International notebook: Wrapping up 2019 for USA men playing pro volleyball

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International mens volleyball 1/7/2020-Kawika Shoji
Kawika Shoji led Resovia to a win on December 15/plusliga.pl photo

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

As the new year is now upon us, the professional volleyball schedule has slowed down a bit. Many leagues took a holiday break and started back up this last weekend. Other leagues played through the holiday season and are now on hiatus while the continental Olympic qualification tournaments are taking place. The Champions League has picked up with the group stage taking part each week in December. The first three legs of the group stage took place in three consecutive weeks. The competition will pick up again at the end of January.

Injury Updates: James Shaw had a rough month of November. The opposite from Narbonne broke his left hand back towards the beginning of the month. That was followed up with a trip to the emergency room and a surgery for an undisclosed ailment. He is on the mend and says he will make a full recovery.

Champions League Group A: Due to Lube Civitanova taking part in the FIVB Club World Championships this week, the match with Itas Trentino to open the group stage has been rescheduled to January 26.

Aaron Russell led Trentino in its return to the Champions League with 18 points in a five-set win over Fenerbahce Istanbul on December 12. He scored on 15 kills, two aces, and a block while hitting .444.

Russell was rested against Ceske Budejovice on December 19, and Trentino still earned a 3-0 victory.

Champions League Group B: The Berlin Recycling Volleys opened up its Champions League campaign on December 3 with a 3-0 sweep of ACH Volley of Slovenia. Ben Patch led the way for Berlin with 17 points on 14 kills and three blocks. Patch did not commit an attack error through the first two sets, and he ended up hitting .440. Jeff Jendryk finished with eight points from eight kills and that was on eight attempts. JT Hatch was used as a serving substitute in the first and third sets. He attempted two serves and committed one error. Cody Kessel also came off then bench in the first and third sets but did not score any points. Kyle Dagostino passed 29 percent positive and six percent perfect with three receptions errors for ACH.

Kuzbass Kemerovo and Fakel Novy Urengoy are in second and third places respectively in the Russian Super League. The two teams met on December 4 in their first match of the Champions League, and Kuzbass finished things in a sweep that lasted just over 90 minutes. Erik Shoji finished the match with 29 percent positive and 7 percent perfect passes to go along with three errors in reception.

Shoji and Fakel bounced back on December 11 in a sweep of Berlin. Shoji passed 42 percent positively and 25 percent perfectly in the win. Patch was not in the lineup for Berlin, who was led by Jendryk’s eight points. Jendryk’s points came on five kills, two aces, and a block. He hit .625 in the defeat. Kyle Ensing scored six points on four kills and two blocks with a .077 attack average. Kessel started the third sit and hit .000 on his way to four kills on the night. Hatch came off the bench to serve in the third set and committed an error from the service line.

ACH Volley claimed its first Champions League victory with an upset win over Kuzbass Kemerovo on December 11. Dagostino led the match with 68 percent positive receptions and 41 percent being rated as perfect.

Kyle Dagostino and Erik Shoji, both liberos who played for the US National Team last summer, faced each other in a Champions League match on December 17/Kyle Dagostino Instagram

In a matchup of two American liberos, Shoji and Fakel Novy Urengoy defeated Dagostino and ACH Volley in four sets on December 17. Shoji passed 57 percent positively and 13 percent of his receptions were rated as perfect. Dagostino posted a 27 and 18 percent performance on the night.

Berlin fell to third place in the pool with a 1-2 record after falling to Kuzbass Kemerovo in four sets on December 18. Patch was out with an injury and Ensing got the start at opposite. He led Berlin with 17 points. The other American to score was Jendryk, who put away seven kills to go with three blocks.

Champions League Group D: Tours VB faced a stiff test against Verva Warsaw on December 4. After dropping the first set by a score of 25-15, Price Jarman started the second and third sets in the middle for Tours. Jarman scored on three kills and a block while posting a .167 hitting percentage.

Jarman was not used by Tours in its matches on December 12 and 19. The French club lost in three sets to Sir Safety Perugia on December 12, and defeated Benfica Lisbon 3-1 on December 19.

Champions League Group E: Zaksa Kedzierzyn-Kozle defeated Vojvodina NS Seme Novi Sad of Serbia in three sets on December 3. Dave Smith scored seven points in the middle of ZAKSA. He hit .286 while notching three kills to go along with three blocks and an ace.

Knack Roeselare started the Champions League with an emphatic 3-0 win over VB Friedrichshafen. The Belgian club finished the match in less than 80 minutes. Joe Norman came into the match during the third set and scored from a kill on two attempts. Brendan Schmidt scored four points on three kills and a block while hitting .125. Joe Worsley came off the bench in the second set and started the third. He set Friedrichshafen to a .294 attack average in the set he started.

ZAKSA took care of business against Knack Roeselare on December 10, earning a sweep at home. Smith scored four points on four kills and hit .800 without committing an error in attack. Norman came off the bench in the third set for Roeselare. He also scored on four kills with an .800 attack average.

Friedrichshafen found its winning ways on December 10 against Vojvodina NS Seme Novi Sad. Worsley got the start at setter and set the German club to a .432 attack average. He also chipped in a kill on one attempt. Schmidt finished the match with four kills and a block. The middle blocker hit .571 on the night.

Norman made an appearance for Roeselare in the third set and did not score any points in a 3-2 win over Vojvodina NS Seme Novi Sad.

ZAKSA swept Friedrichshafen on on December 18 with Smith scoring six points in the middle on two kills, two blocks, and two aces with a .000 hitting percentage. Worsley started for Friedrichshafen, setting his club to a .296 hitting percentage. He also contributed two aces and a block. Schmidt scored four points in the middle on two kills and two blocks. Similar to Smith, he also posted a .000 attack average.

Italy: Tonno Callipo Calabria Vibo Valentia earned its second win of the season on December 8 with a five-set win over Top Volley Cistern (formerly Latina). TJ DeFalco led Vibo Valentia with 17 points on 15 kills, one block, and one ace. The rookie outside hitter hit .355.

Leo Shoes Modena suffered a tiebreak defeat to Calzedonia Verona on December 8. Garrett Muagututia scored 11 points on nine kills and two blocks with a .174 hitting percentage. Corey Chavers came off the bench in the fourth set and put away two kills on two swings. Jennings Franciskovic did not see any action for Verona, who was led by Stephen Boyer’s 31 points. Matt Anderson and Max Holt both scored 17 points for Modena in the defeat. Anderson’s points came from 14 kills and three aces with a .194 attack average. Holt hit .813 without an attack error and finished with 13 kills to go with three blocks and an ace. Christenson set Modena to a .306 hitting percentage and contributed three points of his own in the defeat.

Bartosz Kurek scored 17 points for Vero Volley Monza in a 3-0 defeat of Globo Banca Popolare del Frusinate Sora on December 7. Kupono Fey started the first two sets and came off the bench in the third for Sora. He scored three points on three kills. Fey hit .429 without committing an error in attack.

Russell scored nine points for Trentino on December 15 in a sweep of Sora. Russell put away eight kills to go with an ace and hit .300. Fey did not start for Sora, but he came off the bench in each of the sets.

Vibo Valentia won its second consecutive match on December 15 by way of a five-set triumph over Kurek and Monza. DeFalco finished with 14 kills and a block. He also hit an impressive .500 in attack and did not commit an error in reception.

Modena suffered its second defeat in the month of December at the hands of Perugia. Wilfredo Leon scored 32 points in four sets on December 15, including six aces. Anderson scored 15 points from 12 kills, two blocks, and an ace. He hit .458 in the defeat. Holt finished the night with two kills (on three attempts) and one block. Christenson set Modena to a .323 attack average and chipped in three points of his own.

Modena bounced back on December 22 with a 3-1 victory over Vibo Valentia. Anderson and Holt scored nine and eight points respectively for Modena. Anderson put away seven kills to go along with two aces and hit .250. Holt scored on six kills and two aces with a .357 attack average. Christenson set Modena to a .382 hitting percentage and scored on two kills. DeFalco hit .308 on his way to 12 kills and two blocks. He led Vibo Valentia in scoring, though he committed five passing errors in serve receive.

Muagututia scored 14 points for Verona in a 3-1 defeat to Milan on December 22. He finished with 11 kils, four blocks, and an ace with a .250 hitting percentage. Chavers and Franciskovic were not featured in the match for Verona.

Russell was back on the court on Christmas day for Trentino, who suffered a 3-1 defeat to Consar Ravenna. Russell scored 15 points on 15 kills with a .433 hitting percentage. That was Trentino’s fourth loss of the season, and it dropped the club into fifth position behind Milan.

Modena suffered a loss in four sets to Padova on December 26. Anderson finished the match with six points on five kills and an ace, but he also committed five attack errors for a .045 hitting percentage. Holt scored nine points from seven kills and two aces. The middle blocker hit .636 without committing an attack error. Christenson set Modena to a .284 hitting percentage. He also scored four points on two kills, one block, and one ace.

Verona defeated Sora in four sets on December 26. Muagututia scored 12 points on nine kills, two aces, and a block. He also hit .304 and did not commit an error in serve receive. Chavers came in during the second set and started the second set for Verona. The rookie from UC Santa Barbara finished with five points from four kills and an ace. The outside hittier posted a .571 attack average without an attack error. Franciskovic did not make an appearance for Verona. Fey came off the bench in the third and fourth sets for Sora. He received two serves and did not score any points.

Russia: Fakel Novy Urengoy picked up a pair of wins on December 8 and 14. It started with a 3-0 sweep over Nova Novokuybyshevsk. Shoji passed 64 percent positively and 36 percent perfectly in the win. That was followed up with a 3-1 win over Gazprom-Ugra Surgut. Shoji passed 75 percent positively and 30 percent perfectly.

Fakel dropped a five-set match to ASK Nizhny Novgorod on December 21. Shoji completed 64 percent positive and 45 percent perfect passes without committing an error in serve receive.

Poland: Kawika Shoji came off the bench as a serving substitute for Asseco Resovia Rzeszów on December 6 in a 3-0 defeat to Jastrzębski Węgiel. He completed two serves without an error.

Josh Tuaniga celebrates after a point in a tiebreak win on December 7/plusliga.it photo

Josh Tuaniga set Ślepsk Malow Suwałki to a .365 hitting percentage and scored six points on four kills and two aces in a 3-2 victory over Cerrad Czarni Radom on December 7. Brenden Sander played in every set and started in the third and fourth sets for Radom. He scored eight points from seven kills and an ace with a .143 attack average.

Dustin Watten started at libero for GKS Katowice as they fell in five sets to Verva Warsaw on December 7. Watten passed 50 percent of his 24 receptions positively and 35 percent perfectly in the defeat.

David Smith scored eight points in the middle for ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Kozle in a 3-1 victory over Trefl Gdańsk on December 8. Smith put away six kills, one block, one ace, and hit .556 in the win to remain in first place in the PlusLiga.

Tuaniga started the first two sets but was replaced in the second as Suwałki claimed a five-set win over BKS Visła Bydgoszcz on December 13. That win moves Suwałki to 5-5 on the season with 12 points.

Smith put away four kills on six swings without an error as ZAKSA defeated Indykpol AZS Olstyn in four sets on December 14.

Shoji started at setter for Resovia on December 15 and led his team to a 3-1 win over Aluron Virtu CMC Zawiercie. He was named the MVP of the match and set Resovia to a .416 attack average. Shoji also contributed three blocks, one kill, and an ace.

Sander did not feature in Radom’s match against PGE Skra Bełchatów on December 15. Skra claimed the victory in four sets.

Shoji started at setter for Resovia on December 20 in a 3-1 win over Sander and Radom. He set Resovia to a .441 hitting percentage and contributed four points of his own. Shoji scored on two kills, one block, and one ace. Sander started at outside hitter for Radom and scored 11 points. He hit .207 on while putting away 10 kills to go along with a block.

Watten passed 64.71 percent positively and 41.18 percent perfectly in a 3-1 win for GKS Katowice over Zawiercie on December 21. Both of those figures were match-highs.

Smith posted nine points, including eight kills in a sweep of Cuprum Lubin on December 21. The middle blocker hit .667 without an attack error and also contributed a block for first-placed ZAKSA.

Suwałki fell to Skra in four sets on December 21. Tuaniga did not start the match, but came off the bench in the fourth set and played the rest of the way. His team his .244 on the night.

Tuaniga was put into a similar situation on December 26, he did not start the match but came off the bench in the third set to lead the team until the finish. It was a different result as Suwałki defeated MKS Będzin in four sets. Tuaniga scored two points on two kills, and his team hit .393 in the win.

Watten and GKS Katowice defeated Suwałki in five sets on January 4. While he passed 47.06 percent positively and 17.65 percent perfectly, Watten led his team with four passing errors. Tuaniga started at setter for Suwałki but was replaced in the third set. Despite losing, Suwałki hit .402 for the match and earned a point in the standings.

France: Max Chamberlain was used as a serving substitute in the second, third and fourth sets of Tourcoing’s 3-2 victory over Cannes on December 6. Chamberlain competed seven serves without an ace or an error. Kyle Russell led Cannes with 26 points on 20 kills, four aces, and two blocks. Russel hit .316 on the night. Matt West set Cannes to a .346 attack average and contributed two aces from the service line.

Narbonne beat Poitiers in five sets on December 6. Shaw was not back in the lineup yet after his injury and ailment. Micah Ma’a scored six points on three kills, two aces, and one block. He also set Poitiers to a .331 hitting percentage.

Chaumont earned a sweep over Toulouse on December 6. Mitch Stahl hit .500 on his way to four kills. He also chipped in two blocks and an ace.

Price Jarman was used as a substitute by Tours in a 3-1 win over Montpellier on December 7. He did not register any points.

Shaw was still recovering in Narbonne’s 3-1 win over Arago de Sete on December 13.

Cannes pulled level at 6-6 on the season with a 3-0 victory over Nice on December 14. Russell led Cannes again with 17 points on 15 kills, one ace, and one block. He hit .357 in the win. West set Cannes to a .366 hitting percentage and chipped in an ace from the service line.

Jarman did not play in the match for Tours in a 3-1 win over Poitiers on December 14. Ma’a scored seven points for Poitiers on two kills, one block, and four aces. He also set Poitiers to a .337 attack average.

Stahl scored 10 points in the middle as Chaumont defeated Tourcoing in four sets on December 14. Stahl hit .600 while putting down seven kills to go with two blocks and an ace. Chamberlain was used as a substitute in every set for Tourcoing but did not score.

Despite 28 points from Russell, Cannes fell to Narbonne 3-1 on December 20. Russell finished the match with 23 kills, four blocks, and an ace. He hit .341 on 41 swings. West set Cannes to a .350 hitting percentage and scored on a block. Shaw still had not yet returned to the lineup for Narbonne.

Stahl scored eight points for Chaumont in a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Rennes on December 21. His points came by way of five kills, two blocks, and an ace. Stahl hit .273 in the defeat.

Poitiers defeated Arago de Sete in three sets on December 21. Ma’a set Poitiers to a .402 hitting percentage. He scored two points from a kill and a block.

Jarman came into the match for Tours in the last set of a 3-0 victory over Toulouse. He scored from a kill and an ace while hitting 1.000.

Chamberlain was used as a serving substitute in the Tourcoing’s 3-2 defeat to Montpelier. He played in all five sets, attempted six serves, and earned one ace on the night.

Germany: Berlin ended the historic run in the German Cup made by WWK Volleys Herrsching in three sets on December 8. Patch led Berlin with 13 kills, two blocks, and an ace. He hit an impressive .579 from the right side. Jendryk scored eight points on six kills and two blocks while hitting .455. Ensing came off the bench in the second and third sets. He finished with three kills on four attempts for a .750 attack average. Hatch was used as a substitute in the first two sets, and Kessel came off the bench in the first set. Neither registered any points. Jalen Penrose started the first two sets at opposite (coming off the bench in the third) and led Herrsching with eight points. Penrose scored on all his points on kills and hit .267. Berlin advances to the finals of the German Cup, which will be played on February 16.

In the other semifinal match, SWD powervolleys Duren beat TV Rottenburg in three sets to claim a spot in the final. Karl Apfelbach got the start at opposite for Rottenburg and led the team with seven kills and a block. The rookie from UC Irvine only hit .150 in the defeat. Mitch Penning, middle blocker from Pepperdine, finished the night with four kills and hit .429.

The Bundesliga was back in action and Rottenburg bounced back on December 14 to defeat Netzhoppers KW-Bestensee in five sets. Penning scored 14 in the middle on 10 kills, three blocks, and an ace. He hit .600 on the night. Apfelbach came off the bench in the first three sets and started the last two. Despite playing less than half the match, he led Rottenburg with 17 points from 15 kills and two aces while hitting .500 from the right side.

Ben Patch celebrates with his teammates during a five-set victory over Friedrichshafen on December 14. Twitter/French Volleyball Federation

Berlin beat Friedrichshafen for the third time this season in all competitions on December 14, but this time it took five sets. With no Patch or Ensing in the squad, Kessel got the rare start at opposite and finished with 18 points. The former Princeton Tiger put away 15 kills, two aces, and a block while posting a .323 hitting percentage. Jendryk scored 11 on 10 kills and a block. He hit .588 from the middle. Hatch did not feature in the match for Berlin. Worsley got the nod to start at setter for Friedrichshafen and set his team to a .359 attack average. He also scored 3 points from the service line. Schmidt contributed eight kills and a block with a .455 hitting percentage.

SVG Lüneburg defeated HEITEC Volleys Eltmann in five sets on December 14. Leo Durkin started the first three sets for Lüneburg and set them to a .338 attack average before being replaced. Michael Michelau was used as a substitute in the second set but did not score any points.

Michael Wexter scored 18 points for Helios Grizzlys Giesen in a 3-1 loss to Hypo Tirol AlpenVolleys Unterhaching on December 14. He scored on 15 kills and three blocks with a .344 attack average. David Wieczorek added nine kills and a block while hitting .154.

Greg Petty led Volleyball Bisons Bühl with 16 points in a five-set win over SWD powervolleys Duren. Petty hit .250 while registering 13 kills to go with three blocks.

Herrsching dropped down to sixth place after a 3-1 loss to United Volleys Frankfurt on December 15. Penrose finished the night with 19 points, a team-high, on 17 kills, a block, and an ace. He also committed 12 attack errors and hit .135.

Herrsching outlasted Netzhoppers in five sets on December 21. Penrose led the match with 33 points on 27 kills, one block, and five aces. He hit .327 on 49 attempts.

Michelau started for Lüneburg and led the team with 22 points in a 3-1 loss to Unterhaching on december 21. His points came on 19 kills and three blocks. He hit .405 and led his team with 59 percent positive passes. Durkin started the final two sets as setter. The team hit .341 in the sets he started. Lüneburg was close to going up 2-1 in the match. After being up 21-20 in the third set, Unterhaching fought back to win the set by a score of 50-48.

Petty scored four points in just under two sets of play for Bühl in a 3-0 defeat to Eltmann on December 21. He scored on four kills, hitting .375 before being replaced in the second set.

Friedrichshafen suffered a defeat to Duren in three sets on December 21. Worsley set Friedrichshafen to a .286 hitting percentage. Schmidt finished with four kills, one block and a .571 attack average.

Berlin outlasted Frankfurt in five sets to close out 2019 on December 22. Ensing led Berlin with 23 points on 19 kills, one block, three aces and a .220 hitting percentage. Kessel played in the first four sets, started the second set, and put away three kills on six attempts with no errors. Hatch came off the bench in the second set, and played the rest of the way for Berlin. He hit .533 on his way to 10 kills to go with a block. Jendryk contributed 18 points from the middle with 12 kills, three blocks and three aces. He hit .800 without an error in attack.

Apfelbach led Rottenburg with 22 points in Rottenburg’s 3-1 win over Giesen. The rookie opposite hit .486 on his way to 20 kills. He also contributed two blocks. Penning scored nine points in the middle on seven kills and two blocks with a .583 hitting percentage. He did not commit an attack error. Wexter and Wieczorek led Giesen with 19 and 14 points respectively. Wexter scored on 18 kills and a block while hitting .378. Wieczorek hit .313 while putting away 14 kills.

Belgium: Joe Norman started at opposite for Knack Roeselare on December 7 in a 3-1 win over Caruur Volley Gent. he played in the first three sets and scored 12 points on nine kills, one block, and two aces. Norman hit .533 from the right side.

Norman started again on December 14 in Roeselare’s shock defeat in three sets to BDO Haasrode Leuven. He played in the first two sets and scored eight points. Norman hit .273 while putting away six kills to go with two blocks.

Roeselare defeated Descopan Volley Team Menen in five sets on December 21. Norman did not feature in the match for Roeselare.

Czech Republic: Matt August did not feature in the match for Brno on December 7 in a 3-2 win over VK Lvi Praha.

Kevin Gear scored five points for Odolena Voda in a 3-2 win over Příbram on December 7. Gear started in the first, second, and fifth sets. He finished with 5 kills and hit .833 without committing an attack error.

Zack Melcher did not start for Ústí nad Labem on December 7, but he came into the match in the first set and played the rest of the match at setter in a 3-1 loss to Beskydy. He set his team to a .243 attack average and added a kill of his own.

Gear scored seven points for Odolena Voda in a 3-0 defeat to VK Ostrava on December 14. He hit .500 with six kills and a block.

Melcher set Ústí nad Labem to a .286 hitting percentage in a 3-1 defeat to Kladno Volejbal on December 14. He also added a kill.

August scored nine points in the middle for Brno in a 3-1 victory over Příbram on December 16. He hit .667 while earning 6 kills to go along with three aces. He did not commit a single attack error in the win.

Gear was held to a single point from a block, but Odolena Voda defeated Ústí nad Labem in straight sets on December 19. Melcher set Ústí nad Labem to a .239 hitting percentage and scored two points from a kill and an ace.

August came off the bench as a serving substitute in the third set for Brno in a 3-1 win over Beskydy on December 21. He completed two serves with no errors.

Melcher started the first set at setter and set Ústí nad Labem to a .033 attack average as his team fell to Dukla Liberec in four sets.

Gear scored seven points for Odolena Voda in a 3-1 defeat to České Budějovice on December 22. He produced seven kills and hit .600.

Finland: Kyle Foley did not play for Karelian Hurmos on December 5 in a 3-1 win over Etta Oulu.

Josh Ayzenberg passed 29 percent of his seven receptions positively and 14 percent perfectly for Savo Volley in a sweep of Etta Oulu on December 6.

Foley started at setter Hurmos on December 7 in a 3-0 defeat to Hurrikaani Loimaa. He set his team to a .055 attack average. Foley also scored on two aces and a block.

Raision Loimu lost to Hurrikaani in four sets on December 8. Blake Leeson scored 10 points in the middle for Loimu. He earned eight kills and two blocks while hitting .333. Avery Aylsworth passed 29 percent of his receptions positively and seven percent perfectly.

Foley came off the bench in the third set and played the rest of the match for Karelian Hurmos in a tiebreak defeat to the Vantaa Ducks on December 8. Foley set his team to a .344 atack average in the sets he started.

Loimu suffered a four-set defeat to VaLePa on December 14. Leeson scored nine points in the middle on six kills and three blocks. He hit .667 without committing an error in attack. Aylsworth put forth a 37 and 21 percent passing performance as libero.

Savo Volley prevailed over Karelian Hurmos in four sets on December 14. Ayzenberg passed 65 percent of his receptions positively and 47 percent perfectly. Foley was used as a serving substitute in the fourth set for Hurmos.

Leeson scored 10 points on December 15 as the Raision Loimu beat Kokkolan Tiikerit in five sets. He scored on seven kills and three blocks with a .167 hitting percentage. Aylsworth passed 47 percent of his receptions positively and seven percent of his passes were classified as perfect.

Team Lakkapää dropped a four-set decision to Akaa Volley on December 15. Ryan Manoogian passed 50 percent positive receptions and 36 percent perfectly.

Leeson scored eight points on December 18, but Loimu dropped a match to Tiikerit in three sets. Leeson contributed seven kills and a block in the defeat while hitting .545. Aylsworth put in a 55 and nine percent passing performance in serve receive.

Manoogian passed 31 percent positively and eight percent perfectly for Lakkapää in a 3-2 defeat to Hurmos on December 20. Foley did not play for Hurmos.

The very next day Manoogian registered a 47 and 20 percent passing performance against Savo Volley. Savo took the match in a sweep over Lakkapää. Ayzenberg passed 86 percent of his receptions positively and an astounding 57 percent perfectly for Savo.

Loimu earned a hard-fought win over VaLePa on December 21. Aylsworth passed 53 percent positively and aposted a match-high 35 percent perfect passes. Leeson scored 11 on eight kills, two blocks, and an ace. He also hit .636 in the win.

Loimu were swept by Akaa-Volley on January 4. Leeson scored seven on six kills and an ace. He committed five errors in attack and only hit .071. Aylsworth passed 65 percent of his passes positively and 35 percent perfectly.

Savo swept Hurmos on January 6. Ayzenberg passed 90 percent of his receptions positively and 20 percent were classified as perfect. Foley started the match at setter for Hurmos and played the first two sets. He set his team to a .190 hitting percentage in the sets he started. Foley also chipped in a block.

Slovenia: ACH Volley defeated OK Maribor of Slovenia in the MEVZA on December 14. Dagostino registered 100 percent positive passes (on nine receptions) and 89 percent perfect passes.

Spain: Matthew Knigge scored nine points for Arenal Emevé in a 3-0 victory over Voleibol Almoradi on December 7. Knigge hit .111 on his way to three kills, but he also chipped in two aces and a match-high four blocks.

Long Beach alum Nick Amado scored four points for Unicaja Costa de Almería in a sweep of Urbia Voley Palma on December 7. His points came on two kills and two blocks with a .111 attack average.

Knigge hit .700 on December 14 in a sweep of Rio Duero Soria. He finished with eight kills and a block in the win.

Amado was used as a substitute in the fourth set on December 14 for Almería in a 3-2 victory over UBE L´Illa Grau. He did not score any points.

Amado and Knigge played each other on December 21 with Amado’s Almería defeating Arenal Emevé in three sets. Amado scored four points on three kills and a block. He hit .333 on the night. Knigge finished with six points on four kills, a block, an ace, and a .300 hitting percentage.

Knigge started off 2020 on a high note, He scored 22 points in the middle for Arenal Emevé in a 3-2 win over Santanderia Textile Volley. His points came on 16 kills, three blocks, and three aces. Knigge hit .681 in the win and was named the best player of the week in the Spanish Superliga.

Switzerland: Mitch Beal did not play for TSV Jona Volleyball in a 3-0 win over Traktor Basel on December 14. Grayson Overman hit .500 in the middle and finished with three points on three kills.

Matt Yoshimoto started at setter for Lindaren Volley Amriswil on December 14. He set Amriswil to a .373 attack average in a 3-0 sweep over Lindaren Volley Luzern. Yoshimoto also contributed a block and an ace.

Overman started the first and third sets of TSV Jona’s 3-0 defeat to Volley Schönenwerd on December 22. He scored six points on four kills and two blocks while hitting .375 in the middle. Beal also started the first and third sets but played in all three. He scored five points on five kills with a .125 attack average.

Yoshimoto started the first two sets at setter for Amriswil on January 4. He set his club to a .487 hitting percentage in those sets and Amriswil went on to sweep Lutry-Lavaux Volleyball.

Beal scored 14 points in a five-set loss to Lausanne on January 4. He scored on 12 kills, a block, and an ace. He hit .240 from the right side. Overman scored three points in the middle for TSV Jona. The points came from two kills and a block while hitting .667.

Coming Up
Raison Loimu vs. Savo Volley, Finland, January 10
— This match pits three American players against each other. Ayzenberg and Savo are currently in third position, and will move into second place with a win here. Loimu is sitting in the middle of the standings with Leeson and Aylsworth looking for a win to keep them in playoff contention.

Vecindario ACE GC vs. Unicaja Costa de Almería, Spain, January 10 — Almería is sitting in first place by two points. Amado has been steadily in the lineup, but is due for a breakout performance in the middle. The rookie from Long Beach State is scoring 1.48 points per set this season.

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