Men's Update: Field Set for 2018 Worlds

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | Nov. 16, 2017, 12:12 p.m. (ET)

The U.S. Men's National Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 16, 2017) – Cuba and Puerto Rico grabbed the final two NORCECA slots for the men’s 2018 FIVB World Championship at a four-team qualifying tournament on Nov.  10-12 in Cuba.

Cuba and Puerto Rico were supposed to compete at the NORCECA Championship in September in Colorado Springs, but were not able to make it due to the weather. The U.S. Men’s National Team won the tournament and qualified for the World Championship along with Canada and Dominican Republic.

In the final in Cuba, Cuba beat Puerto Rico, 25-21, 25-22, 30-28. Mexico finished third while Guatemala was fourth.

All 24 teams have now qualified for the 2018 World Championship in Italy and Bulgaria. View them here.

ITALY

Outside hitter Aaron Russell, setter James Shaw and Sir Safety Conad Perugia improved to 7-0 in league play. On Nov. 15, Perugia beat Diatec Trentino (2-5), 25-21, 26-24, 30-28 on Nov. 15. Russell led his team with 15 points on 13 kills, one block and one ace. He was credited with 14 receptions, 57 percent positive. Shaw played as a substitute.

On Nov. 12, Perugia advanced from the third round of the CEV Champion League by defeating the Belarussian team Shakhtior Soligorsk, 25-15, 25-16, 25-19. Russell led all scorers with 13 points on a match-high 10 kills and a match-high three aces.

Middle blocker Max Holt and Azimut Modena (6-1) beat libero Erik Shoji and Taiwan Excellence Latina (2-5), 26-24, 22-25, 34-32, 25-16 on Nov. 12. Holt scored 11 points on eight kills, two blocks and one ace. Shoji was credited with 16 receptions, 56 percent positive.

Shoji has also started an online volleyball consulting service. You can learn more at erikshoji.com.

Setter Micah Christenson, outside hitter Taylor Sander and Cucine Lube Civitanova (5-1) beat Biosi Indexa Sora (0-7), 25-21, 25-16, 25-15 on Nov. 12. Christenson scored one point on one kill and set his team to a .590 hitting efficiency. Sander started the first two sets and scored five points on five kills. He was credited with 12 receptions, 83 percent positive. American outside hitter Kupono Fey, who plays for Sora, scored five points on four kills and one block.

Setter Kawika Shoji, outside hitter Jake Langlois and Gi Group Monza (2-5) fell to Kioene Padova (3-4)  on Nov. 12, 25-8, 17-25, 36-34, 25-22. Shoji scored four points on one kill, one block and two aces. He set his team to a .376 hitting efficiency. Langlois played as a substitute.

Outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke and Calzedonia Verona (4-2) beat Bunge Ravenna (4-2), 25-23, 30-28, 22-25, 22-25, 20-18 on Nov. 12. Jaeschke played as a substitute.

RUSSIA

Outside hitter Matt Anderson led all scorers as his team Zenit Kazan (11-0) beat Ugra-Samotlor, 25-20, 25-23, 25-12 on Nov. 15. Anderson finished with 16 points on 12 kills, three blocks and one ace.

POLAND

Middle blocker David Smith and Aluron Virtu Warta Zawiercie (1-7) fell to Luczniczka Bydgoszcz (3-5), 25-23, 25-19, 25-18 on Nov. 12. Smith scored nine points on four kills, a match-high four blocks and one ace. On Nov. 15, Zawiercie fell to PGE Skra Belchatow, 25-23, 29-27, 25-21. Smith scored 11 points on six kills, two blocks and three aces.

Setter Jonah Seif and MKS Bedzin beat BBTS Bielsko-Biala, 37-35, 25-19, 21-25, 25-17 on Nov. 11. Seif started the fourth set and scored two points on one kill and one block.

FRANCE

Middle blocker Mitch Stahl and Paris (3-2) fell to Poitiers (4-1), 25-21, 25-18, 25-19 on Nov. 11. Stahl scored three points on two kills and one block.