COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 21, 2016) – Matt Anderson finished his 2015-16 season with the Russian club team Zenit Kazan in fine form by winning the CEV Champions League; a months-long tournament that pits the best European clubs against each other.
Anderson plays outside hitter for Kazan, but will return to the United States to play opposite for the U.S. Men’s Team and get ready for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Here are five things you might not know about Matt Anderson:
- Music is a big part of his preparation for practice and tournaments. He often provides the soundtrack on the bus when the team is traveling.
- Until he was named MVP of the 2015 FIVB World Cup, he had never won an individual award at a major FIVB tournament.
- Matt has a nephew who is autistic and is involved in autism awareness.
- Shortly after joining the senior Men’s National Team in 2009, he suffered a severe case of pneumonia that left him in the hospital for two weeks.
- He recently added a 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby to his collection of cars.
CEV CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Three teams with U.S. players competed in the final round of the CEV Champions League on April 16-17 in Krakow, Poland.
In one semifinal match, Matt Anderson and Russia’s Zenit Kazan beat Poland’s Asseco Resovia Rzeszow, including outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke and middle blocker Russell Holmes, 22-25, 26-24, 25-18, 25-21. Anderson scored 12 points on nine kills, two blocks and one ace. He was credited 30 receptions, 53 percent positive. Jaeschke and Holmes each scored nine points. Jaeschke scored on seven kills and two aces. He was credited with 20 receptions, 50 percent positive. Holmes scored on seven kills, one block and one ace.
In the other semifinal match, Italy’s Cucine Lube Civitanova, including setter Micah Christenson and outside hitter Reid Priddy, fell to Italy’s Trentino Diatec, 25-19, 25-20, 25-18. Christenson scored one point with a kill and set his team to a .354 hitting efficiency. Priddy played as a substitute and started the second set and scored one points with a block.
In the final, Zenit Kazan came from two sets down to beat Trentino Diatec, 23-25, 22-25, 25-17, 27-25, 15-13. Anderson scored 13 points on 13 kills and was credited with 38 receptions, 42 percent positive.
Anderson finished the Champions League as the seventh leading scorer overall. Holmes was named Best Middle Blocker.
With its back against the wall, Cucine Lube Banca Marche Civitanova, with setter Micah Christenson and outside hitter Reid Priddy, defeated outside hitter Aaron Russell and Sir Safety Conad Perugia, 22-25, 25-18, 14-25, 27-25, 16-14 in the playoff semifinals on April 21. Perugia held a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series, which will continue on April 24. Priddy started every set and scored 15 points on 13 kills and two blocks. He was credited with 35 receptions, 60 percent positive. Christenson scored five points on three kills, one block and one ace. He set Civitanova to a .362 hitting efficiency. Russell scored 21 points on 19 kills, one block and one ace. He was credited with 34 receptions, 41 percent positive.
Both Asseco Resovia Rzeszow – with Thomas Jaeschke and Russell Holmes – and Lotos Trefl Gdansk – with opposite Murphy Troy – lost their first round playoff semifinal matches 3-0 on April 21. More to come
Libero Erik Shoji, outside hitter Paul Lotman and the Berlin Recycling Volleys beat middle blocker Scott Kevorken and SVG Luneburg in the playoff semifinals 2-0. On April 16, Berlin came back to beat Luneburg, 26-28, 26-28, 25-23, 30-28, 15-11. Lotman scored 13 points on nine kills, one block and three aces. He was credited with 53 receptions, 40 percent positive. Shoji was credited with 13 reception, 69 percent positive. Berlin will play the winner of the other semifinal between Friedrichshafen and RheinMain in the best-of-five finals, which begin on April 24.
Middle blocker David Smith and Tours will begin the league semifinals on April 23 against Paris. The semifinals are best-of-three. The league finals are scheduled to start May 7.
Middle blocker David Lee, outside hitter Jayson Jablonsky and PAOK defeated outside hitter Cody Caldwell and AO Foinikas Syrou, 25-22, 25-23, 25-14 on April 19 in the first match of the playoff finals. Jablonsky scored 11 points on nine kills and two blocks. He was credited with 26 receptions, 50 percent positive. Lee scored six points on four kills and two aces. Caldwell played as a substitute and scored three points on three kills. He was credited with nine receptions, 44 percent positive.