Men's Update: A New League Arrives

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans | Oct. 18, 2017, 7:20 p.m. (ET)

U.S. Men's National Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 18, 2017) – The FIVB has announced that the Volleyball Nations League will replace the World League men’s volleyball tournament starting in 2018.

The Volleyball Nations League will feature both men’s and women’s leagues, with 12 core teams and four challenger teams playing in a round robin format.

The U.S. will be part of the men’s core teams along with Brazil, Italy, China, Serbia, France, Argentina, Iran, Poland, Germany, Japan and Russia. Challengers are Australia, Korea, Canada and Bulgaria.

Every team will play at least 15 matches and each core nation will host at least one pool. There will be a final round for pool leaders.

The U.S. Men, ranked No. 2 in the world, won the World League in 2008 and 2014. The finished second in 2012 and third in 1992, 2007 and 2015.


Outside hitter Aaron Russell, setter James Shaw and Sir Safety Conad Perugia won Italy’s SuperCup tournament. Perugia beat Cucine Lube Civitanova, including setter Micah Christenson and outside hitter Taylor Sander, in the final, 25-20, 22-25, 25-17, 28-26.


I like cups a little more than @jwalkershaw

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Russell was named tournament MVP. He finished the final with 21 points on 15 kills, two blocks and a match-high four aces. Shaw played as a substitute. Christenson scored three points on two aces and one kill and set his team to a .434 hitting efficiency. Sander started the fourth set and scored six points on four kills and two aces.

Middle blocker Max Holt and Azimut Modena took third with a 25-20, 26-24, 23-25, 32-30 win over Diatec Trentino. Recent Hawaii graduate Jennings Franciskovic is also on Modena’s roster, but did not play. Holt scored six points on six kills.

In the first round of the regular season, Christenson, Sander and Civitanova beat opposite Ben Patch and Tonno Callipo Calabria Vibo Valentia, 25-23, 25-22, 22-25, 25-23. Sander started the final three sets and scored 16 points on 11 kills and a match-high five aces. Christenson scored five points on four aces and one kill and set Civitanova to a .469 hitting efficiency. Patch, playing his first season overseas, led his team with 16 points on 15 kills and one ace.

Outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke and Calzedonia Verona beat libero Erik Shoji and Taiwan Excellence Latina, 25-22, 25-22, 22-25, 19-25, 19-17.



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Russell, Shaw and Perugia beat Kioene Padova, 25-17, 25-16, 25-22. Russell scored 11 points on 11 kills. Shaw played as a substitute. Jaeschke led all scorers with 26 points on a match-high 22 kills, one block and three aces. Shoji was credited with 23 receptions, 35 percent positive.

Setter Kawika Shoji, outside hitter Jake Langlois and Gi Group Monza beat Biosi Indexa Sora, including Americans Kupono Fey and Mitch Penning, 17-25, 25-17, 25-16, 25-21. Shoji scored six points on four kills and two aces. He set Monza to a .531 hitting efficiency. Langlois started the first set and scored two points on two kills. Fey and Penning played as substitutes.

Middle blocker Taylor Averill and Revivre Milano beat Diatec Trentino, 25-22, 20-25, 25-20, 19-25, 15-13. Averill scored five points on four kills and one ace.


Middle blocker David Smith and Aluron Virtu Warta Zawiercie are still looking for their first win of the season. On Oct. 15, Zawiercie fell to Jastrzębski Węgiel, 25-14, 25-21, 25-23. Smith scored nine points on five kills, a match-high three blocks and one ace.

Libero Dustin Watten and Cerrad Czarni Radom got their first win of the season, 25-16, 25-23, 25-17 over BBTS Bielsko-Biała. Watten was credited with 23 receptions, 57 percent positive.

Middle blocker Dan McDonnell and Trefl Gdańsk are 3-1. On Oct. 14, Gdańsk fell to GKS Katowice, 25-20, 25-23, 25-22. McDonnell scored six points on five kills and one block.


Zenit Kazan, which includes outside hitter Matt Anderson, is 6-0 in Russia’s SuperLeague.

Anderson returned to the team in time to play in the Cup of Russia preliminary matches, helping the team go 3-0. On Oct. 15, Kazan beat Yenisey Krasnoyarsk, 25-15, 25-22, 25-19. Anderson led all scorers with 13 points, including three aces. The victory advanced Kazan to the Cup of Russia semifinals.


In the opening round of matches in the French league, middle blocker Mitch Stahl and Paris defeated Rennes, 25-17, 25-12, 25-21. Stahl scored eight points on a match-high four blocks, three kills and one ace.

Setter Michael Saeta played as a substitute as his team Chaumont beat Nantes Reze, 25-20, 25-21, 26-28, 25-21.