USA international men’s notebook: Big week for Taylor Sander, Matt Anderson

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Men's Pro Notebook 11/13/2018-Aaron Russell-Trentino
Aaron Russell gets a kill for Trentino against BCC Castellana Grotte on Sunday/Italian Volleyball League

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

Brazil: Taylor Sander and Sada Cruzeiro were in action twice this week because they will be in Poland for the FIVB Club World Championships from November 26 to December 2. Last Wednesday they played their fifth-round match against Corinthians-Guarulhos and landed a 3-0 sweep. Sander scored nine points on eight kills and a block with a .667 hitting percentage and no attack errors. He was also the team’s leading passer in serve receive with 87 percent of his passes being rated as positive. Kevin LeRoux, the French middle blocker, led the team with 12 points from five kills, two blocks, and five aces.

On Friday, they played their regularly scheduled third-round match against Copel Telecom Maringa Volei and prevailed 15-10 in a tiebreak. Sander led Sada Cruzeiro with 18 points on 13 kills, two blocks, and a match-high three aces. Evandro Guerra, opposite on the Brazilian National Team, was right behind with 16 points. Sada Cruzeiro has a 4-1 record with 11 points and sits on top of the Brazilian Superliga standings.

Price Jarman, middle blocker from BYU, scored eight points for Volei Um Itapetininga in a 3-0 victory over San Francisco Saude on Saturday. Jarman hit .833 on his way to five kills, two blocks, and an ace. That was his team’s first win of the season.

Italy: Italy conducted two rounds of the SuperLega this week. On Wednesday Ivan Zaytsev led Azimut Leo Shoes Modena to a 3-0 sweep over Kioene Padova. The opposite from the Italian National Team paced Modena with 17 points, all on kills, while hitting .640. Micah Christenson set Modena to a .422 hitting percentage. He also contributed four blocks in the win. Max Holt did not feature in the match for Modena.

Aaron Russell scored 11 points for Itas Trentino in their 3-0 win over Top Volley Latina. His points came on eight kills, two blocks, and one service ace with a .462 attack average. Trentino also got 12 points each from their opposite, Luca Vettori, and their other outside hitter, Uros Kovacevic.

Brenden Sander, a rookie from BYU, did not play in the Lube Civitanova’s 3-0 win over Vero Volley Monza. Osmany Juantorena led Lube with 25 points, and Tsvetan Sokolov showed he might have fully recovered from his summer knee surgery by adding 19 kills and a block in the win.

Kupono Fey was used as a reserve and started the final set for Globe Banca Popolare del Frusinate Sora in their 3-1 loss to Revivre Axopower Milano. He scored four points on two kills, one block, and one ace in the defeat.

Jonah Seif was used as a substitute in each set of Sir Safety Conad Perugia’s 3-0 victory over Tonno Callipo Calabria Vibo Valentia on Wednesday. Perugia was led by Wilfredo Leon on 15 points on 11 kills, two blocks, and two aces. The Polish outside hitter from Cuba hit .625. Todor Skrimov from Bulgaria registered 14 points for Vibo Valentia.

On Sunday, Lube Civitanova earned another victory by virtue of a 3-0 decision over Sora. Sokolov led Lube with 17 points on 14 kills and three aces. Juantorena contributed 15, and Robertlandy Simon, the subject of a contentious transfer from Sada Cruzeiro, scored 7 in the middle. Dusan Petkovic, the leading scorer in the Italian SuperLega last season, put away 16 kills, two aces, and one block for Sora. Kupono Fey, outside hitter from the University of Hawai’i, started the match at outside hitter and scored four points on three kills and a block.

Trentino got taken to five sets by BCC Castellana Grotte but prevailed 15-10 in the tiebreak. Russell scored 12 points on eight kills and a match-high four aces. Luca Vettori led the team with 15 points, Kovacevic contributed 13, and Davide Candellaro scored 11 points as a middle blocker.

The biggest match of the weekend in Italy pitted Modena against Perugia in front of a capacity crowd at the Pala Barton. The home fans celebrated Perugia’s 3-1 over the team that beat them in the Italian SuperCoppa back at the beginning of October. Wilfredo Leon showed again why he is the best player in the world with 25 points on 20 kills and five aces. The outside hitter in his first season with Perugia after playing the last four seasons with Zenit Kazan in Russia, hit .690 without committing an error in attack. Aleksandar Atanasijevic, opposite from Serbia, chipped in 21 points on the right side with 17 kills and four aces. Jonah Seif was used as a substitute in the final two sets.

Micah Christenson set Modena to a .427 attack average, but that was not enough to hand Perugia its first loss of the SuperLega. Max Holt scored 13 points in the middle with eight kills, three blocks, and two aces. Tine Urnaut led Modena with 17 points, and Ivan Zaytsev was right behind with 15 points in the loss.

Poland: Teams with American players in Poland have played a total of 14 matches thus far in the PlusLiga, but are a combined 1-13. MKS Będzin is 1-6 on the season in 13th place, and Asseco Resovia Rzeszów is 0-7 in 14th position in the standings.

Asseco Resovia Rzeszów failed to earn its first win of the season this past week in the Polish PlusLiga. On Wednesday Resovia lost 3-1 to PGE Skra Bełchatów. Dave Smith scored 12 points on eight kills and four aces in the middle for Resovia. Kawika Shoji and Nicolas Szerszen, rookie from Ohio State, did not play in the match for Resovia. Skra was led by Mariusz Wlazly and his 27 points.

Resovia lost lost to again on Sunday to ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle, the undefeated leaders of the PlusLiga. The one bright spot for Resovia is that it took two sets from ZAKSA, matching the amount of sets taken from the leaders in all of its previous matches combined. Shoji was used as a serving sub in the first set. Dave Smith scored 10 points in the middle on seven kills, two blocks, and one ace. Thibault Rossard scored 33 points for Resovia, but it still fell 20-18 in the last set. Sam Deroo scored 21 points for ZAKSA on the outside, Lukasz Kazmareck chipped in 19 as an opposite, and Mateusz Bienek scored 14 points from the middle in the victory.

MKS Będzin dropped a pair of 3-1 matches this week. Jake Langlois was not in the lineup when MKS Będzin fell to Cuprum Lubin on Wednesday. He was used in his team’s match against ONICO Warsaw on Monday, November 12 and started the final set. Langlois finished with five points on five kills while hitting .200 for the match.

Russia: There are two American players in the Russian Super League, and both are on teams that are undefeated after four rounds of play. Matt Anderson scored 15 points on 11 kills, three blocks, and one ace for Zenit Kazan in a 3-0 victory over previously unbeaten Belogorie Belgorod. Maxim Mikhailov led Kazan with 16 points in the win. Earvin N’Gapeth was Kazan’s leading passer in serve receive with 71 percent of his passes being rated as positive. N’Gapeth, a new addition to the Kazan roster from Modena, also scored 12 points on 12 kills.

Erik Shoji led Torch New Urengoy with 53 percent of his passes being rated as positive in a sweep of Yaroslavich. Egor Kliuka of the Russian National Team led Torch in scoring with 17 points from 14 kills, two blocks, and one ace. Torch as in first place at the moment, but all four of its wins have come against the bottom four teams in the standings.

Germany: The Berlin Recycling Volleys earned a sweep over VCO Berlin on Wednesday behind Samuele Tuia’s 13 points. Ben Patch got the start at opposite over Kyle Russell and finished with nine points on eight kills and one ace. Jeff Jendryk scored 10 from the middle on eight kills and two blocks with an .889 hitting percentage. Dustin Watten led his team with 44 percent of his passes being rated as perfect.

Matthew Pollock scored 10 points in the middle for HYPO TIROL AlpenVolleys Unterhaching in a 3-0 sweep of Volleyball Bisons Bühl. Pollock scored on eight kills, two blocks, and one ace. Jake Arnitz was used as a substitute for Bühl in the first set and finished with three kills.

Tanner Syftestad scored two points on two kills for United Volleys Frankfurt in a 3-1 victory over HELIOS GRIZZLYS Giesen. He was used as a substitute in the last set of the match.

Griffin Shields, opposite from Carthage College, scored 17 points on 13 kills, one block, and three aces as WWK Volleys Herrsching outasted SVG powevolleys Duren 3-2. Nick West was used as a substitute for Herrshing and scored a point. Daniel Ford did not feature in the match for Duren.

Cody Kessel scored 17 points for SVG Lüneburg in a 3-1 win over Netzhoppers SolWo Königspark KW. Kessel, formerly of Princeton, hit .636 while earning 16 kills to go with a block.

France: Taylor Averill scored 17 points on 11 kills, three blocks, and three aces for Chaumont VB 52 in its 3-2 victory over Rennes. Michael Saeta was back on the bench for Chaumont, and played in the second set.

Dan McDonnell scored 10 points for Tourcoing in a 3-0 sweep of Nice. McDonnell finished with five kills, three blocks, and 2 ace in the win.

Mitch Stahl did not play for Tours VB in its 3-0 win over Poitiers.

Czech Republic: Jalen Penrose was used as a substitute in VK Karoslavo’s 3-0 win over SKV Ústí nad Labem. The rookie from Penn State scored two points from a kill and an ace.

Kevin Gear scored 10 points in the middle for VK Odolena Vodena in a 3-2 victory over VK Ostrava. Gear hit .500 on his way to seven kills and three blocks. Mitch Beal scored three points for VK Ostrava as a substitute in the middle with all of his points coming from kills.

Finland: Arvis Greene led VaLePa with 21 points, but it was not enough as Hurrikaani Loimaa prevailed in a 3-2 decision. Greene scored on 21 kills with a .342 attack average. Matt West set Hurrikaani to a .423 hitting percentage and contributed three kills of his own.

Switzerland: In a battle of unbeatens, Volley Amriswil defeated Scott Fifer and TV Schönenwerd on Sunday in four sets. Fifer set TV Schönenwerd to a .360 hitting percentage as a team, and he also registered a block in the defeat.

Lucas Yoder led his team with 18 points as Biogas Volley Näfels defeated Volley Uni Bern Elite in five sets. Yoder hit .440 on his way to 15 kills, two blocks, and a service ace.

Champions League: While the group stage of the tournament as not started, there were two matches last week to decide the last spots in the Fourth Round. Tanner Syftestad was not used in United Volleys Frankfurt’s 3-0 win over PAOK Thessaloniki of Greece. Moritz Karlitzek scored 16 points to give United Volleys a commanding lead in the matchup. A win or a loss in five sets when these teams square off again this week will see United Volleys advance to the next round.

Taylor Averill scored nine points for Chaumont VB 52 in a 3-0 win over Vojvodina NS Seme Novi Sad of Serbia. Averill hit .750 with six kills and three blocks. Michael Saeta was not featured in the match for Chaumont. As with United Volleys, any victory or a loss in five sets this week when the two teams play again will see Chaumont through to the group stage.

Looking ahead
France: Chaumont VB 52 vs. Montpellier, November 17
Both of these clubs have the best records in the French Ligue A. Montpellier is 4-2 and in third place on points ratio. They have an impressive assortment of hitters at the pins with Jean Patry of the French National Team at opposite and Levi Carbal, a Brazilian from Cal Baptist, at outside hitter. Chaumont is sitting down at ninth place with a 3-1 record because they had to have domestic matches rescheduled to due Champions League fixtures. Taylor Averill has been running rampant in the middle during his first year in France after playing his first two seasons out of college in Italy. Martin Atanasov has been putting up big numbers on the left side. Chaumont has won its last three matches in five sets, including wins over league-leading Rennes and perennial champion Tours.

Germany: VfB Friedrichshafen vs. Berlin Recycling Volleys, November 15
While HYPO TIROL Alpenvolleys are currently at the top of the table in the German Bundesliga, every volleyball fan has had this date circled on the calendar since the season began. These two teams have had a history of facing each other in the finals. VfB Friedrichshafen took both regular season matches from Berlin Recycling Volleys and knocked them out of the Champions League just to have Berlin win the finals of the playoffs. Friedrichshafen comes into the match undefeated with Berlin at 3-1. Ben Patch has asserted himself into the lineup at opposite for Berlin, Dustin Watten brings years of top-flight experience, and Jeff Jendryk is treating his rookie season as if he was a seasoned veteran.

Russia: Zenit Kazan vs. Zenit St. Petersburg, November 17
Zenit St. Petersburg was a new club last year, but it burst onto the scene and reached the finals of the Russian Super League. After adding Gyorgy Grozer to the lineup to complement Oreol Camejo, St. Petersburg jumped out to a 3-0 start before being stunned by Kuzbass Kemerovo behind 24 points from Victor Poleatev. This is a chance to get back on track against a team who has not lost a step since the departure of Wilfredo Leon.

Matt Anderson has actually seen his scoring go up 143 percent from last year at this point in the season. N’Gapeth has been adding a stable presence in serve receive, and Maxim Mikhailov has continued to be a consistent presence on the right side. After dismantling Belogorie Belgorod this past weekend, a convincing win here may signal that the Club World Championship and Champions League still has to go through Kazan.

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