This is Blair Lambert’s 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

Brazil: Taylor Sander made his debut for Sada Cruzeiro in its 3-0 victory over San Francisco Saude. Sander tied a team-high 13 points in his first match with his new club, with 10 kill and five blocks with a .533 hitting percentage.

Italy: Taylor Sander’s brother, Brenden Sander, is with his former club, Lube Civitanova, undefeated coming into this week before facing Sir Safety Conad Perugia, which dealt away Aaron Russell to get Wilfredo Leon. Perugia beat Lube in four sets behind 21 points from Leon. Jonah Seif was used as a substitute as the backup setter in all three sets. Sander did not play.

Micah Christenson led Azimut Leo Shoes Modena to two victories last week. He set his team to a .390 hitting percentage in a 3-0 win over Revivre Axopower Milan on Thursday. He followed it up on Sunday by setting Modena to a .384 attack average in another sweep over Top Volley Latina. His USA teammate, Max Holt, scored 10 points on Thursday with five kills, an ace, and a match-high four blocks. Holt got the night off on Sunday in the match against Latina.

Russell did not play on Thursday for Itas Trentino in its match against Tonno Callipo Calabria Vibo Valentia. Italian media reported he was ill with stomach issues. Trentino earned a sweep and was paced by Luca Vettori and Uros Kovacevic, who both scored 16 each. Russell played sparingly on Sunday against Lube Civitanova. He was used as a substitute in the first and third sets, and he started the final two sets. Russell finished with 10 points on seven kills, two blocks, and an ace in a 3-2 loss.  

Poland: Asseco Resovia is having its worse start to a season ever in the Polish PlusLiga, 0-5 after losing to MKS Będzin in straight sets. Kawika Shoji started the third set at setter for Resovia. He finished with a block and an ace, but only set his team to a .192 attack average. Dave Smith did not play in the match for Resovia, and Jake Langlois did not feature in the match for MKS Będzin.

Germany: The German Cup resumed this weekend in the second round. In a peculiar feature to this tournament, the matches that are hosted by teams in Germany’s second division do not have the capability for live stats. As a result, the stat reports are not published after the match.

Berlin Recycling Volleys earned a sweep over Mainz to move on to the quarterfinals. Kyle Russell was the match’s MVP. Dustin Watten and Jeff Jendryk also started for Berlin.

Cody Kessel did not play in SVG Luneburg’s 3-0 win over FC Schüttorf 09.

Tanner Syftestad started in sets 2, 3 and 4 in United Volley Frankfurt’s 3-1 victory over Moerser SC.

Mitchell Penning had a rough outing against VfB Friedrichshafen. The middle blocker from Pepperdine hit .000 on his way to three points. He scored on two kills and a block for TV Rottenburg in their defeat.

Griffin Shields led WWK Volleys Herrsching in a sweep over TSV Mimmenhausen. He finished with 13 points on seven kills and six aces. Nicholas West was not featured in the match for Herrsching.

Matthew Pollock scored 12 points in the middle for Hypo Tirol Alpenvolleys Unterhacing in their 3-0 defeat at the hands of SWD powervolleys Duren. His points came from eight kills and 4 aces. Pollock hit .889 without committing an error in attack.

Jake Arnitz started the match for Volleyball Bisons Bühl, but he did not start after the first set. He registered two kills and a block with a .142 hitting percentage.

Taylor Averill, left, celebrates a point with his Chaumont teammates/Thanks to Chaumont on Facebook

France: Taylor Averill scored 13 points on five kills, three blocks, and five aces for Chaumont VB 52 in its 3-2 victory over Narbonne.

Dan McDonnell scored 15 points in the middle of Tourcoing’s defeat to Montpellier with 11 kills and a match-high four aces. Levi Cabral, formerly of Cal Baptist University, finished with 13 points on 12 kills and an ace.

Mitch Stahl played in the last set of a 3-1 win for Tours VB over Toulouse. The middle blocker from UCLA came off the bench in that set to earn a kill and a block.

Czech Republic: Jalen Penrose was used as a substitute in VK Karoslavo’s 3-0 win over VK Benátky nad Jizerou. The rookie from Penn State did not score any points.

Kevin Gear scored 7 points in the middle for VK Odolena Vodena in a 3-0 defeat to Fatra Zlín. Gear hit .800 on his way to four kills and three blocks.

Finland: Arvis Greene is fourth on the list of top scorers in the Finnish league at 4.5 points per set, though he had a difficult match on Sunday in VaLePa’s 3-1 win over Raison Loimu. The opposite from Cal State Northridge hit -.333 in the first set and was replaced. He finished with one kill.

Champions League: The Confederation of European Volleyball held the drawing to determine the pools of the 2018-2019 Champions League. Pool play will begin in the fourth round. The drawing took place on November 2 at the European Volleyball Gala in Budapest, Hungary. The results of the drawing are listed below.

Looking ahead
Russia: Belogorie Belgorod vs. Zenit Kazan, November 11

These are the last two clubs to have won the Champions League and the Russian Super League. Matt Anderson is now back in Kazan with Earvin N’Gapeth. Anderson has been tasked with picking up the offensive load that had been carried by Wilfredo Leon the last four years. Both teams are undefeated and Belogorie needs a statement win against a team that is not at the bottom of the standings.

Germany: VCO Berlin vs. Berlin Recycling Volleys, November 7

Berlin Recycling Volleys is the clear favorite in this matchup. VCO Berlin has not won a match yet in the German Bundesliga this year. Kyle Russell has been shouldering the load at opposite during the beginning of the season. This included the German Cup match just this past weekend. Ben Patch has arrived with the team and looked impressive in his first start against Herrsching back on Halloween with 20 points.

Poland: PGE Skra Bełchatów vs. Asseco Resovia Rzeszów, November 7

In years past this match would be the highlight of the Polish PlusLiga. They have won a combined 12 out of the last 14 Polish championships. At this point Skra is in 10th place with a 2-3 record, and Resovia sits at the bottom at 0-5. Kawika Shoji has not yet established himself as the team’s leader at setter, and Dave Smith has been missing lately. It will be interesting to see of Resovia can get its first win, or if Skra can start to climb out of the bottom half of the table.


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