U.S. Men's Update: Mr. Smith in France

By BJ Evans | Feb. 03, 2015, 6:14 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 3, 2015) – U.S. Men’s Volleyball player David Smith (Saugus, Calif.), was on the 2012 Olympic Team and also played a key role for the team at the 2014 FIVB World Championship.

Smith, his wife Kelli and young son Cohen are living in France this winter while David plays for the French club team Tours. Smith has played the last four seasons in Tours, which has won the last two league titles. The team is struggling some this season.

David Smith
   David Smith attacks against Iran during the USAV Cup.

We asked Smith a few questions about the 2014 season and life in France:

Q. When you look back at the 2014 U.S. Men’s season, what do you think about most? What stands out for you? What were the highs and lows?

A. I think it was a great summer of growth for us as a team. We had some new guys in the gym and we had a couple injuries that required some other guys to step up and prove themselves and they did. We laid a good foundation for the next couple summers and we showed that we are capable of playing at a high level so that is exciting. But just the same, we still have lots to work on as we head into this summer and continue our path to toward Rio.

Q. Your team Tours has struggled a little this year. How have you been dealing with that?
A. It's been a rough start for us in Tours this season. We had a couple of freak injuries to key players and it hurt us in how we developed as a team and in points. Now we are all back and trying to find a way to play as a unit. Unfortunately we are out of Champions League but we are still in contention for the French Cup and the Championship. The French League is pretty solid from top to bottom so we have our work cut out for us but we are moving in the right direction so hopefully we can finish the season strong.

Q. Cohen is getting older. What has it been like for you and Kelli to raise him in France this winter? What does he like to do?
A. Cohen has been an adventure this year that is for sure. My wife and I have him enrolled in a French school where he goes to class four days a week with other 2.5-3 year olds. He had a tough time in the beginning because it is all in French, but now he really enjoys it. Outside of class he is as active as ever, loves imitating mom and dad's sports (Kelli is a runner), and is crazy about trains. It's been a blessing that we've been situated in Tours for four season now so that really helps us settle in as a family when we have a little community of friends over here. Because if you think about it, we've spent more time in France as a family than we have in the USA.

FRANCE

Smith, middle blocker Dan McDonnell (Glendale, Ariz.) and Tours fell to AS Cannes, 25-17, 25-19, 25-19 on Jan. 31. Smith scored seven points on five kills and two blocks. McDonnell added three points on three kills.

Libero Dustin Watten (Long Beach, Calif.) and Ajaccio lost to Lyon, 25-23, 25-18, 25-23 on Jan. 29. Watten was credited with 27 receptions, 48 percent positive.

RUSSIA

Middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) scored six points for Dinamo Moscow as it defeated Prikame Perm, 25-19, 25-18, 25-18. Holt was a perfect four-for-four in attacks and added two blocks.

GERMANY

The Berlin Recycling Volleys, including libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii), setter Kawika Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii) and outside hitter Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.), defeated Netzhoppers KW-Bestensee, 25-18, 25-11, 25-19. Touzinsky started the first two sets and scored five points on four kills and one block. Erik Shoji was credited with 13 receptions, 85 percent positive. Kawika Shoji did not play.

Middle blocker Scott Kevorken (Westlake Village, Calif.) scored 17 points for SVG Lüneburg in a loss to SWD powervolleys Düren, 25-20, 25-23, 17-25, 25-20 on Jan. 31. Kevorken scored on 12 kills, a team-high four blocks and one ace.

GREECE

Olympiakos, including opposite Carson Clark (Santa Barbara, Calif.) won the Greek league cup on Sunday with a 22-25, 25-16, 25-21, 25-15 victory over Ethnikos Alexandroupolis. Clark led his team in the final with 21 points on 14 kills, five aces and two blocks.

ITALY

Outside hitter Taylor Sander (Huntington Beach, Calif.) scored four points on three kills and one block as his Italian team Calzedonia Verona fell to Energy TI Diatec Trentino, 25-19, 25-22, 25-13 on Jan. 31. Sander played as a substitute in the second set and started the third.

Outside hitter Joe Sunder (Greensburg, Pa.) played as a substitute and scored one points as his Italian team Sir Safety Perugia beat Tonazzo Padova, 25-19, 25-21, 25-21 on Feb. 1. Middle blocker Antwain Aguillard (Las Vegas, Nev.) played for Padova and scored five points on three kills and two blocks.

Setter Riley McKibbin (Honolulu, Hawaii) played as a substitute and scored one point with a kill as his Italian team CMC Ravenna fell to Cucine Lube Banca Marche Treia, 25-15, 25-18, 23-25, 25-20 on Feb. 1.

POLAND

Opposite Murphy Troy (St. Louis, Mo.) led all scorers as his Polish team Lotos Trefl Gdańsk defeated Cuprum Lubin, 25-18, 25-23, 23-25, 25-20 on Jan. 31. Troy scored 18 points on a match-high 16 kills, one block and one ace.

Outside hitter AJ Nally (Rochester, N.Y.) started the first two sets and scored four points on three kills and one ace for Transfer Bydgoszcz in a loss to PGE Skra Bełchatów, 25-16, 25-16, 25-15 on Jan. 31.

CEV CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

The playoff matches for the CEV Champions League have been set. Each team will play one match at home and one away. Champions League matches are streamed live and also archived at laola1.tv.

Feb. 11: Poland’s Asseco Resovia Rzeszow (Russell Holmes and Paul Lotman) at Germany’s VfB Friedrichshafen (Nick Vogel), 11 a.m. PT
Feb. 11: Russia’s Lokomotiv Novosibirsk (David Lee) at Romania’s Tomis Constanta, 8 a.m. PT
Feb. 12: Italy’s Sir Safety Perugia (Joe Sunder) at Poland’s Jastrzebski Wegiel, 8:30 a.m. PT
Feb. 12: Russia’s Zenit Kazan (Matt Anderson) at Italy’s Copra Volley Piacenza, 11:30 a.m. PT