Aaron Russell
Aaron Russell passes - Photo courtesy of Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 18, 2021) – U.S. outside hitter Aaron Russell, the 2016 Olympian who has been recovering from hip surgery since last spring, made his first start for Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza (5-1) on Nov. 14 as it beat Top Volley Cisterna, 3-1 (23-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-21) in the Italian league.

Russell started the first three sets and scored eight points on eight kills. He was credited with 16 receptions, 38 percent positive. His teammate, middle blocker Max Holt, played as a substitute and started the fourth set, scoring seven points on five kills and two blocks.

Sir Safety Conad Perugia with outside hitter Matt Anderson is undefeated in its first five matches. Most recently on Nov. 14, Perugia swept outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke and Allianz Milano (25-20, 25-19, 25-12).

Anderson started the first two sets and scored six points on four kills, one block and one ace. He was credited with 11 receptions, 36 percent positive. Jaeschke scored six points on five kills and one ace. He was credited with 21 receptions, 33 percent positive for Milano (5-2).

Perugia will begin play in the CEV Champions League on Dec. 2 when it will play Italy’s Trentino Itas.


Setter Micah Christenson and Zenit Kazan are in second place in the Russian league at 6-1. On Nov. 13, Zenit Kazan beat Zenit St. Petersburg, 3-1 (25-22, 25-22, 22-25l, 25-27). Christenson scored two points on two blocks and set Kazan to a .409 hitting efficiency.

Christenson and Kazan won both their CEV Cup matches over Estonia’s Bigbank Tartu to advance to the round of 16 where they will play Austria’s SK Zadruga AICH/DOB on Dec. 8-9.


Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle with libero Erik Shoji and middle David Smith continues to lead the Polish league is undefeated at 8-0. On Nov. 14, it beat Trefl Gdańsk, 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-14). Smith scored seven points on four kills, two blocks and one ace. Shoji was credited with 17 receptions, 59 percent positive.

Kędzierzyn-Koźle will play its first CEV Champions League matches on Dec. 1 against OK Merkur Maribor of Slovenia.

Outside hitter T.J. DeFalco, middle blocker Taylor Averill and Indykpol AZS Olsztyn (5-2) beat Cuprum Lubin on Nov. 15, 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-17). DeFalco, who has been the MVP of Olsztyn’s last two matches, led all scorers against Lubin with 19 points on 14 kills (.684 hitting efficiency), three blocks and two aces. He was credited with 13 receptions, 69 percent positive.

Averill was not on the roster for Olsztyn against Lubin, but he did play in the team’s previous victory over LUK Lublin on Nov. 5. In the 3-2 (21-25, 25-20, 25-21, 20-25, 15-12). Averill scored nine points on seven kills and two blocks.

Setter Micah Ma’a started for GKS Katowice (3-4) in its victory on Nov. 12 over Cerrad Enea Czarni Radom, 3-0 (25-17, 18-25, 29-27, 25-21). Ma’a scored six points on three aces, one kill and two blocks. He set Katowice to a .426 hitting efficiency.

Libero Dustin Watten and Luk Lublin (2-5) got a big win over PGE Skra Bełchatów (4-3) on Nov. 13, 3-2 (16-25, 24-26, 25-22, 25-18, 15-12). Watten was credited with 25 receptions, 36 percent positive.

Setter Josh Tuaniga is back on the roster for Ślepsk Malow Suwałki (2-5). On Nov. 7, Suwałki fell to Jastrzębski Węgiel, 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-19). Tuaniga set Suwałki to a .321 hitting efficiency.

Middle Mitch Stahl and Stal Nysa are looking for their first win of the season. On Nov. 13, they fell to Aluron CMC Warta Zawiercie, 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-22). Stahl scored eight points on four kills, two blocks and two aces.


Setter Kawika Shoji and Spor Toto have improved to 5-3 after two straight victories. On Nov. 14, Spor Toto beat Sorgun BLD., which includes U.S. outside hitter David Wieczorek, 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-20). Shoji scored one points with a block and set his team to a .493 hitting efficiency. Wieczorek played as a substitute and started the third set and scored seven points on four kills, two blocks and one ace.

Middle Dan McDonnell and Arkas Izmir Spor are also 5-3 in Turkey. On Nov. 14, Arkas Spor beat Yeni Kızıltepe Spor Kulübü, 3-0 (25-16, 25-14, 25-20). McDonnell scored five points on three kills and two blocks.

McDonnell and Arkas Izmir Spor won both of their CEV Cup qualification matches in the round of 32 over Slovakia’s Rieker UJS Komárno to advance to the round of 16 where they will face Shoji and Spor Toto starting on Dec. 8.


Opposite Kyle Ensing, outside hitter J.T. Hatch, libero Josh Ayzenberg and Maccabi Tel Aviv are 5-0 in Israel’s men’s league after beating Academy on Nov. 10, 3-0 (25-10, 25-15, 25-17).

Ensing started the first set and scored four points on four kills. Hatch also scored four points on four kills. Ayzenberg was credited with three receptions.

On Nov. 18-19, Tel Aviv will play in a qualification round of the CEV Challenge Cup


Opposite Ben Patch, middle blocker Jeff Jendryk, outside hitter Cody Kessel, setter Matt West and the Berlin Recycling Volleys are undefeated at 8-0.

On Nov. 13, Berlin beat SWD Powervolleys Düren, 3-0 (37-35, 25-19, 25-21). Patch led all scorers with 18 points on 15 kills (.667) and three aces. Jendryk scored nine points on six kills, two blocks and one ace. Kessel and West each played as substitutes.

Berlin will begin play in the CEV Champions League on Dec. 1 against Vojvodina NS Seme Novi Sad of Serbia.