This is Blair Lambert’s VolleyballMag.com weekly men’s professional volleyball report, featuring Americans around the world. Got a note about a player or a comment for Blair? Email him at email@example.com
This edition of the notebook includes recaps of Americans competing in Brazil, Italy, Russia, Poland, Brazil, Germany, France, Belgium, Greece, Czech Republic, and Switzerland. There are also a few matches to watch for in the upcoming week.
Brazil: The Brazilian Superliga started the second half the regular season on January 12 and both of the teams with American players competed against each other. Sada Cruzeiro defeated Volei Um Itapetininga by virtue of a 3-1 decision. Taylor Sander led the match with 23 points on 20 kills, one block, and two service aces with a .400 hitting percentage. Price Jarman scored 10 points in the middle on seven kills and three blocks while hitting .600 for Itapetininga.
Italy: Sir Safety Perugia got back to its winning ways after suffering a sweep last week to Itas Trentino with a 3-1 decision over Lube Civitanova. Wilfredo Leon led all players with 16 points from 11 kills, four aces, and one block with a .428 hitting percentage. Marko Podrascanin was the only other double-digit scorer for Perugia with 11 points coming from the middle on eight kills, two blocks, and one ace. Aleksandar Atanasijevic finished with nine points on eight kills and a block, but he struggled in attack by only hitting .167. Jonah Seif was used as a substitute in the first and third sets. Robertlandy Simon was Lube’s leading scorer on nine kills, two blocks, and two aces with a .727 attack average. Brenden Sander did not dress out for Lube.
Azimut Leo Shoes Modena suffered a shock defeat to Revivre Axopower Milan on Sunday. Nimir Abdel-Aziz gave us glimpses of his pre-injury form from last season with a match-high 19 points from 18 kills and a block with a .615 attack average from the right side for Milan. Max Holt was dressed out for Modena, but an injured ankle kept him off the court. Micah Christenson set Modena to a .288 hitting percentage and Bartosz Bednorz led the team with 14 points. Modena remains in fourth place.
Itas Trentino remained in first place with sweep over Tonno Callipo Calabria Vibo Valentia. Aaron Russell was the match’s leading scorer with 13 points. All of his points came exclusively from kills, and he boasted a .688 hitting percentage from the left side. Simone Gianelli set Trentino to a .421 attack average.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE – Superlega, Itas Trentino maintains its leading position thanks to the clear 3-0 in Vibohttps://t.co/XY0UEoz6jb@isittn #trentinonelcuore
— trentino volley (@trentinovolley) January 14, 2019
Russia: During the week he was named the USA Volleyball player of the year, Matt Anderson played two sets in a sweep over Nova Novokuibyshevsk on Sunday in a match where Zenit Kazan rested many starters. Anderson Scored six points from four kills, one block, and one ace while hitting .429.
High five to the best American volleyball player of the year 🖐🏻
Congrats 🎉#ZenitKazan pic.twitter.com/5bs46eyz4S
— Zenit-Kazan in English⚡️ (@volleyzenit_en) January 15, 2019
Fakel Novy Urengoy dropped down to fifth place after its second straight match on Saturday to Lokomotiv Novosibirsk. Erik Shoji passed 29 percent of his service receptions positively and five percent perfectly for Fakel. Konstantin Bakun led Lokomotiv with 30 points in the 3-2 win.
Poland: Asseco Resovia Rzeszów put together another win, this time over Dave Smith’s former team, Cerrad Czarni Radom. Smith scored 11 points from seven kills, three blocks, and one ace. Shoji did not feature in the match for Resovia due to the foreign quota rule.
MKS Będzin suffered yet another 3-0 defeat on Friday to PGE Skra Belchatow. Jake Langlois started the third set, but was used as a substitute in the first and second. He finished with one kill and hit -.333 in the defeat. Będzin is still in last place with just one victory.
Germany: United Volleys Frankfurt landed a 3-0 victory over Netzhoppers SolWo Königspark KW on Wednesday of last week. Tanner Syftestad got the start at opposite for Frankfurt. The rookie from UCSD finished the match with 11 points on 10 kills and a block while hitting .421. Frankfurt is currently in sixth place, but has played one fewer match than all of the teams from second to fifth places. Just three points separates Frankfurt from second-place SVG Lüneburg.
“It was not easy in the past few weeks to watch mostly from outside,” Syftestad admitted after making his first start for United Volleys. “But I think I’ve shown that the more I work with the team, the better it gets with me. I hope that I can help the United Volleys in the upcoming big games.”
Erster Sieg im Jahr 2019 – 3:0 gegen die Netzhoppers KW! #unitedvolleys #onfleek @tannersyftestad #syftestud #fasterhighertanner @ucsdtritons #heimsieg #gerippt #frankfurterjungs… https://t.co/NhiLkJ6Ggn
— United Volleys (@unitedvolleys) January 9, 2019
SVG Lüneburg upended VfB Friedrichshafen on Saturday to move into second place in the German Bundesliga. Cody Kessel contributed 13 points to Lüneburg’s victory with 13 kills and a .171 hitting percentage.
The Berlin Recycling Volleys swept Volleyball Bisons Bühl at home on Friday behind 17 points from Kyle Russell. The former UC Irvine Anteater started at opposite and finished with match-highs in kills (11) and aces (4). Russell also contributed 2 blocks in the win. Dustin Watten passed 69 percent of his service receptions positively and 12 percent perfectly. Ben Patch and Jeff Jendryk were not utilized by Berlin in the match. Oliver Martin made his first appearance in a Bühl uniform after his transfer over the holidays from Team Lakkapää in Finland. Martin, a rookie from UCLA, finished with five kills and hit .833 in the middle.. Jake Arnitz also scored five points on five kills with a .300 attack average in the defeat.
Griffin Shields started the first two sets and Nick West started the last two sets in for WWK Volleys Herrsching in a 3-1 win over TV Rottenburg. Each player scored nine points in the victory. West’s points came from nine kills and a .429 hitting percentage. Shields scored from six kills and three blocks while posting a .105 attack average. Mitch Penning scored eight points on seven kills and a block with a .583 hitting percentage.
Antwain Aguillard started in the third and fourth sets for Helios Grizzlys Giesen in a 3-1 loss to SWD powervolleys Duren. Aguillard hit .333 on his way to a pair of kills and a pair of blocks in the defeat. Daniel Ford was not utilized by Duren in the win.
France: Chaumont was without Taylor Averill in a 3-0 sweep at the hands of Toulouse. Michael Saeta started the first two sets at setter for Chaumont and set his team to a .385 hitting percentage. The left-handed setter also added four kills with a .500 attack average.
Dan McDonnell was not featured in Tourcoing’s sweet over Nantes Reze.
Mitch Stahl started and played the first three sets for Tours in a 3-2 win over Nice. Stahl finished with eight points on five kills, two blocks, and one ace while hitting .500.
Belgium: Sam Holt was used as a substitute in the last set of Knack Roeselare’s 3-0 win over Caruur Volley Gent. He scored one point on one kill from one attack attempt.
Czech Republic: Matt Walsh scored 13 points and Kevin Gear added six for AERO Odolena Voda in a 3-1 win over CEZ Karlovarsko. Walsh put away eight kills, four blocks, and one ace while hitting .286. Gear’s points came on three blocks and three aces. Jalen Penrose was used as a substitute in the third set and did not score any points.
Mitch Beal started and played in the first set for VK Ostrava in a 3-1 loss to Volejbalový klub Příbram. Beal earned one kill on five attempts and hit minus .400.
Greece: Garrett Muagututia made his debut for PAOK Thessaloniki on Monday in a 3-0 victory over Panathinaikos. Muagututia scored nine points on seven kills and two blocks while leading his team with 40 percent of his passes being rated as perfect. He posted a .231 hitting percentage in the win.
Finland: Arvis Greene did not play for VaLePa on Saturday in a 3-0 win over Hurrikaani Loimaa. Matt West set Hurrikaani Loimaa to a .297 hitting percentage and contributed two blocks in the defeat.
Switzerland: Lucas Yoder led Biogas Volley Nafels with 14 points in a win over Volley Uni Bern on Saturday. Yoder scored on nine kills, one block, and a match-high four aces while hitting .125.
Scott Fifer started the second and fourth sets for TV Schönenwerd in a quick 3-1 loss to Lindaren Volley Amriswil. During those sets Fifer set his team to a .237 attack average. Fifer also contributed two points from a kill and a block.
Champions League: Lube Civitanova vs. ZAKSA Kedzierzyn-Kozle , January 15 — The top-ranked team in Poland will be facing the third-ranked team in Italy. While ZAKSA has yet to drop a match in Poland, it did lose to Modena last month in the Champions League. Lube is coming off of a defeat to Perugia and needs to get itself back on track against a solid opponent. A loss by ZAKSA will not eliminate it from the tournament, but qualification to the playoffs will be much more difficult.
Champions League: Berlin Recycling Volleys vs. PGE Skra Belchatow, January 16 — Kyle Russell has established himself as the starting opposite the past few matches and needs to produce a great match to get a victory against Skra. Both teams are not having the successes they usually have in their respective domestic leagues, but this is a chance each chance needs to seize in order to stay in contention for the playoffs.
Italy: Itas Trentino vs. Lube Civitanova, January 20 — It seems like every week the Italian SuperLega calendar blesses us with a gem of a match. This week pits the teams in first and third places against each other. Lube has had a brutal schedule in the month of January with Verona, Perugia, and now Trentino. A loss on Sunday could put Lube down into fourth position. Jiri Kovar has been back in the lineup and on the court in a reserve role. Aaron Russell, Uros Kovacevic, Luca Vettori, and Srecko Lisinac of Trentino are all in the top-ten in attacking efficiency. As a team Trentino has the most kills per set in the league, and Lube is second in terms of aces per set.