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USA Volleyball

US Mens Update The Home Stretch

March 14, 2012, 4:05 p.m. (ET)

B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: (719) 228-6800
E-Mail: bj.evans@usav.org

To view the 2011 U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team Yearbook, click here.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 14, 2012) – As spring approaches, several of the European leagues have already started playoffs to give players time to return to their national teams for Olympic qualifying.

ITALY

U.S. setter Donald Suxho (Korce, Albania) and his Italian Serie A League team Sisley Belluno ended the seven-match winning streak of U.S. middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Copra Elior Piacenza with a 25-10, 25-22, 24-26, 25-23 victory on March 11.

Suxho scored two points for Belluno on a block and a kill and also set the team to a 49.0 kill percent and a .422 hitting efficiency. Holt started the first two sets and substituted in the fourth for Piacenza and scored one point on one attack.

Belluno is in fourth place in the league while Piacenza is in seventh.

U.S. outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) was named the match’s most valuable players as he led Casa Modena to a 25-17, 25-20, 26-28, 22-25, 15-12 win over U.S. opposite Murphy Troy (St. Louis, Mo.) and Andreoli Latina.

Anderson finished with 24 points on 22 attacks (64.7 kill percent, .588 hitting efficiency), one block and one ace. He was also credited with 32 receptions, 50 percent of which were deemed positive. Troy substituted in the first two sets and started the last three, scoring 11 points on 10 attacks (66.7 kill percent, .667 hitting efficiency) and one block.

Modena is in fifth place in the league while Latina is in eighth.

Just a few days after defeating Anderson and Modena, U.S. opposite Even Patak (Pleasanton, Calif.) and U.S. setter Riley McKibbin (Honolulu, Hawaii) helped their team Energy Resources San Giustino defeat U.S. outside hitter Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) and Acqua Paradis Monza Brianza, 25-21, 21-25, 24-26, 25-21, 15-13 on March 11.

Patak finished with 15 points on 13 attacks (50.0 kill percent, .500 hitting efficiency) and two aces. McKibbin added two points on one kill and one block and set the team to a 52.0 kill percent and a .457 hitting efficiency. Rooney scored 10 points on nine attacks (40.9 kill percent) and one ace.

Monza Brianza is in sixth place in the league while San Giustino is in 12th.

CEV Cups

Host Asseco Resovia Rzeszów, the Polish PlusLiga team of U.S. outside hitter Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.), won its first CEV Cup semifinal match over Slovenia’s ACH Volley Ljubljana, 28-26, 25-8, 25-17 on March 14. Lotman was on the roster but did not play. The teams will play again on March 17 in Slovenia.

Rooney and host Acqua Paradis Monza Brianza had a tougher time defeating U.S. middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) and the Russian Super League team Dinamo Moscow in the other March 14 semifinal. Eventually, the Italian team won, 23-25, 25-21, 25-22, 18-25, 15-12.

Rooney started the first set and scored one point on one kill. Lee finished with 12 points for Moscow on seven kills (58.3 kill percent, .500 hitting efficiency) and a match-high five blocks. The teams will play again on March 18 in Russia.

Two teams with U.S. players have advanced to the March 17 semifinals of the CEV Champions League, which will be played in Lodz, Poland. The final matches will be played on March 18.

Turkey’s Arkas Izmir, which includes U.S. setter Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.), will play Poland’s PGE Skra Belchatow in the first match at 2:30 p.m. local time (6:30 a.m. PDT). U.S. outside hitter Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) and his Russian Super League team Zenit Kazan will face Italy’s Trentino PlanetWin365 in the second match at 5:30 local time (9:30 a.m. PDT).

Champions League matches are broadcast live at www.laola1.tv and can also be viewed after they are played.

POLAND

Lotman and  Asseco Resovia Rzeszów won their first two playoff matches over visiting Tytan AZS Częstochowa.

On March 9, Resovia Rzeszów defeated Częstochowa, 25-22, 25-21, 22-25, 25-16. Lotman substituted in the first set and started the next three, scoring 14 points on nine kills (56.3 kill percent, .438 hitting efficiency), three blocks and two aces.

On March 10, Resovia Rzeszów topped Częstochowa, 25-22, 19-25, 25-23, 25-12. Lotman started the first two sets and scored five points on three attacks and two blocks.

The series moves to Częstochowa on March 21 for the third match in the best-of-five series.

U.S. middle blocker Russell Holmes (Fountain Valley, Calif.) and Jastrzębski Węgiel are 1-1 in their first two matches against host Delecta Bydgoszcz.

On March 11, Bydgoszcz defeated Węgiel, 25-22, 25-18, 25-22. Holmes scored five points on four attacks (44.4 kill percent, .444 hitting efficiency) and one ace.

On March 12, Węgiel came back to win, 23-25, 22-25, 25-15, 25-23, 15-9. Holmes scored 14 points on seven kills (63.6 kill percent, .545 hitting efficiency), five blocks and two aces.

The series will move two Węgiel for the next two matches of the best-of-five series on March 21-22.

To view photos from the matches, click here.

FRANCE

U.S. middle blocker David Smith (Saugus, Calif.) and his French league team Tours fell to Rennes in the semifinals of the French Cup on May 10, 26-24 25-20 25-20. Rennes went on to win the French Cup.

Regular play in the French league is scheduled to resume on March 20.

GERMANY

The Berlin Recycling Volleys, including U.S. outside hitter Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.) and setter Kawika Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii), won the first round of the German league playoffs with two victories over the Netzhoppers KW-Bestensee.

On March 10, host Berlin took a 25-21, 25-13, 25-20 victory. Touzinsky finished with 10 points on eight attacks (50.0 kill percent, .500 hitting efficiency) and two aces. He was also credited with 11 receptions, 73 percent positive. Shoji scored three points on one kill, one block and one ace and set the team to a 57.7 kill percent and a .549 hitting efficiency.

On March 13, visiting Berlin won 25-22, 25-18, 25-21. Touzinsky against scored 10 points on nine kills (50.0 kill percent, .500 hitting efficiency) and one block. He was credited with 16 receptions, 62 percent positive. Shoji scored one point with a kill and set the team to a 48.8 kill percent and .425 hitting efficiency.

U.S. middle blocker Matt Denmark (Edmond, Okla.) and the German team VfB Friedrichshafen also won their two playoff matches over evivo Düren.

On March 3, host Friedrichshafen won 25-18, 25-19, 25-18. Denmark scored seven points on four kills (100 kill percent, 1.00 hitting efficiency) and three blocks. On March 1, visiting Friedrichshafen took a 25-9, 26-24, 25-17 win. Denmark played as a substitute but did not score.

TURKEY

U.S. opposite Brook Billings (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Istanbul B.B. defeated Arkas Izmir Spor on March 11, 25-23, 25-22, 26-24. Arkas Izmir Spor is the team of U.S. setter Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.), but he was not on the roster for the match.

Billings led all scorers with 18 points on 18 attacks (51.4 kill percent, .371 hitting efficiency).

Arkas Izmir Spor is in third place in the league and Istanbul is in sixth.

FINLAND

Loimu Raision, the Finnish league team that includes U.S. outside hitter Garret Muagututia (Oceanside, Calif.), libero Dustin Watten (Long Beach, Calif.) and outside hitter/opposite Duncan Budinger (Encinitas, Calif.), ended a four-match losing streak with a 19-25, 22-25, 25-18, 25-20, 15-8 victory over Korson Veto on March 10.

Budinger led all scorers with 26 points on a match-high 22 kills (47.8 kill percent, .391 hitting efficiency), two blocks and two aces. Muagututia added 13 points on nine attacks and a match-high four aces. Watten was credited with 23 receptions, 74 percent considered positive.

On March 13, Loimu Raision fell to Hurrikaani Loimaa, 25-19, 20-25, 25-19, 16-25, 16-14.

Budinger started the first two sets and scored eight points on six attacks and two blocks. Muagututia started the first two sets and scored three points on three attacks. Watten was credited with 21 receptions, 67 percent positive.

Loimu is in eighth place in the league.

SPAIN

U.S. outside hitter Jeff Menzel (Santa Barbara, Calif.) was one of the scoring leaders for him Spanish league team Unicaja Almeria as it defeated Bantierra Fábregas Sport, 24-26, 25-20, 25-23, 25-17 on March 10.

Menzel finished with 14 points on 14 kills (46.7 kill percent, .300 hitting efficiency). He was also credited with 31 receptions, 68 percent considered positive.

Unicaja Almeria finishes the regular season in third place in the league. It will begin the playoffs on March 17 against Ciudad del Medio Ambiente Soria.

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