International men: Matt Anderson, Zenit Kazan remain in first place

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Taylor Sander-Pro mens notebook 2/28/2019
Taylor Sander returned from an injury to lead Sada Cruzeiro/ Sada Cruzeiro Facebook

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 blairlambert2@gmail.com

This edition of the notebook includes recaps of Americans competing in Russia, Brazil, Italy, Poland, Germany, France, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, Switzerland, Greece and Norway. The German Cup finals took place this weekend with an American player competing. Playoffs are just around the corner for the domestic leagues and the Champions League and the German Cup concluded just this past weekend.

Erik Shoji-Fakel-Pro mens notebook 2/28/2019
Erik Shoji and Fakel suffered a setback in the Russian Super League on Wednesday/Erik Shoji Facebook

Russia: Matt Anderson and Zenit Kazan remained in first place after a pair of wins last week. Anderson scored 13 points on Wednesday in a sweep of Ural Ufa. He scored on nine kills, one block, and a match-high three kills while hitting .412. He followed it up with 13 points on 13 kills in a 3-1 win over Nova Novokuibyshevsk on Saturday. Maxim Mikhailov led Kazan with 18 points on Wednesday and 19 on Saturday.

Fakel Novy Urengoy fell to sixth place after a 3-2 defeat to Kuzbass Kemerovo. Erik Shoji passed at a rate of 39 percent positive and 19 percent perfect receptions. Victor Poletaev led the Kuzbass with 23 points. Arthur Udris scored 28 for Fakel. Shoji and his team got back into fourth place with a 3-2 win over Dynamo Moscow on Saturday behind 25 points from Dmitry Volkov and 24 from Egor Kliuka. Shoji led the match with 67 percent positive passes and 40 percent perfect.

Brazil: Each team in the Brazilian Superliga played two matches this past week. Taylor Sander was not in the lineup for Sada Cruzeiro in its match against Sao Judas on Wednesday. Sander was still recovering from an abdominal strain, and watched his team’s 3-0 victory from the bench. He was back on the court on Saturday and led Sada Cruzeiro with 20 points in a 3-1 victory over Fiat/Minas. He contributed 15 kills, two blocks, and three aces with a .522 hitting percentage. This week Sander and Sada Cruzeiro will take part in the South American Club Championships.

Volei Um Itapetininga took Caramuru Volei to a fifth set but could not pull off the win. Price Jarman played the whole match at middle blocker and scored 14 points. He hit .294 while scoring on eight kills, five blocks and a service ace. Itapetininga beat SESC-RJ in four sets on Saturday. That match victory clinched a berth into the playoffs during the club’s first year in Brazil’s highest division. Unfortunately the statistics from that match were not published.

Italy: There were no big upsets in the Italian SuperLega last week. Jonah Seif was used as a substitute in the second set for Sir Safety Perugia in a 3-0 sweep of Vero Volley Monza. Wilfredo Leon scored 13 and Aleksandar Atanasijevic led Perugia with 18 on the night.

Brenden Sander was not in the squad for Lube Civitanova in a 3-1 win over Emma Villas Siena. Osmany Juantorena (23 points) led the match in scoring, and Tsvetan Sokolov added 18. Lube is one point behind Itas Trentino in the standings at third place.

Itas Trentino remained in second place after a sweep of Kioene Padova. Aaron Russell finished the match with nine points from eight kills and an ace with a .636 attack average. Uros Kovacevic led Trentino with 16 points on 11 kills, one ace, and a match-high four blocks.

Max Holt scored four points in the middle for Azimut Leo Shoes Modena in a 3-1 victory over Tonno Callipo Calabria Vibo Valentia. Micah Christenson did not play as he is still rehabilitating his knee after having surgery just over two weeks ago. Ivan Zaytsev led the match with 24 points for Modena.

Kupono Fey scored eight points for Globo Banca Popolare del Frusinate Sora in a 3-1 win over Consar Ravenna. His points came on six kills, one block, and one ace. Fey passed 60 percent of his receptions positively and 15 percent perfectly. Dusan Petkovic led Sora with 25 points. Sora is currently in 11th place and not in a position to make the playoffs.

Poland: Asseco Resovia Rzeszów earned its fourth consecutive win last Wednesday in four sets over Trefl Gdansk. Kawika Shoji earned two blocks and two aces while setting Resovia to a .408 hitting percentage. Dave Smith scored eight points on seven kills and a block with a .500 hitting percentage in the middle. Resovia finally lost a match by way of a sweep at the hands of Indykpol AZS Olsztyn. Smith scored eight points on six kills and two blocks while hitting .600 without committing an error in attack. Shoji played the first two sets and set Resovia to a .281 attack average.

MKS Będzin dropped a pair of matches this past week. Jake Langlois scored 18 points on 11 kills, one block, and a match-high six aces in a 3-1 defeat to Aluron Virtu Warta Zawiercie. Langlois scored six points on six kills with a .214 hitting percentage in a 3-1 defeat to Cerrad Czarni Radom.

James Shaw played as a substitute in each of the three sets of ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle’s sweep of Cuprum Lubin on Wednesday. He finished the match with one kill on one attack attempt. ZAKSA suffered its second defeat of the season in a 3-1 loss to Onico Warsaw on Saturday. Shaw came off the bench in the first, second, and fourth sets without scoring a point. Despite the loss, ZAKSA is still in first place by five points.

Germany: There were only three matches last week in the Bundesliga since the finals of the German Cup took place over the weekend. Tanner Syftestad came off the bench in the first set and earned a point from a block in United Volleys Frankfurt’s sweep to VfB Friedrichshafen.

Mitch Penning scored nine points in the middle on eight kills and a block in TV Rottenburg’s 3-1 loss to last-place VCO Berlin. Penning hit .375 in the defeat.

Ben Patch was a reliable contributor from the right pin for the Berlin Recycling Volleys in its 3-0 sweep over first-place Hypo Tirol AlpenVolleys Unterhaching. Patch led the team with 14 points on 13 kills and a block while hitting .450. Jeff Jendryk started at middle blocker and scored seven points on five kills, one block, and a service ace. Jendryk hit .833 without committing an error in attack. Kyle Russell was used as a substitute in the third set and did not register any points. Dustin Watten was not utilized by Berlin in this match. Matthew Pollock did not start the match, but played the third set for the AlpenVolleys without scoring any points.

VfB Friedrichshafen swept Cody Kessel and SVG Lüneburg in the finals of the German Cup on Sunday. Kessel led his team with 14 points on 12 kills, one block, and one ace. He hit .391 and passed 58 percent of his receptions positively.

France: Chaumont dropped to sixth place in the standings after a 3-2 defeat to Tourcoing. Dan McDonnell scored eight points in the middle for Tourcoing on five kills, two blocks, and one ace with a .167 hitting percentage. Taylor Averill scored 11 points for Chaumont on eight kills and three blocks but only hit .235. Michael Saeta did not start at setter for Chaumont, but was used as a substitute in the fourth and fifth sets.

Mitch Stahl did not see the court for first-placed Tours in a 3-0 sweep of Nice. .

Belgium: Sam Holt did not play for Knack Roeselare in a 3-0 win over VBC Waremme on Wednesday. He was in the starting lineup against first-placed Greenyard Maaseik on Saturday. Roeselare fell to Maaseik in four sets to solidify second place in the regular season standings. Holt scored 12 points on 12 kills and a .161 hitting percentage in the loss. Both Roeselare and Maaseik have byes to the semifinals of the Belgian Euromillions Volley League playoffs.

Czech Republic: Both Matt Walsh and Kevin Gear started at middle blocker for AERO Odolena Voda in a 3-2 win over Volejbal Brno on Sunday. Both of these players also finished the match with 12 points. Gear and Walsh both hit .555 with Gear earning six kills and Walsh registering seven. Gear contributed four blocks and two service aces. Walsh added two blocks and three aces to the stat page.

Jalen Penrose was not featured by CEZ Karlovarsko in its 3-0 victory over Volejbalový klub Příbram.

Finland: Matt West set Hurrikaani Loimaa to a .378 hitting percentage in a 3-0 win over Savo Volley on Wednesday. The same two teams met again on Saturday with Hurrikaani prevailing in five sets. West ran the offense to a .288 efficiency and contributed three points from the service line. West and his team were back on the court on Sunday and beat Team Lakkapää in five sets. West contributed four more aces from the service line.

Arvis Greene started at opposite on Thursday for VaLePa against Team Lakkapää in a sweep. Greene scored 10 points on 10 kills and hit an impressive .818 from the right side in the win. Greene was not in the starting lineup against Etta Oulu, but came off the bench as a substitute in the third set. In less than a full set of play he scored six points on five kills and a block in an 0-3 loss. On Monday VaLePa bounced back to win 3-2 against Kokkolan Tiikerit. Green did not feature in that match.

Scott Fifer-Pro mens notebook 2/28/2019
Scott Fifer has led Volley Schönenwerd to second place so far in Switzerland/Volley Schonwerd’s Facebook

Switzerland: Scott Fifer set TV Schönenwerd to a 3-0 victory over Chênois Genève Volleyball on Saturday. Fifer set Schönenwerd to a phenomenal .552 hitting percentage, and he also scored from an ace and a block in the win.

Lucas Yoder was not in the squad for Biogas Volley Näfels in a 3-0 win on Saturday.

Norway: Ryan Manoogian played libero for TIF VIking on Saturday in a 3-1 win over Stod IL. He passed 80 percent of his receptions positively and 53 percent perfectly.

Greece: Garrett Muagututia started at outside hitter PAOK Thessaloniki in a 3-1 victory over A.O. Foinikas Sirou. Muagututia finished with nine points on seven kills and two aces while hitting .250 in the win.

Looking Ahead
Poland: ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle vs. Aluron Virtu Warta Zawiercie, March 3 — This could be a trap game for James Shaw and ZAKSA. Zawiercie is in fifth position. It needs a win in order to remain tied with Skra in sixth place, the last place that qualifies for the playoffs. ZAKSA has shown it is mortal with losses to Resovia and ONICO Warsaw in the past month. The first-placed team in the PulisLiga will be entering the match after an emotion-filled Champions League fixture against Lube Civitanova. A loss to Lube can possibly knock ZAKSA out of the Champions League playoffs. It will be vital Shaw and his team to enter Sunday without the hangover that can accompany a big match prior. Mark Lebedew has Zawiercie achieving great things for a team just in its second season of the PlusLiga including a win over ONICO Warsaw and reaching the semifinals of the Polish Cup.

Germany: VfB Friedrichshafen vs. Hypo Tirol AlpenVolleys Unterhaching, March 2 — Hypo Tirol AlpenVolleys has been the most consistent team in the German Bundesliga, and has had the luxury of only having to concentrate on domestic play. VfB Friedrichshafen has been playing well lately, including claiming the German Cup this past week. While coming off of its last match of the Champions League, a competition in which it did not reach the playoffs, it now can put all of its effort into reclaiming the Bundesliga title. Both of these teams are at the top of the league. A win by Friedrichshafen will put it back into first place with just three matches left before the playoffs commence.

Italy: Revivre Axopower Milano vs. Itas Trentino, March 3 — Trentino has been making its way through the CEV Cup as the favorite, but it finds itself three points behind Sir Safety Perugia in the Italian SuperLega standings. With four matches left it must earn three points each week to stay in contention of the one seed and potentially avoiding Lube Civitanova in the semifinals of the playoffs. Milan is in a virtual dead heat with Modena for fourth place. It has beat Lube and Modena in 2019, and suffered only a pair of five-set defeats (Latina and Monza) in the second half of the season. Giani has his team playing great volleyball and Nimir Abdel-Aziz is re-establishing himself as the premier opposite in the league. After signing a contract extension for two years it is no mystery why Milan is linked to Zaytsev and Cebulj.

Titles Won by Americans:
The following is a list of titles won by American players with their foreign clubs. This list includes domestic cups, continental cups, the world championships and domestic leagues. This list does not include super cup competitions except for Italy since that is the only super cup which takes more than one match to win. This list will continue to grow as more cup competitions and seasons conclude:
Matt Anderson (Penn State), Zenit Kazan, Russian Cup
Micah Christenson (USC), Modena, Italian SuperCoppa
Arvis Greene (CSUN), VaLePa, Finnish Suomen Cup
Max Holt (Penn State), Modena, Italian SuperCoppa
Sam Holt (CSUN), Knack Roeselare, Belgian Cup
Michael Michelau (Erskine), Falkenberg VBK, Swedish Cup
Aaron Russell (Penn State), Trentino, FIVB Club World Championship
Taylor Sander (BYU), Sada Cruzeiro, Copa Brasil
Jonah Seif (UCSB), Perugia, Coppa Italia

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