Men's Update: Coming up, Club World Champs

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans | Dec. 08, 2017, 7:26 p.m. (ET)

Micah Christenson and Taylor Sander playing for Cucine Lube Civitanova

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 8, 2017) – U.S. players Matt Anderson, Micah Christenson and Taylor Sander will get extra exposure on Dec. 12-17 when their European club teams play in the FIVB Men’s Club World Championship in Poland.

Anderson will play with his Russian team Zenit Kazan, which has finished second in the last two Club World Championships. Christenson and Sander will play for their Italian team Cucine Lube Civitanova.

The Brazilian team Sada Cruzeiro Volei has won the last two Club World Championships and will be back this season. The other teams competing are Poland’s Zaksa Kedzierzyn-Kozle and Skra Belchatow, Argentina’s Club Ciudad de Bolivar and China’s Shanghai Volley.

“I expect a very, very tough game from Sada Cruzeiro because they are proven champions who have won many times before,” Christenson said. “They are what we want to be in terms of champions and so that is the reason we expect a huge battle and know that their experience will serve them very well in this tournament.”

The Club World Championship is usually held before the season really get started. This is the first time it is being held in the middle of the season.

“I think it is good because teams have been training together and have some type of chemistry and training together already.” Christenson said. “But it is also very tough because teams could be tired physically and mentally because they're in the middle of their season with very little rest.

“But it doesn't matter when the tournament is because every team will give it their all and be giving their maximum to try to win this tournament.”

VOLLEYBALL NATIONS LEAGUE

Tickets are now on sale to see the U.S. Men play Serbia, Poland and Iran in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League on June 15-17 at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. To purchase tickets, CLICK HERE.

RUSSIA

Outside hitter Matt Anderson and Zenit Kazan won the Cup of Russia on Dec. 3.

In the final, Kazan defeated Kusbass Kemerovo, 19-25, 26-24, 26-24, 22-25, 15-11. Anderson scored 18 points and played a key role in the fifth set as Kazan had to come back from a 5-2 deficit.

Kazan also won its first pool play match of the 2017-18 CEV Champions League, defeating France’s Toulouse, 29-31, 25-20, 25-23, 25-19 on Dec. 6. Anderson scored 17 points on 12 kills, two blocks and three aces. He was credited with 33 receptions, 85 percent positive.

ITALY

Sir Safety Conad Perugia, with setter Micah Christenson and outside hitter Taylor Sander, continues its battle with Cucine Lube Civitanova, which includes outside hitter Aaron Russell and setter James Shaw, atop the standings of the Italian league.

On Dec. 3, Perugia beat BCC Castellana Grotte, 25-17, 29-27, 25-11. Russell scored seven points on six kills and one ace. He was credited with seven receptions, 57 percent positive. Shaw played as a substitute and scored one points on an ace.

Civitanova defeated Calzedonia Verona, including outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke, 25-12, 25-20, 25-18 on Dec. 3. Christenson scored two points on a kill and ace and set his team to a .556 hitting efficiency. Sander did not play. Jaeschke played as a substitute and scored one point on an ace.

Perugia and Civitanova went head-to-head in the first round of Champions League pool play on Dec. 6, with Perugia overcoming a 2-0 deficit to win, 28-30, 20-25, 25-23, 25-19, 15-9. Russell scored six points on four kills, one block and one ace. Shaw played as a substitute. Christenson scored two points on a kill and block and set his team to a .426 hitting efficiency. Sander scored 14 points on 13 kills and one ace. He was credited with 25 receptions, 52 percent positive.

In a brotherly battle, setter Kawika Shoji and Gi Group Monza defeated libero Erik Shoji and Taiwan Excellence Latina, 25-18, 25-19, 27-29, 25-18 on Dec. 2. The Shojis’ parents, Dave and Mary, were on-hand for the match. Kawika score three points on two block and a kill and set his team to a .439 hitting efficiency. Erik was credited with 13 receptions, 69 percent positive. U.S. outside hitter Jake Langlois played as a substitute for Monza.

Middle blocker Max Holt and Azimut Modena fell to Diatec Trentino, 22-25, 28-26, 23-25, 27-25, 15-11 on Dec. 3. Holt scored seven points on four kills, two aces and one block. American setter Jennings Franciskovic was on the roster for Modena, but did not play.

Opposite Ben Patch and Tonno Callipo Calabria Vibo Valentia fell to Bunge Ravenna, 23-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-13 on Dec. 2. Patch scored 14 points on 12 kills and two blocks.

Middle blocker Taylor Averill and Revivre Milano beat Revivre Milano, 25-22, 25-13, 25-13 on Dec. 3. Averill scored four points on two kills and two blocks.

POLAND

Middle blocker David Smith and Aluron Virtu Wata Zawiercie beat setter Jonah Seif and MKS Bedzin, 22-25, 25-23, 25-19, 25-17 on Dec. 2. Smith scored 10 points on six kills and a match-high four blocks. Seif scored four points on two kills, one block and one ace and set his team to a .303 hitting efficiency.

Middle blocker Dan McDonnell and Trefl Gdansk beat BBTS Bielsko-Biala, 25-16, 25-17, 27-25 on Dec. 2. McDonnell played as a substitute and scored one point.

Libero Dustin Watten and Cerrad Czarni Radom beat Cuprum Lubin, 25-19, 21-25, 24-26, 25-16, 15-10 on Dec. 3. Watten was credited with 16 receptions, 56 percent positive. Watten has been named to the Polish league all-star team.

FRANCE

Middle blocker Mitch Stahl and Paris beat Nantes Reze, 24-26, 25-19, 25-22, 25-19 on Dec. 2. Stahl scored nine points on five kills, three blocks and one ace.

Setter Michael Saeta and Chaumont beat Poitiers, 25-21, 25-20, 27-25 on Dec. 1. Saeta played as a substitute.

In the CEV Champions League, Chaumont beat Poland’s PGE Skra Belchatow, 19-25, 25-18, 25-19, 29-27 on Dec. 6. Saeta played as a substitute.