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

For all of its success in the German Bundesliga, the German Cup has been a different story for the Berlin Recycling Volleys. Since the club has been on a tear with nine of the last 10 Bundesliga titles, it has only won the German Cup twice during that span (2016 and 2020).

When the drawing paired Berlin with SVG Lüneburg in the quarterfinals, few fans would have thought Berlin would have difficulty reaching the semifinals when the two teams met on Thanksgiving. Berlin has not yet dropped a match against German competition. The two teams had met twice before with Berlin winning in four sets in both the Bounce House Cup semifinals and in league play.

Lüneburg jumped out to a 2-1 lead after a 22-25, 25-22, 22-25 start. Cody Kessel started the fourth set for Berlin and led Berlin to 25-23 and 27-25 victories to take the match. Kessel was named the match MVP after earning 10 kills (.409) and a block. He also passed 55 percent positive receptions and 21 percent perfect without an error.

Colton Cowell scored 22 points for Lüneburg on 20 kills (.357), one block, and one ace. Jordan Ewert contributed 17 kills (.471) and two blocks. Gage Worsley passed 47 percent positive receptions and 26 percent perfect. Joe Worsley set the team to a .389 hitting percentage, put down two blocks, and scored twice from the service line.

James Shaw set WWK Volleys Herrsching to a .210 attack average, scored on a block, an ace, and a kill in a 25-20, 25-19, 22-25, 25-23 loss to VfB Friedrichshafen in the quarterfinals on November 23.

In the other quarterfinal match that involved American players, Helios Grizzlys Giesen defeated Ntezhoppers KW Bestensee 16-25, 25-22, 25-17, 25-22. With Fedor Ivanov back from injury for Giesen, Matt West has assumed the role of backup setter. He still came in during the second set and played through the rest of the match. West set Giesen to a .286 attack average in those last two sets while scoring from a kill and a block.

Max Chamberlain scored 12 points in the middle for Netzhoppers from 11 kills (.388) and an ace. Randy Deweese had a rough outing, hitting .087 from the right side on his way to seven kills to go along with a block. Raymond Barsemian was used as a substitute, finishing with a kill (.000) and an ace.

The drawing of lots for the semifinals came on the court after the match in Berlin. West will be facing his former club when Giesen plays host to Berlin on December 21. VfB Friedrichshafen will travel to SWD powervolleys Duren in the other semifinal.

CEV Champions League

Micah Ma’a and Halkbank Ankara moved into second place in Pool B with a 25-21, 25-19, 22-25, 25-23 win over Berlin. Ma’a scored on two kills, two aces, and two blocks while setting Halkbank to a .380 hitting percentage. Kessel was used as a substitute in the second set and did not score.

Lube Civitanova remained undefeated in Pool C with a 20-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-13, 15-13 win over Tours VB of France. Gabi Garcia was replaced in the first set after committing errors on his first three attempts. Aleksandar Nikilov scored on 10 kills (.529) and three blocks.

ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle, still without Dave Smith, beat Decospan VT Menen of Belgium 25-17, 25-22, 25-21. Erik Shoji passed 76 percent of his receptions positively and 71 percent perfectly. ZAKSA will face the other undefeated team in Pool D,Itas Trentino. These two teams met in the last two Champions League finals.

CEV Cup

Lycurgus advanced to the round of 16 after sweeping Calcit Kamnik of Slovenia 25-19, 25-23. 25-20 and winning the golden set 15-13. Ryan Coenen led with 18 kills (.419) and a block. Kyle McCauley contributed 13 kills (.344) and three blocks.

SVG Lüneburg also advanced to the next round after beating Dinamo Bucuresti 25-23, 25-23, 25-20. Ewert led with 15 kills (.591), one block, and one ace. Cowell chipped in four kills (.091) and a block. Joe Worsley set Lüneburg to a .479 hitting percentage, and he contributed three points from two kills and a block.  Gage Worsley registered a 52 percent positive and 20-percent perfect passing performance. Lüneburg and Lycurgus will play each other in the round of 16.

Kyle Russell is still recovering from an ankle injury and his Arago de Sete team was knocked out of the CEV Cup after losing 25-15, 25-18, 25-23 to Narbonne.

After taking the match to five sets a week prior, Chaumont were eliminated by PGE Skra Bełchatów after a 25-21, 25-17, 29-27 decision. Patrick Gasman finished the night with three kills (.143), a block, and an ace.

Arkas Spor Izmir ended Caruur Volley Gent’s run in the tournament with a 25-19, 19-25, 25-17, 25-17 victory. Dan McDonnell contributed five kills (.833), two aces, and one block. Arkas will face Bruno, N’Gapeth, and Valsa Group Modena in the round of 16.

Michael Michelau led with 22 points for Savo Volley in a 22-25, 25-18, 25-22, 27-25 win over Crvena Zvedza Beograd. He had 20 kills (.500), one block and an ace. Dave Kisiel scored on seven kills (.211) and a block. Savo will face CS Arcada Galati of Romania in the next round.

CEV Challenge Cup

Maccabi Tel-Aviv advanced to the next round with a 22-25, 25-21, 25-16, 25-16 victory over GreenPlan Vrck Kazincbarcika of Hungary. Josh Ayzenburg passed 59 percent positively and 18 percent perfectly. Sam Burgi was used as a substitute in the third set but did not score. The Israeili champions will play PAOK Thessaloniki in the next round.

Dennis Del Valle passed 50 percent of his receptions positively and 38 percent perfectly in a 25-21, 25-22, 25-22 win for A.J. Fonte Bastardo over Akaa Volley. Greg Petty led Akaa with 14 kills (.423) and an ace in the defeat. A.J. Fonte Bastardo will play SC Duo Tartu of Estonia in the round of 16.

JT Hatch started at outside hitter and played the first three sets for Lausanne UC in a 22-25, 25-16, 25-15, 25-19 loss to Deya Volley Burgas of Bulgaria. Hatch scored on five kills (.214).

Odolena Voda’s Neil Ferraro scored six points in the middle on five kills (.300) and one block in a 15-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-19 defeat to Panathinaikos Athens. Tommy Carmody played the first three sets, contributing two kills.

Poland

Asseco Resovia Rzeszów fell to Aluron CMC Warta Zawiercie in four sets during a midweek match. TJ DeFalco scored 18 points on 17 kills (.467) and a block in the 25-21, 30-32, 25-19, 25-22 defeat. Resovia bounced back over the weekend to defeat BBTS Bielsko-Biała by scores of 25-18, 25-20, 25-18.  DeFalco led Resovia with 10 kills (.278), two blocks, and a pair of aces. Jake Hanes did not play for Bielsko-Biała.

Earlier in the week, Hanes scored 16 points for BBTS Bielsko-Biała in a 25-17, 25-22, 25-22 defeat to Trefl Gdańsk. All of his points came from kills, and he hit .237.

LUK Lublin defeated Projekt Warszawa 19-25, 29-27, 25-18, 25-17 in last week’s midweek match. Jeff Jendryk finished with 11 kills (.647), three blocks, and one ace. Lublin followed it up with a 25-22, 24-26, 25-19, 24-26, 15-10 victory over Barkom Każany Lviv during the weekend. Jendryk scored seven points on five kills (.333) and two blocks. Jendryk’s performances earned him a spot on the PlusLiga Team of the Week. Dustin Watten played in the final three sets, putting in a 38 and 15 percent passing performance.

ZAKSA swept Cuprum Lubin, the only team to beat Jastrzębski Węgiel, by scores of 25-20, 25-11, 25-18. Shoji passed 44 percent of his receptions positively and 33 percent perfectly to go along with eight digs. Shoji posted a 56 percent positive and 38 percent perfect passing performance in ZAKSA’s 14-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-23, 15-9 win over PGE Skra Bełchatów.

Indykpol AZS Olsztyn claimed a 25-22, 23-25, 25-19, 26-28, 15-13 victory over Barkom Każany Lviv in the middle of last week. Taylor Averill finished with 11 kills (.647), three blocks, and an ace. Josh Tuaniga scored points on four kills and a block while setting the team to a .376 hitting percentage. Tuaniga faced his former club, Ślepsk Malow Suwałki, on Monday, Despite Karol Butryn being back on the court after an injury, Olsztyn fell 25-21, 21-25, 20-25, 25-23, 20-18. Averill produced eight points on seven kills (.500) and a block. Tuaniga set the team to a .444 attack average in addition to scoring from a kill and an ace.

Russia

With Victor Poletaev suffering yet another injury, Matt Anderson started at opposite for Zenit Saint Petersburg when it beat Belogorie Belgorod 31-29, 25-27, 25-14, 25-21. Anderson finished with 15 points on 12 kills (.370) and three blocks. The MVP of the Russian Super League this week was Anderson’s teammate, Ivan Yakovlev. He won the award on the back of a nine-kill (.500), eight-block performance. Saint Petersburg remains undefeated and in first place.

Micah Christenson set Zenit Kazan to a 25-20, 25-18, 25-20 win over Kuzbass Kemerovo last weekend. Christenson helped his team hit .576 while contributing a pair of kills. Kazan sits in third place with two losses.

Germany

Berlin followed up its cup win with a 25-17, 25-23, 25-16 league win over VCO Berlin. Kessel came in during the second set and finished the match. He produced four kills on seven attempts (.571).

Netzhoppers fell to Herrsching 25-22, 29-27, 22-25, 25-21. Shaw scored seven points on three kills and four blocks in addition to setting the team to a .265 hitting percentage. Barsemian came off the bench for Deweese in the second set and finished the match for the Netzhoppers and had 15 kills (.321). Deweese had produced five kills (.019) when he left the court. Chamberlain scored in the middle on four kills (.500), one block and one ace.

SVG Lüneburg earned a 25-27, 25-21, 25-17, 26-24 victory against Giesen. Ewert led Lüneburg again with 19 points on 17 kills (.361) and two aces. Cowell produced eight kills (.438) and a block. He also had an impressive performance in serve receive with a match-high 74 percent positive passes. Joe Worsley set Lüneburg to a .417 hitting percentage and added a kill. Gage Worsley posted a 38 percent positive and 19 percent perfect passing average. West was used as a serving substitute in each of the sets. He finished with an ace and a kill for Giesen. .

Around the globe

Italy: After having a match with Siena postponed due to COVID, Lube Civitanova was back on the court against Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza last weekend. Alex Nikolov started the first three sets and came in for an impressive service run in the fifth set. He finished with nine kills (.368) and a block. Garcia was used as a substitute in the last three sets. He scored on an ace and a kill (.500). Lube took the match 21-25, 25-21, 16-25, 25-15, 15-13.

Brazil: Austin Wilmot was used as a service substitute in the first set for Itambe Minas in a 27-29, 25-27, 25-19, 25-19, 15-9 defeat to Suzano Volei. He completed one serve with no points or errors.

Türkiye: Halkbank Ankara dropped its first domestic match of the season last weekend when it fell to Ziraat Bankasi 25-21, 25-23, 20-25, 25-16. Micah Ma’a started the first three sets and set the team to a .362 hitting percentage in those sets. He came off the bench in the fourth. He also finished with two kills on the night. These two teams are both 9-1 with 26 points, and Halkbank is currently in first place due to a better sets ratio

Arkas Spor beat Develi Bld. 25-21, 25-19, 25-16. McDonnell put away four kills on six attempts (.667). Arkas is currently in fifth place and is one of five teams with a 7-3 record thus far.

Japan: Jalen Penrose scored 24 points in a 25-21, 25-22, 25-21 victory for Safilva Hokkaido over Tsukuba United Sungaia on Saturday. He finished with 20 kills and four blocks. The next day scored 12 points on eight kills, two blocks and two aces in a 23-25, 32-24, 26-24, 25-15, 15-12 defeat to Voleas Hokkaido.

France: Saint Nazaire defeated Plessis Robinson 25-21, 25-21, 25-23 this weekend. Kyle Ensing led the match with 15 points on 12 kills (.367), two aces, and a block. Quinn Isaacson set the team to .405 hitting percentage while contributing two aces and a block. Tyler Mitchem scored five points on kills (.444) for Plessis Robinson. Saint Nazaire is in fourth place with a 7-3 record and 20 points.

Chaumont remained in first place after a 25-17, 21-25, 25-16, 25-19 victory over Arago de Sète. Both of the middles for Chaumont were the two leading scorers. Pat Gasman had the second-most points with 14 by virtue of 10 kills (.533), two blocks, and two aces. Chaumont is sitting at 8-2 with 26 points. Tours (23 points) and Nantes Reze (21 points) are also 8-2 and are in the next two places in the standings.

Spain: CV Guagas remained undefeated after handling Pamesa Teruel Voleibol 25-18. 25-23. 25-21. Matt Knigee was the team’s second-leading scorer, finishing with 13 points in the middle. He connected on nine kills (.692) without committing an attack error. Knigge also put down four blocks.

Finland: Daniel Wetter and Perungnan Pojat handled Savo Volley 25-18, 25-21, 26-24 last week. Wetter scored seven points in the middle from five kills (.556) and two blocks without committing an error in attack. Kisiel scored 14 points for Savo on 13 kills (.300) and an ace.

Wetter scored 14 points over the weekend in a 25-23, 25-17, 18-25, 20-25, 15-12 loss to Hurrikaani Loimaa. He finished with 12 kills (.526), one block, and one ace.

Akaa-Volley defeated Kyky-Betset 25-20, 25-21, 25-15 over the weekend. Petty scored 12 points on 10 kills (.600), and two aces.

Savo finished the week with a 25-19, 25-23, 21-25, 25-18 loss to VaLePa. Michelau scored 14 points on 12 kills (.250), one block, and one ace. Kisiel started the third and fourth sets, scoring from seven kills (.286).

Switzerland: JT Hatch came off the bench in the second set of Lausanne UC’s 26-24, 27-25, 20-25, 26-24 victory over Concordia Volley Luzern. He passed two serves with 50 percent being rated as positive and 50 percent perfect.

Greece:  A.O.P. Kifisias dropped its second match of the season by way of a 21-25, 25-19, 25-18, 22-25, 16-14 defeat to Athlos Orestiadas. Corey Chavers led Kifisias with 15 kills (.091), four aces, and two blocks.

Israel: Josh Ayzenburg passed 64 percent positively and 36 percent perfectly in a 25-18, 25-22, 25-16 win over Hapoel Yoav Kfar Saba last week. Sam Burgi came off the bench in the second set but did not score.

Andy Koyfman scored 10 points for Maccabi Hod HaSharon in a 25-16, 25-19, 25-16 win over the Academy Team earlier this week. He finished with eight kills (.700) and two blocks.

Denmark: Daniel Matheney scored 14 points in the middle for VK Vestsjælland in a 25-19, 18-25, 30-28, 25-21 win over Chris Hall and Middlefart VK. Matheney had 11 kills (.333) and three blocks. Hall set Middlefart VK to a .162 hitting percentage and scored on a kill.

Patrick Ross finished the weekend with a 15-kill (.333), two-block performance for Nordenskov UIF in a 22-25, 25-23, 25-15, 20-25, 15-11 loss to Gentofte Volley.

Seamus McDonagh scored four points on three kills and one block while setting Hvidovre VK to a .348 hitting percentage in a 16-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-20 win over Amager VK.

Baltic League: Barrus Võru VK lost two matches this past weekend. The first was a 29-27, 25-14, 25-21 defeat to Jēkabpils Lūši. Garret Zolg set the team to a .258 hitting percentage while scoring on four kills and an ace. Matt Slivinski was used as a substitute the first two sets and started the last set, scoring seven kills (.636), one block, and one ace.

Slivinski started the next night against Ezerzeme/DU in a 25-23, 18-25, 25-23, 25-22 defeat. He led his team with 14 kills (.273), two blocks, and one ace. Zolg scored two aces from the line while his setting led to a .250 attack average.

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