. Dec. 2, 2021) – News in the Italian league leads the way for this week’s Men’s National Team Update.
Outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke led Allianz Milano (4-4) with 25 points as it beat Consar RCM Ravenna, 3-2 (26-24, 25-21, 23-25, 21-25, 15-12) on Nov. 27. Jaeschke scored on 19 kill, a match-high four aces and two blocks. He was credited with 34 receptions, 44 percent positive.
Sir Safety Conad Perugia (7-1) with outside hitter Matt Anderson suffered its first loss of the season on Nov. 24 when it lost a battle to Leo Shoes Perkin Elmer Modena, 3-2 (25-22, 25-12, 15-25, 22-25, 178-15). Anderson scored 15 points in the match on 11 kills and a team-high four blocks. Perugia came back on Nov. 28 to beat Kioene Padova, 3-1 (25-22, 21-25, 25-22, 25-17). Anderson scored nine points on seven kills and two blocks. He was credited with 24 receptions, 50 percent positive.
Perugia begins play in the CEV Champions League on Thursday, Dec. 2 when it will play Italy’s Itas Trentino.
Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza (6-3) with middle Max Holt and outside hitter Aaron Russell swept Gioiella Prisma Taranto (25-18, 28-26, 25-15) on Nov. 28. Holt scored seven points on five kills (1.00) and two blocks. Russell did not play.
Setter Micah Christenson and Russia’s Zenit Kazan lead the Russian league with a 7-1 record.
On Nov. 20, Kazan handed Lokomotiv Novosibirsk its first loss of the season, 3-1 (26-28, 25-16, 25-19, 25-18). Christenson scored nine points on four blocks, three kills and two aces. He set Kazan to a .495 hitting efficiency.
Kazan has also advanced to the semifinals of the Russian Cup. On Nov. 28, Kazan beat Kuzbass Kemerovo, 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 27-25) to advance. Christenson scored five points in the match. The semifinals and finals will be Dec. 25-26 in St. Petersburg.
Kazan will continue play in the CEV Cup tournament when it takes on Austria’s SK Zadruga AICH/DOB on Dec. 8-9.
Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle with libero Erik Shoji and middle blocker David Smith is still undefeated at 10-0. On Nov. 27, Kędzierzyn-Koźle beat Aluron CMC Warta Zawiercie, 3-0 (38-36, 25-13, 25-14). Smith scored five points on three kills and two aces. Shoji was credited with 14 receptions, 43 percent positive.
Kędzierzyn-Koźle began the CEV Champions League on Dec. 1 with a win over Slovenia’s OK Merkur Maribor, 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-17).
Outside hitter T.J. DeFalco, middle blocker Taylor Averill and Indykpol AZS Olsztyn (7-2) faced middle Mitch Stahl and Stal Nysa (0-10) on Nov. 28 and came out on top, 3-2 (25-23, 20-25, 20-25, 25-13, 25-13).
DeFalco was named match MVP after scoring 26 points on 21 kills (.655), one block and four aces. He was credited with 24 receptions, 38 percent positive. Averill added 11 points on six kills (.545), four blocks and one ace. Stahl scored seven points on six kills (.667) and one block.
Libero Dustin Watten and Luk Lublin (4-5) beat Asseco Resovia Rzeszów (4-5) on Nov. 27, 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23). Watten was credited with 19 receptions, 63 percent positive.
GKS Katowice (4-5) with setter Micah Ma’a fell to Jastrzębski Węgiel, 3-0 (25-17, 25-20, 25-21) on Nov. 27. Ma’a scored one points with an ace and set the team to a .413 hitting efficiency.
Setter Josh Tuaniga and Ślepsk Malow Suwałki (2-7) lost to Projekt Warszawa, 3-1 (25-18, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23) on Nov. 26. Tuaniga scored three points on three kills. He set his team to a .427 hitting efficiency.
Middle Dan McDonnell and Arkas Izmir Spor have won two straight matches over setter Kawika Shoji and Spor Toto.
In a Turkish league match on Nov. 28, Arkas Spor won, 3-0 (25-16, 25-21, 25-22). McDonnell scored five points on four kills and one ace. Shoji scored one point with an ace and set Spor Toto to a .408 hitting efficiency.
In a CEV Cup group of 16 match on Dec. 1, Arkas Spor won, 3-2 (25-21, 25-22, 21-25, 17-25, 15-7).
The teams will play their second group of 16 match on Dec. 8.
Opposite Ben Patch, middle Jeff Jendryk, outside hitter Cody Kessel, setter Matt West and the Berlin Recycling Volleys (10-0) continued their winning ways on Nov. 28 with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-21) win over SVG Lüneburg.
Jendryk scored five points on four kills (.500) and one block. Patch played as a substitute and scored two points on two kills. West substituted in the second set and started the third. He scored one point with an ace and helped set Berlin to a .500 hitting efficiency. Kessel did not play.
Playing for Lüneburg, U.S. setter Joe Worsley set his team to a .369 hitting efficiency. U.S. outside hitter Jordan Ewert started the first two sets and scored five points on five kills.
Berlin opened play in the CEV Champions League on Dec. 1 with a 3-0 (26-24, 25-16, 25-21) win over Serbia’s Vojvodina NS Seme Novi Sad. Patch led all scorers with 16 points on 14 kills (.478) and two aces. Jendryk scored three points on two kills and one block. West played as a serving substitute and Kessel did not play.
Berlin will play its next Champions League match on Dec. 15 against Sport Lisboa e Benfica of Portugal.
Opposite Kyle Ensing, outside hitter J.T. Hatch, libero Josh Ayzenberg and Maccabi Tel Aviv are 8-0 in Israel’s men’s league. On Nov. 24, they beat Hapoel Urban Kiryat Ata, 3-0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-17).
In a CEV Challenge Cup match in the round of 16 on Dec. 1, Tel Aviv lost to Greece’s Panathinaikos AC Athens, 3-2 (25-13, 19-25, 25-18, 18-25, 15-11).