COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 3, 2018) – U.S. outside hitter Aaron Russell became to first American player since Karch Kiraly to be named MVP of the FIVB Men’s Club World Championship when he and his Italian club team Trentino Volley won the championship on Sunday in Częstochowa, Poland.

Russell and Trentino beat Italy’s Cucine Lube Civitanova, which includes U.S. outside hitter Brenden Sander, in the final, 25-20, 22-25, 25-20, 25-18.

Russell led his team in the final with 20 points on 18 kills, one block and one ace. He was the tournament’s “Best Spiker” with a hitting efficiency of .442. He was the sixth leading scorer of the tournament with 68 points on 62 kills, three blocks and three aces.

In the third-place match, libero Erik Shoji and his Russian club team Fakel Novy Urengoy beat his brother, setter Kawika Shoji, middle blocker David Smith and Poland’s Asseco Resovia Rzeszów, 19-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-23.

Erik Shoji finished third in digs with an average of 1.13 per set. He finished seventh among all receivers with an efficiency percentage of 4.00.

Kawika Shoji finished second among all setters with an average of 3.32 running sets per set. A running set puts the hitter against one or zero blockers.

David Smith finished sixth in aces with an average of .37 per set.

Final Ranking:

1. Diatec Trentino (ITA) – Aaron Russell
2. Cucine Lube Civitanova (ITA) – Brenden Sander
3. Fakel Novy Urengoy (RUS) – Erik Shoji
4. Asseco Resovia Rzeszów (POL) – Kawika Shoji and David Smith
5T. Sada Cruzeiro Contagem (BRA) – Taylor Sander
5T. Zenit Kazan (RUS) – Matt Anderson
7T. Khatam Ardakan (IRI)
7T. PGE Skra Belchatow (POL)


According to his Italian club team, Azimut Leo Shoes Modena, middle blocker Max Holt is suffering from vertigo, which hit him on Sunday. He was not on the roster for Modena’s match Sunday against Vero Volley Monza. Modena, which also includes setter Micah Christenson, is in second place in the league with an 8-2 record.