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.
It was a very busy week in Europe with a full slate of matches taking place in the CEV Champions League, the CEV Cup, and the CEV Challenge Cup.
CEV Champions League
Lube Civitanova opened Pool C with a 23-25, 21-25, 25-19, 25-22, 15-13 win over SL Benfica of Lison. Gabi Garcia paced Lube with 22 points on 18 kills (.310) and four aces. Aleksandar Nikolov added 17 from 15 kills (.305), one block, and one ace. Tours VB of France swept Knack Roeselare of Belgium in the other match in that group.
ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle, still without Dave Smith, beat CEZ Karlovarsko of the Czech Republic in Pool D. Erik Shoji led ZAKSA with 63 percent positive and 44 percent positive passes in a 25-22, 25-21, 24-26, 26-24 decision. Itas Trentino, who faced ZAKSA in the finals the last two years, beat Decospan VT Menen of Belgium in three sets in the other matchup in Pool D.
Micah Ma’a set Halkbank Ankara to a 25-23 win in the first set against Aluron CMC Warta Zawiercie. They were also tied at 24-24 in the second set before Zawiercie took the next two points. The Polish team finished the match with 25-21 and 25-15 wins to earn the full three points over Halkbank. Ma’a set the team to a .159 hitting percentage while adding a kill and three blocks. Nimir Abdel Aziz finished with 13 kills, but hit .053. Halkbank is at the bottom of Pool B after Berlin Recycling Volleys was taken to five sets with Hebar Pazardzhik on November 8.
There are key matches tonight (Wednesday).
Chaumont lost 25-23, 25-23, 22-25, 23-25, 15-10 to PGE Skra Bełchatów in the CEV Cup. Pat Gasman posted eight kills (.438), three blocks and two aces. Michael Marshman came off the bench to start the third set and scored on five kills (.833), one block, and one ace. The CEV Cup is a playoff-format tournament with teams facing each other twice. Skra and Chaumont will play again tonight. A Chaumont victory in three or four sets will clinch a spot in the round of 16. A loss will lead to elimination. A win in five sets will force a golden set to 15 points to decide who advances.
SVG Lüneburg suffered a 22-25, 23-25, 25-19, 25-21, 15-9 defeat to Dinamo Bucuresti. Jordan Ewert led Lüneburg with 16 kills (.163), a block, and an ace. Colton Cowell added 10 kills (.129) and four blocks. Joe Worsley set Lüneburg to .181 hitting percentage while scoring on a kill of his own and a block. Gage Worsley passed 59 percent of his passes positively and 31 percent perfectly. The return leg in Romania is tonight. Lüneburg can advance directly with a win in three or four sets. A win in five sets will lead to a golden set, and any defeat will cause elimination.
Arkas Spor needed five sets but defeated Caruur Volley Gent of Belgium 25-23, 21-25, 25-23, 20-25, 15-10. Dan McDonnell scored six points on three kills (.500), two blocks, and one ace. The Turkish club has the same requirements to advance as Chaumont and Lüneburg in the return leg tonight.
Michael Michelau scored 13 points for Savo Volley in a 25-18, 29-27, 24-26, 23-25, 15-10 defeat to Crvena Zvedza Beograd. He had 12 kills (.161) and one block. Dave Kisiel led Savo with 17 kills (.333). The return leg in Finland is tonight.
Ryan Coenen led Lycurgus with eight points in a 25-15, 25-19, 25-17 loss to Calit Kamnik of Slovenia on November 9. Coenen hit .357 on his way to seven kills to go along with an ace. Kyle McCauley finished with two kills (-.100). Lycurgus needs a win in three or four sets to force a golden set. A match that goes to five sets on November 16 will eliminate the Dutch squad.
CEV Challenge Cup
Greg Petty had three kills (.200) and an ace for Akaa Volley in a 26-24, 25-18, 25-20 loss to A,J. Fonte Bastardo on November 9. Dennis Del Valle passed 45 percent positively and 36 percent perfectly for Bastardo.
JT Hatch started at outside hitter and had eight kills (.045) and an ace for Lausanne UC in a 27-25, 25-12, 19-25, 25-17 defeat to Deya Volley Burgas.
Odolena Voda dropped a 25-19, 25-14, 25-19 decision to Panathinaikos Athens. Thomas Carmody scored eight points on five kills (.400) and three aces for Odolena Voda. Neil Ferraro came into the match in the second set and finished with a kill.
LUK Lublin fell to Trefl Gdańsk 25-17, 25-19, 25-18 on November 11. Jeff Jendryk finished with six kills (.444), one block, and one ace. Dustin Watten passed 50 percent of his receptions positively and 20 percent perfectly.
TJ DeFalco led Asseco Resovia Rzeszów in a 26-24, 25-23, 23-25, 25-20 win over Indykpol AZS Olsztyn with 18 kills (.467) to go with three aces and a block. Josh Tuaniga set Olsztyn to a .284 attack average and scored on a block and an ace.
ZAKSA needed five sets to overcome Barkom Każany Lwów. Shoji posted a 61 and 21 percent passing performance in the 26-28, 25-17, 20-25, 25-21, 25-17, 15-10 victory.
Jake Hanes posted an 15-kill (.375), three-ace performance for BBTS Bielsko-Biała in a 25-21, 20-25, 25-10, 25-19 defeat to GKS Katowice.
Matt Anderson started his first Russian Super League match for Zenit Saint Petersburg on November 12 against Builder Minsk. He had three kills, three blocks, and three aces. He hit just .182 in the 25-17, 25-17, 25-14 win. Saint Petersburg remains undefeated.
Micah Christenson set Zenit Kazan to a 25-20, 25-19, 25-15 win over Dynamo-Lo. Christenson helped his team hit .463 while contributing a kill and an ace.
Gabi Garcia got the start at opposite against Top Volley Cisterna but was replaced in the second set by Ivan Zaytsev. Garcia had three kills and hit .071. Nikolov had 11 kills (.417) and three aces. Cisterna moved into third place behind Sir Safety Perugia and Itas Trentino after the 25-19, 25-19, 27-25 victory. Lube fell into fourth.
Halkbank Ankara made quick work of Hatay B. Sehr Bld. 25-20, 25-14, 25-15. Ma’a finished with two kills and set the team to a .426 attack average. Nimir Abdel Aziz scored 10 points in the win.
Arkas Spor beat Cizre Bld. 25-15, 25-20, 25-17 and Dan McDonnel put away six kills on six attempts (1.000) and had an ace.
JT Thunders Hiroshima lost to both Dmitriy Muserskiy and Suntory Sunbirds. The weekend opened with a 25-19, 25-14, 25-19 defeat. Aaron Russell scored on eight kills, one block, and one ace. Suntory beat Hiroshima the next night 25-18, 25-16, 21-25, 25-18. Russell had 12 kills and two blocks.
Tyler Mitchem was used as a substitute for Plessis Robinson in a 23-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-21 defeat to Nice. After coming off the bench in the third set, he put away four kills while hitting .428.
Saint Nazaire earned a 26-24, 23-25, 25-20, 25-18 victory over Cambrai. Kyle Ensing posted a match-high 27 points, which included 24 kills (.450), two aces, and a block. Quinn Isaacson scored on a kill, a block, and an ace while setting the team to a .396 hitting percentage.
Chaumont remained in first place after a 25-21, 25-23, 25-18 victory over Poitiers. Marshman started at middle and finished with five kills (.625) and two blocks.
Berlin Recycling Volleys finds itself in a familiar position: Undefeated and at the top of the standings. Cody Kesel scored nine points in a 25-14, 25-12, 25-20 win over Helios Grizzlys Giesen on six kills (.375), one block, and an ace. Matt West set Giesen to a .071 attack efficiency in the two sets he started.
Netzhoppers KW Bestensee fell to VfB Friedrichshafen 25-20, 25-22, 25-22. Randy Deweese led Netzhoppers with seven kills (.050), three blocks, and an ace. Max Chamberlain scored eight points in the middle on six kills (.444) and two blocks. Ray Barsemian, back from an injury that has sidelined him until now, came off the bench in the third set and had two kills (-.333) and an ace.
SVG Lüneburg earned a 21-25, 24-26, 26-24, 25-20, 15-13 victory against James Shaw and WWK Volleys Herrsching. Ewert led Lüneburg with 16 kills (.438), five blocks, and an ace. His 4.3 points per set is currently second-best in the Bundesliga. Cowell played the first three sets and scored on five kills (.235) and two kills. Joe Worsley set Lüneburg to a .374 attack efficiency. Gage Worsley posted a 44 percent positive and 11 percent perfect passing average. Shaw contributed five kills on nine attempts (.222) and set Herrsching to a .326 hitting percentage.
Around the globe
Spain: Matt Knigge hit .286 in a CV Guaguas victory over Conectabalear CV Manacor. He had nine kills and four blocks from the middle in a 25-23, 25-18, 16-25, 25-16 win.
Finland: Akaa-Volley defeated the Vantaa Ducks 22-25, 28-26, 25-22, 25-18 and Greg Petty scored 17 points on 13 kills (.417), two blocks, and two aces … Daniel Wetter scored 15 points in the middle for Perungan Pojat in a 25-22, 25-22, 25-22 defeat to VaLePa. Wetter put away eight kills (.583), one ace, and a match-high six blocks. He followed it up the next day with four kills (.125), two aces, and one block in a 25-22, 25-20, 25-22 loss to the Vantaa Ducks.
Michael Michelau started the fourth set for Savo and scored four points on four kills (.286) in a 25-21, 25-20, 16-25, 25-17 victory over TUTO Volley.
Switzerland: JT Hatch started for Lausanne UC in a 20-25, 30-28, 23-25, 25-17, 15-12 loss to Lindaren Volley Amriswil. He played in the first two sets and finished with one kill on seven attempts with no attack errors.
Greece: A.O.P. Kifisias pulled out a tight victory over AONS Milion on November 12. Corey Chavers had 12 kills (.240), three aces and a block in the 25-23, 25-21, 20-25, 20-25, 21-19 win.
Czech Republic: Thomas Carmody scored nine points in the middle for Odolena Voda in a 25-18, 25-14, 25-15 win over Příbram. He finished with five kills (.625), three blocks and an ace. Neil Ferraro had seven kills in as many swings.
Israel: Sam Burgi scored five points in the middle for Maccabi Tel Aviv on four kills (-.091) and a block. Josh Ayzenburg passed 81 percent positively and 56 percent perfectly in a 25-21, 25-22, 25-18 win over Hapoel SVA Rehovot … Andy Koyfman played the first two sets for league-leading Maccabi Hod HaSharon and had four kills (.429) and a block in a 25-23, 25-29, 25-22 win over HaMaapel-Menashe-Emek Hefer.
Denmark: Daniel Matheney scored 16 points in the middle for VK Vestsjælland on 14 kills (.478) and two blocks in a 22-25, 28-30, 25-18, 25-12, 14-16 defeat to DHV Odense … Chris Hall set Middelfart VK to a .198 hitting percentage and put away a block in a 25-17, 25-22, 25-27, 13-25, 15-12 win over Marienlyst-Fortuna Volley … Seamus McDonsgh had five kills and two blocks while setting Hvidovre VK to a .193 hitting percentage in a 25-15, 25-21, 19-25, 23-25, 15-12 victory over DHV Odense … Patrick Ross scored 14 points on 11 kills (.423), two blocks, and one ace for Nordenskov UIF in a 25-21, 25-11, 20-25, 25-16 win over Ikast KFUM on November 14.
Baltic League: Barrus Võru VK dropped a 18-25, 25-22, 25-18, 25-18 decision to Selver/TalTech. Matt Slivinski had 17 kills (.342), two aces and two blocks. Garrett Zolg set the team to a .267 hitting percentage while recording two aces and a block.