David Smith
David Smith attacks for Poland's Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle as Erik Shoji watches

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 14, 2022) – Poland’s Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle with libero Erik Shoji and middle blocker David Smith has advanced to the final of the CEV Champions League.

Kędzierzyn-Koźle advanced by beating Poland’s Jastrzebski Wegiel twice in the semifinals. On March 30, Kędzierzyn-Koźle won 3-0 (25-20, 25-14, 25-29). Smith scored seven points on seven kills (1.00 hitting efficiency). Shoji was credited with nine receptions, 78 percent positive.

On April 7, Kędzierzyn-Koźle beat Jastrzebski Wegiel 3-2 (25-15, 25-21, 24-26, 21-25, 15-11). No individual statistics were made available.

Italy’s Sir Safety Conad Perugia with outside hitter Matt Anderson lost in the semifinals to Italy’s Itas Trentino. On March 30, Trentino beat Perugia, 3-2 (25-23, 19-25, 25-23, 28-30, 15-12). Anderson scored 15 points on 15 kills. He was credited with 38 receptions, 50 percent positive.

On April 7, Perugia beat Trentino 3-2 (21-25, 25-21, 16-25, 25-20, 15-13), which tied the two teams. They played a golden set, which Trentino won, 17-15. Anderson finished the match with 23 points on 20 kills (.581), one block and two aces. He was credited with 26 receptions, 59 percent positive.

Kędzierzyn-Koźle will play Trentino in the final. Both the men’s and women’s finals in the CEV Champions League will be May 22 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.


The Polish league has completed its regular season.

Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle with Shoji and Smith finished first with a 22-4 record. It is playing GKS Katowice with setter Micah Ma’a in the best-of-three first round of playoffs. Katowice (12-14) finished the regular season in eighth place.

On April 13, Kędzierzyn-Koźle beat Katowice, 3-0 (25-21, 25-12, 25-22). Smith scored four points on two kills and two blocks. Shoji was credited with 13 receptions, 31 percent positive. Ma’a scored three points on two kills and one block and set Katowice to a .363 hitting efficiency.

Outside hitter T.J. DeFalco, middle Taylor Averill and Indykpol AZS Olsztyn (14-12) finished the regular season in sixth. It began the best-of-three playoffs on April 12, upsetting host PGE Skra Bełchatów, 3-1 (19-25, 26-24, 28-26, 25-14). DeFalco scored 17 points on 13 kills (.429), two blocks and two aces. He was credited with 19 receptions, 53 percent positive. Averill added 11 points on a match-high four blocks and seven kills. The teams will play again on April 15.

Ślepsk Malow Suwałki (7-19) with setter Josh Tuaniga finished the regular season in 12th place and is playing Luk Lublin, with libero Dustin Watten for 11th place. Lublin (8-18) finished the regular season in 11th place.


Congratulations to Matt Anderson, wife Jackie and son Jamie! Jackie gave birth to the couple’s second child last week. Their daughter’s name is Virginia June “Juno” Anderson.


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The Italian league playoff semifinals began on April 14. Anderson and Sir Safety Conad Perugia fell to Leo Shoes PerkinElmer Modena, 3-1 (25-22, 22-25, 25-22, 25-20). Anderson started the first two sets and scored three points on three kills. The teams will play again on April 17.

Opposite Gabi Garcia Fernandez, who will transfer to the U.S. Men’s National Team this summer (though he cannot compete until 2024) and Cucine Lube Civitanova are playing Itas Trentino. On April 14, Civitanova lost the first match of their playoff series, 3-0 (28-26, 25-20, 25-23). Garcia played as a substitute and scored one point with a kill.

Perugia won the regular season (22-2), finishing just ahead of Civitanova (19-5) in second place.

Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza (12-12) with middle blocker Max Holt and outside hitter Aaron Russell, finished the regular season in sixth place. The team lost to Itas Trentino in the playoff quarterfinals, 2-1.

After losing the first match on the road, Piacenza won the second match on April 3 at home in a battle, 3-2 (21-25, 29-31, 25-19, 25-20, 24-22). Russell led all scorers with 33 points on a match-high 28 kills (.591), a match-high five aces and one block. He was credited with 37 receptions, 51 percent positive. Holt added seven points on three kills and four blocks.

Trentino won the deciding third match, 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-21) on April 10. Russell scored six points on four kills, one block and one ace. He was credited with 14 receptions, 64 percent positive. Holt started the first two sets and scored one point with a kill.

Piacenza will now play in a round robin for fifth place starting on April 17.

Also playing for fifth place will be Allianz Milano with outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke. Milano (13-11) finished the regular season in fifth place. It lost to Leo Shoes PerkinElmer Modena 2-0 in the quarterfinals.

In the second match, Milano fell to Modena, 3-2 (17-25, 25-14, 22-25, 25-18, 15-13). Jaeschke led his team with 21 points on 18 kills (.545) and three blocks. He was credited with 23 receptions, 39 percent positive.


The Russian league has one more week in its regular season. Setter Micah Christenson and Zenit Kazan lead the league at 24-1. On April 10, Kazan beat Ural Ufa 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, 25-22). Christenson did not score. He set Kazan to a .390 hitting efficiency.


Arkas Spor with middle blocker Daniel McDonnell won the Turkish Cup, defeating Galatasaray HDI Sigorta, 3-2 (25-23, 22-25, 25-17, 27-29, 15-8) on April 13.

Arkas Spor finished the regular season in fourth place at 18-8 and will play first-place Halkbank (24-2) in the first round of the playoffs for first through fourth place.

In the final regular season match, Arkas Spor beat Allpower Akü Cizre Bld., 3-0 (25-16, 25-14, 25-18). McDonnell scored two points on a kill and a block.

Spor Toto with setter Kawika Shoji finished the regular season in fifth place at 17-9 and will play Allpower Akü Cizre Bld. in the playoff for fifth through eighth place.

In the final regular season match, Spor Toto fell to Galatasaray, 3-1 (25-20, 27-29, 25-21, 25-21). Shoji scored three points on two blocks and an ace. He set Spor Toto to a .342 hitting efficiency.


The Berlin Recycling Volleys with opposite Ben Patch, middle Jeff Jendryk, outside hitter Cody Kessel and setter Matt West have advanced to the finals of the German league playoffs where they will play Friedrichshafen, with U.S. libero Avery Aylsworth, in a best-of-five series beginning April 16.

In the playoff semifinals, Berlin beat Frankfurt in a best-of-five series, 3-1. In the final match on April 9, Berlin won 3-1 (29-27, 23-25, 26-24, 25-21). Jendryk scored 14 points on 11 kills (.611) and a match-high three blocks. Patch started the first two sets and subbed in the third, scoring eight points on eight kills. Kessel and West each played as substitutes, with West scoring a point with an ace.


Maccabi Tel Aviv with opposite Kyle Ensing, outside hitter J.T. Hatch and libero Josh Ayzenberg has reached the league playoff finals where it is facing Hapoel Galil Mate Asher, the only team it lost to all season.

Mate Asher handed Tel Aviv another loss in the first match of the playoffs on April 14, 3-1 (25-20, 25-23, 15-25, 25-22). Ensing scored 15 points on 14 kills and one ace. Hatch added 12 points on 11 kills and one block.

The teams will play again on April 18.