Updates on U.S. men's players competing for pro clubs around the world.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 10, 2022) – Two teams with U.S. Men’s National Team players have won league cups over the past two weeks.
Poland’s Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle with libero Erik Shoji and middle blocker David Smith won the Polish Cup on Feb. 27, beating Jastrzębski Węgiel, 3-0 (25-20, 25-15, 25-19) in the final.
Shoji was credited with nine receptions, 78 percent positive. Smith scored eight points on four kills, three blocks and one ace.
Italy’s Sir Safety Conad Perugia with outside hitter Matt Anderson won the Italian Cup on March 3 when it defeated Itas Trentino, 25-17, 25-17, 23-25, 25-23. Anderson finished with 12 points on nine kills, two blocks and one ace. He was credited with 16 receptions, 63 percent positive.
In Polish league regular-season matches, Kędzierzyn-Koźle (18-1) with Smith and Erik Shoji suffered its first loss of the season on March 2 when it fell to Cerrad Enea Czarni Radom, 3-1 (18-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-19). Shoji was credited with 16 receptions, 63 percent positive. Smith did not play.
Kędzierzyn-Koźle bounced back on March 5 with a win over Aluron CMC Warta Zawiercie, 3-0 (26-24, 35-33, 27-25). Smith scored nine points on five kills, three blocks and one ace. Shoji was credited with 20 receptions, 60 percent positive.
Outside hitter T.J. DeFalco, middle Taylor Averill and Indykpol AZS Olsztyn (12-9) had a three-match winning streak broken by Stal Nysa in a 3-1 (23-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-16) loss on March 7. DeFalco scored 15 points on 14 kills and one ace. Averill scored eight points on six kills, one block and one ace.
Setter Micah Ma’a was named MVP as his club GKS Katowice beat Stal Nysa, 3-1 (13-25, 25-20, 29-27) on Feb. 19. Ma’a scored four points on two kill and two aces and set his team to a .441 hitting efficiency.
On March 5, Katowice fell to Jastrzębski Węgiel, 3-2 (25-23, 25-18, 22-25, 32-34, 15-12). Ma’a scored two points on a kill and a block and set his team to a .446 hitting efficiency.
Setter Josh Tuaniga and Ślepsk Malow Suwałki (6-16) fell to Projekt Warszawa, 3-1 (25-21, 25-21, 20-25, 25-23) on March 5. Tuaniga scored five points on four kills and one block. He set Suwałki to a .440 hitting efficiency.
Libero Dustin Watten and LUK Lublin (7-15) fell to Asseco Resovia Rzeszów, 3-1 (25-18, 25-23, 24-26, 25-15) on March 4. Watten was credited with 22 receptions, 45 percent positive.
In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the CEV has removed all Russian teams from its ongoing tournaments.
For the Champions League, this means that Italy’s Sir Safety Conad Perugia, including outside hitter Matt Anderson, and Poland’s Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle with libero Erik Shoji and middle blocker David Smith have advanced straight to the semifinals. Both teams were scheduled to play Russian teams in the quarterfinals.
Germany’s Berlin Recycling Volleys with opposite Ben Patch, middle Jeff Jendryk, outside hitter Cody Kessel and setter Matt West are still playing in the quarterfinals against Italy’s Itas Trentino.
In the first quarterfinal match on March 10, Berlin fell to Trentino, 3-0 (27-25, 25-19, 25-22). Jendryk led Berlin in scoring with 11 points on seven kills (.875), three blocks and one ace. Patch added eight points on seven kills and one ace. Kessel and West played as substitutes.
In the CEV Cup, setter Micah Christenson and Russia’s Zenit Kazan have been removed from the semifinals and Italy’s Vero Volley Monza will go straight to the finals. Zenit Kazan beat Monza in their first semifinals match on Feb. 24 (prior to the invasion), 3-1 (25-14, 25-20, 19-25, 25-19). Christenson scored two points on a kill and a block and set Kazan to a .479 hitting efficiency.
The Italian league has two weeks left in the regular season. In a battle of teams with U.S. players, Anderson and Sir Safety Conad Perugia (20-2) beat Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza (10-12) with middle blocker Max Holt and outside hitter Aaron Russell, 3-1 on Feb. 23.
Anderson scored 14 points on 12 kills and two blocks. He was credited with 25 receptions, 36 percent positive. Russell joined the first set as a substitute and started the next three. He led Piacenza in scoring with 18 points on 16 kills, one block and one ace. He was credited with 11 receptions, 45 percent positive. Holt finished with four points on three kills and one block.
On Feb. 27, Perugia beat Tonno Callipo Calabria Vibo Valentia, 3-0 (27-25, 25-21, 25-23). Anderson scored 10 points on eight kills and two aces. He was credited with 21 receptions, 52 percent positive.
That same day, Piacenza fell to Itas Trentino, 3-1 (23-25, 25-15, 25-17, 25-14). Holt started the first set before leaving the match with an ankle injury. Russell led Piacenza with 13 points on 12 kills and one block.
Jaeschke and Milano beat Kioene Padova on Feb. 27, 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-22). Jaeschke scored 13 points on 11 kills and two blocks. He w3as credited with 16 receptions, 31 percent positive.
On March 3, Piacenza beat Consar Ravenna, 3-1 (26-24, 24-26, 25-22, 25-20). Russell was named match MVP scoring 12 points on 12 kills. He was credited with 15 receptions, 40 percent positive.
Setter Micah Christenson and Zenit Kazan have improved to 19-1 in the Russian league. On March 5, Zenit Kazan beat Zenit St. Petersburg, 3-1 (23-25, 25-21, 25-21, 28-26). Christenson scored five points on two kills, two blocks and one ace. He set Kazan to a .574 hitting efficiency.
Setter Kawika Shoji scored nine points in Spor Toto’s 3-2 (25-20, 17-25, 25-20, 27-29, 15-11) victory over Bingol Solhan Spor on March 5. Shoji scored on four kills, three blocks and two aces. He set Spor Toto (17-5) to a .375 hitting efficiency.
On March 7, middle blocker Dan McDonnell scored seven points in Arkas Spor’s 3-1 (23-25, 25-20, 25-15, 25-22) win over Sorgun Bld. McDonnell scored on three blocks, two kill and two aces. Arkas Spor improved to 16-6.
The Berlin Recycling Volleys with opposite Ben Patch, middle Jeff Jendryk, outside hitter Cody Kessel and setter Matt West won the regular season rankings and are headed into the playoff quarterfinals where they will face Helios GRIZZLYS Giesen starting on March 13.
Maccabi Tel Aviv with opposite Kyle Ensing, outside hitter J.T. Hatch and libero Josh Ayzenberg lost in the quarterfinals of the State Cup to Hapoel Galil Mate Asher / Acre, 3-2 (25-21, 23-25, 16-25, 25-17, 15-10 on March 5.
The team will play Hapoel HaMa’apil / Menashe / Emek-Hefer in the league playoff quarterfinals, which begin March 13.