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 firstname.lastname@example.org
This edition of the notebook includes recaps of Americans competing in the CEV Cup, Italy, Russia, Poland, Brazil, Germany, France, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, and Switzerland. There was also a huge coaching change in one of the biggest leagues in the world this week that affects an American player.
CEV Cup: Matthew Pollock scored eight points on seven kills and a block in a 3-1 win for Hypo Tirol AlpenVolleys Unterhaching over Vojvodina NS Seme Novi Sad of Serbia. Pollock, who started at middle, and his team from Germany will advance to the next round against Itas Trentino.
Aaron Russell was not used in the Trentino’s 3-0 sweep over Lausanne UC. As mentioned previously, Trentino will face Hypo Tirol AlpenVolleys Unterhaching in the next round.
Ryan Manoogian was not used for Viking TIF Bergen in the club’s 3-1 win over Forde VBK. The Norwegian club will advance to the next round.
Dan McDonnell scored 11 points on six kills and five blocks for Tourcoing in a 3-0 win over CV Teurel of Spain. Unfortunately for Tourcoing, CV Teurel was able to claim the golden set to 15 points after the home and away matches and will be moving on to the next round.
Arvis Greene was not used by VaLePa in its 3-0 victory over Union Raiffeisen Waldviertel. VaLePa advanced to the next round with the sweep.
Italy: In last week’s recap the match between Lube Civitanova and Revivre Axopower Milano was tabbed as one that may produce an upset. That came true as Nimir Abdel-Aziz led Milano with 14 points in a 3-0 sweep over Brenden Sander and Lube.
Sander did not play and then Giampolo Medei, the head coach at Lube, resigned after the match.
Il tecnico Giampaolo Medei rassegna le dimissioni, squadra momentaneamente affidata a Marco Camperihttps://t.co/ZqMF8Blu7o
— A.S. Volley Lube Civitanova (@VolleyLube) December 10, 2018
Max Holt was again out of the lineup for Azimut Leo Shoes Modena in a 3-2 defeat over Emma Villas Siena on Saturday. Micah Christenson set Modena to a .351 hitting percentage in his match-up against Saeid Marouf from Iran. Marouf set Siena to a .308 hitting percentage. Modena was led by Ivan Zaytsev and Tine Urnaut, who both scored 20 points in the win. Modena has a similar record as league-leading Perugia, but trail by two points.
Jonah Seif was used as a substitute in the first and fourth sets as Sir Safety Conad Perugia dropped a 3-1 decision to Kioene Padova. Perugia still has a two-point lead at the top of the standings and was helped by Modena dropping a point on Saturday.
Aaron Russell was back on the court on Sunday and scored 15 points for Trentino in a 3-1 victory over Consar Ravenna. Russell had 12 kills, two aces, and a block while hitting .333. Kamil Rychlicki scored 20 points for Ravenna and is now third on the list of top scorers at 5.63 points per set.
Kupono Fey came off of the bench for Globo Banca Popolare del Frusinate Sora in the first set and remained in throughout the match on his way to six points in a 3-1 loss to Top Volley Latina. Fey contributed three kills, one block, and two aces.
Russia: The top two teams in Russia were back in action last Wednesday when Zenit Kazan squared off against Fakel Nova Urengoy. Zenit Kazan was down late in both the first and second sets but managed to pull them out. This result allowed Kazan to pull four points ahead in first place of the standings after losing to Fakel in five sets at the FIVB Club World Championships last week. Matt Anderson scored 14 points on 10 kills, one block and three aces for Zenit Kazan. Erik Shoji had a difficult match in serve receive, only passing seven percent of his receptions positively.
Matt Anderson followed up that performance with 15 points against Lokomotiv Novosibirsk on nine kills and six aces from the service line. Zenit won the match 3-0.
— Zenit-Kazan⚡️ (@volleyzenit) December 8, 2018
Fakel bounced back to defeat Zenit St. Petersburg 3-2 on Saturday. Erik Shoji led his team in serve receive with 33 percent of his passes being rated as perfect. Being taken to five sets means Fakel drops to five points behind Zenit Kazan in the standings after the weekend.
Poland: Jake Langlois and MKS Będzin dropped another match by way of a 26-24 fifth set against GKS Katowice. Langlois scored 12 points on 12 kills while hitting .364 in the defeat.
Asseco Resovia Rzeszów continued its woes in the Polish PlusLiga with a 3-1 defeat to Jastrzębski Węgiel. Kawika Shoji set Resovia to a .289 hitting percentage and contributed two blocks in a losing effort. Dave Smith did not play for Resovia.
Brazil: Taylor Sander scored 14 points in a 3-2 win for Sada Cruzeiro over Fiat/Minas. His points came on 13 kills and one ace with a .318 hitting percentage.
Saaaander! Ele vira mais uma! Que rali sensacional! E o ponto é nosso! Minas tem a vantagem em 21 a 20. pic.twitter.com/V9u8jjXcMZ
— Sada Cruzeiro (@sadacruzeiro) December 8, 2018
Price Jarman started at middle blocker for Volei Um Itapeininga in a 3-1 win defeat to SESC-RJ. Jarman scored two points on two kills with a 1.000 hitting percentage in the first two sets.
Germany: SVG Luneburg defeated Volleyball Bisons Buhl in three sets on Saturday. Cody Kessel, former outside hitter from Princeton, scored 11 points on eight kills, two blocks, and one ace with a .278 hitting percentage. On the other side of the net, Jake Arnitz chipped in nine points for Buhl on eight kills and an ace.
Antwain Aguillard scored five points on three kills and two blocks with a .000 attack average for Helios Grizzlys Giesen in a 3-1 loss to Netzhoppers SolWo Königspark KW.
Daniel Ford came in and set the final set for SWD powevolleys Duren in a 3-0 win over VCO Berlin on Saturday. Ford set Duren to a .500 attack average in the third set, and he scored two points on a kill and a block. He was used as a substitute on Sunday in a sweep over TV Rottenburg. Mitch Penning scored 8 points for Rottenburg on six kills and two blocks while hitting .417.
Tanner Syftestad was used as a substitute for the United Volleys Frankfurt in a tiebreak loss to league-leading VfB Friedrichshafen. Syftestad played in every set but the third and scored eight points from four kills and a block.
Matthew Pollock scored three points on one kill and two blocks as Hypo Tirol AlpenVolleys Unterhaching swept WWK Volleys Herrsching. Pollock played the whole match (except when being replaced by the libero) and hit .000. Nick West came off the bench in the first set and played the rest of the match for Herrsching. West scored seven points on six kills and a block.
France: Chaumont is on a three-match winning streak in the French Ligue A after a five-set win over Ajaccio on Saturday. Taylor Averill finished the match with 11 points from eight kills, two blocks, and one ace. Averill hit .438 with only one attack error committed. Michael Saeta started the first three sets and set Chaumont to a .365 hitting percentage before being replaced.
— CHAUMONT VOLLEY BALL (@CVB52HM) December 8, 2018
Dan McDonnell scored 13 points for Tourcoing as they earned a point in a 3-2 loss to Arago de Sete. McDonnell hit .875 on his way to seven kills, three blocks, and three aces.
Belgium: Sam Holt was not featured in Knack Roeselare’s 3-1 defeat at the hands of Greenyard Maaseik on Saturday. That loss drops Roeselare down into second place with an 8-1 record.
Czech Republic: CEZ Karlovarsko lost to Kladno Volejbal CZ 3-1 on Saturday and Jalen Penrose was used as a substitute in the second and fourth sets. He finished with two points on one kill and one block with a -.333 attack average.
Matt Walsh scored 12 points on seven kills, three blocks and two aces with a .462 attack average in AERO Odolena Voda’s 3-1 victory over SKV Usti Nad Labem. Kevin Gear also got the start for Odolena Voda, scoring eight points on five kills, three blocks, and hit .500.
Mitch Beal was used as a reserve in the second set for VK Ostrava in a 3-1 victory over VK Lvi Praha. Beal finished with one kill and a -.500 hitting percentage.
Finland: Arvis Greene started for VaLePa on Sunday and led the team with 24 points in a 3-2 defeat to Savo Volley. Greene put away 21 kills, one block, and two aces while hitting .349.
Matt West set Hurrikaani Loimaa to a .460 hitting percentage in a 3-1 win over Kokkolan Tiikerit. West also contributed four kills, two blocks, and a service ace.
Switzerland: Coming off of food poisoning earlier in the week, Scott Fifer set TV Schönenwerd to a .449 attack average in a 3-1 win over Volley Luzern. Fifer also contributed a block and a service ace in the win.
Lucas Yoder scored three points in the first set for Biogas Volley Nafels in a 3-1 loss to Lausanne UC. His points came entirely from kills in the first set.
Russia: Russian Cup Final Round, December 14th and 15th
This weekend puts some of Russia’s best against each other in the semifinals and finals of the Russian Cup. Fakel Nova Urengoy will be facing Zenit St. Petersburg again on Friday. Zenit Kazan plays third-placed Kuzbass Kemerovo in the other semifinal match.
Italy: Itas Trentino vs. Revivre Axopower Milan, December 12th
This match had to be rescheduled due to Trentino taking part in the FIVB Club World Championships. Last week Milan landed a huge upset win over Lube Civitanova. They are riding a wave of momentum into the match against Trentino. Aaron Russell’s team has had a busy stretch, playing seven matches in the last two weeks. Russell seems to have recovered from his minor knee injury and is firing on all cylinders.
Italy: Itas Trentino vs. Azimut Leo Shoes Modena, December 16th
The inclusion of Trentino a second time is not just making an easy choice. After scouring through the schedules of many other leagues, this match stands out for many reasons. If Trentino wins in three or four sets on Wednesday, this match will be for second place. The winner will be within striking distance of Modena, who has proved to be human, losing two of its last three matches. Aaron Russell, Micah Christenson, and Max Holt could all be sharing the court (though Holt could still be out as he recovers from vertigo).