Men's Update: Then There Were Six

By BJ Evans | Feb. 24, 2015, 12:13 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 24, 2015) – Four teams with U.S. players advanced to the final six of the CEV Champions League. They will play the first two weeks of March.

David Lee
   David Lee thanks volunteers at a Champions League match.

On Feb. 18, host Asseco Resovia Rzeszow (Russell Holmes and Paul Lotman) of Poland took its second win over Germany’s VfB Friedrichshafen (Nick Vogel), 25-18, 25-16, 22-25, 25-17. Holmes scored 11 points on seven kills, a team-high three blocks and one ace. Lotman played as a substitute. Vogel played two sets and scored six points on three kills and a team-high three blocks.

In the next round, Rzeszow will play Russia’s Lokomotiv Novosibirsk (David Lee). On Feb. 18, Novosibirsk won a second match over Italy’s Tomis Constanta, 25-13, 25-12, 25-21. Lee started the second and third sets and scored two points on one kill and one ace.

Russia’s Zenit Kazan (Matt Anderson) won both of its matches over Italy’s Copra Volley Piacenza. On Feb. 19, host Kazan won 25-13, 24-26, 25-14, 30-32, 15-10. Anderson led Kazan with 25 points on a match-high 19 kills, two blocks and a match-high four aces. He was also credited with 34 receptions, 50 percent positive. Kazan will play Turkey’s Halkbank Ankara in the next round.

Italy’s Sir Safety Perugia (Joe Sunder) won both of its matches over Poland’s Jastrzebski Wegiel. On Feb. 18, host Perugia won 25-18, 25-22, 25-17. Sunder played as a substitute. Perugia will play Poland’s PGE Skra Belchatow in the next round.

WORLD LEAGUE

The U.S. Men’s Volleyball Team, the 2014 FIVB World League champion, will begin defense of the title in Southern California and Hoffman Estates, Ill., this summer.

USA Volleyball will host Iran at the Galen Center in Los Angeles (May 30-31), Russia at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif. (June 5-6), and Poland at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. (June 12-13).

Galen Center Tickets Walter Pyramid Tickets USAV World League Page FIVB World League Page

Tickets are on sale now for both Southern California matches. Individual tickets for the matches in Hoffman Estates will go on sale March 9. Group sales for Hoffman Estates are available now by calling (847) 649-2451.

ITALY

Outside hitter Taylor Sander (Huntington Beach, Calif.) led all scorers with 21 points on 18 kills and three blocks as Calzedonia Verona beat Vero Volley Monza, 17-25, 25-20, 25-20, 25-23 on Feb. 21. He was also credited with 24 receptions, 50 percent positive.

Outside hitter Joe Sunder (Greensburg, Pa.) and Sir Safety Perugia defeated setter Riley McKibbin (Honolulu, Hawaii) and CMC Ravenna, 21-25, 25-17, 25-18, 31-29. Both U.S. players played as substitutes for their respective teams.

GERMANY

The regular season of the German league concluded last week with VfB Friedrichshafen, with Nick Vogel, in first place and the Berlin Recycling Volleys, including libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii), setter Kawika Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii) and outside hitter Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.),  in second. On Feb. 21, Friedrichshafen finished the regular season by beating SVG Lüneburg and middle blocker Scott Kevorken (Westlake Village, Calif.), 25-19, 19-25, 25-22, 25-20. Vogel played three sets and scored six points on three kills, one block and two aces. Kevorken scored eight points on five kills, two blocks and one ace. Lüneburg finished the regular season in fourth place.

Berlin finished the regular season with a 25-16, 25-13, 25-20 win over SWD powervolleys Düren. Touzinsky scored eight points on seven kills and one ace and was credited with seven receptions, 86 percent positive. Kawika Shoji scored seven points on three kills and a match-high four aces. He also set Berlin to a .493 hitting efficiency. Erik Shoji was credited with 13 receptions, 85 percent positive.

In the first round of the playoffs, setter B.J. Boldog (Palatine, Ill.) and CV Mitteldeutschland, which finished the regular season in ninth, will play a best-of-three series against TSV Herrsching.

POLAND

The Poland PlusLiga also finished its regular season last week. Asseco Resovia Rzeszów, including middle blocker Russell Holmes (Fountain Valley, Calif.) and outside hitter Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.) finished first in the standings. In their final regular season match on Feb. 21, Rzeszów defeated PGE Skra Be┼échatów, 23-25, 37-35, 25-23, 25-15. Both Holmes and Lotman played as substitutes. In the playoff quarterfinals, Rzeszów will play Cerrad Czarni Radom.

Opposite Murphy Troy (St. Louis, Mo.) and Lotos Trefl Gdansk finished the regular season in third place. The team lost its final regular season match to AZS Politechnika Warszawska, 22-25, 26-24, 25-22, 30-28 on Feb. 21. Troy started the first two sets and scored 10 points on eight kills and two blocks. Gdansk will play Transfer Bydgoszcz, which includes U.S. outside hitter and libero AJ Nally (Rochester, N.Y.), in the playoffs.

Nally and Bydgoszcz finished in sixth place in the regular season. In their final match, they fell to Radom, 17-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-21. Nally played as an outside hitter, substituting for two sets before starting the fourth. He scored six points on five kills and one block.

FRANCE

Middle blockers David Smith (Saugus, Calif.) and Dan McDonnell (Glendale, Ariz.) and their French team Tours defeated Nantes Rezé, 25-19, 25-20, 25-21 on Feb. 21. Smith scored 13 points on five kills, a match-high seven blocks and one ace. McDonnell added four points on two kills and two blocks.

Libero Dustin Watten (Long Beach, Calif.) and Ajaccio beat Narbonne, 28-26, 25-18, 25-18 on Feb. 19. Watten was credited with 25 receptions, 72 percent positive.

Outside hitter Connor Hughes (Costa Mesa, Calif.) scored three points on two kills and one block as his French team Montpellier defeated Tourcoing, 23-25, 25-18, 25-16, 25-17 on Feb. 21.

Outside hitter Taylor Crabb (Honolulu, Hawaii) and his French team Sète fell to Beauvais, 25-18, 25-27, 25-21, 25-12 on Feb. 21. Crabb played two sets and scored two points on two kills.

GREECE

Opposite Carson Clark (Santa Barbara, Calif.) started three sets and scored 12 points as his Greek team Olympiakos defeated M.E.N.T., 21-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-20 on Feb. 21. Clark was a substitute in the first set and started the next three, scoring on 11 kills and one ace.

Outside hitter Brian Cook (Santa Cruz, Calif.) scored 13 points for Panathinaikos as it defeated GS Lamia, 25-22, 25-19, 21-25, 25-16 on Feb. 22. Cook scored on nine kills, two blocks and two aces.