COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 8, 2018) – In a recent interview for VolleyballUSA, two-time Olympic middle blocker David Smith tells a story about the U.S. Men’s Team 2017 retreat to the mountains.
Smith, who graduated from UC Irvine with a civil engineering degree, was the go-to problem-solver.
The players were divided into groups for a scavenger hunt. Whenever they reached a new station, they had to solve a riddle before moving on.
“My team would basically say, ‘Here’s another logic question, Smith. Figure it out for us.’”
Smith, who did the interview from Poland where he plays for Aluron Virtu Warta Zawiercie, also warns against over-emphasizing statistics.
“People always say, ‘How many kills did you get?’ But kills don’t tell you how often you got down from the block and transitioned quickly so the other middle blocker had to think, ‘I gotta worry about this guy.’ That might open up the outside hitter or the opposite, so it an be just as impactful as a kill.”
Read the entire interview in the Winter 2018 issue of VolleyballUSA.
Unfortunately, Smith and Zawiercie fell to Jastrzębski Węgiel, 25-15, 30-28, 25-22 on Feb. 3. Smith scored three points on three kills.
Coming off their victory in the Polish Cup, middle blocker Dan McDonnell and Trefl Gdańsk have gone 2-0. On Feb. 2, Gdańsk beat GKS Katowice, 31-29, 25-19, 25-21. McDonnell scored 16 points on 11 kills, two blocks and three aces.
On Feb. 7, Gdańsk beat Jastrzębski Węgiel, 20-25, 18-25, 28-26, 25-19, 15-13. McDonnell started the first two sets and scored one point on one block.
On Feb. 4, libero Dustin Watten and Cerrad Czarni Radom beat Dafi Społem Kielce, 25-18, 25-20, 28-26. Watten was credited with 10 receptions, 60 percent positive.
On Feb. 4, setter Jonah Seif and MKS Będzin fell to ONICO Warszawa, 20-25, 25-17, 25-12, 25-22. Seif scored three points on one kill, one block and one ace and set his team to a .291 hitting efficiency.
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Outside hitter Matt Anderson led all scorers as Zenit Kazan beat Ural Ufa, 25-15, 17-25, 25-20, 25-17 on Feb. 3. Anderson scored 22 points on a match-high 16 kills (.625 hitting efficiency), two blocks and a match-high four aces.
Outside hitter Aaron Russell, setter James Shaw and Sir Safety Perugia went 2-0 in their last two matches. On Feb. 4, Perugia beat Diatec Trentino, 25-23, 25-21, 25-19. Russell finished with eight points on six kills, one block and one ace. He was credited with 17 receptions, 41 percent positive. Shaw played as a substitute and scored one point on a block.
On Feb. 7, Perugia beat opposite Ben Patch and Tonno Callipo Calabria Vibo Valentia, 25-20, 25-18, 25-21. Russell scored six points on four kills, one block and one ace. Shaw played as a substitute.
Setter Micah Christenson, outside hitter Taylor Sander and Cucine Lube Civitanova also went 2-0. On Feb. 4, it beat Biosi Indexa Sora, 25-13, 25-20, 25-19. Sander led all scorers with 15 points on a match-high 13 kills (.550 hitting efficiency) and two aces. Christenson scored 10 points on a match-high four aces, three kills and three blocks. He set Civitanova to a .521 hitting efficiency.
American outside hitter Kupono Fey started the third set for Sora and scored three points on three kills. American middle blocker Mitch Penning also started the third set for Sora.
On Feb. 7, Civitanova beat setter Kawika Shoji, outside hitter Jake Langlois and Gi Group Monza, 25-22, 25-16, 25-18. Sander scored nine points on nine kills. Christenson scored three points on one kills, one block and one ace and set his team to a .515 hitting efficiency. Shoji played as a substitute and did not score. Langlois played as a substitute and scored one point on a kill.
Middle blocker Max Holt and Azimut Modena went 1-1 in their last two matches. On Feb. 4, Modena beat libero Erik Shoji and Taiwan Excellence Latina, 28-26, 25-17, 28-26. Holt scored 12 points on nine kills, two blocks and one ace. Shoji was credited with eight receptions, 63 percent positive.
On Feb. 7, Modena fell to middle blocker Taylor Averill and Revivre Milano, 22-25, 25-16, 23-25, 25-16, 20-18. Averill only started the first set and scored one point with a kill. Holt scored six points on five kills and one block.
Outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke and Calzedonia Verona went 1-1 in their last two matches. On Feb. 7, Verona fell to Bunge Ravenna, 29-27, 13-25, 29-27, 22-25, 15-9. Jaeschke led his team with 23 points on 16 kills, two blocks and a match-high five aces.
On Feb. 7, Verona came back to beat Biosi Indexa Sora, 23-25, 25-20, 27-25, 31-29. Jaeshcke started the final three sets and led his team with 18 points on 16 kills (.600 hitting efficiency) and two blocks. Fey started the first and fourth sets for Sora and scored one point on a kill. Penning started the final three sets and scored two points on two kills.
On Feb. 2, Averill and Milano beat Patch and Valentia, 25-17, 26-24, 25-23. Averill started the first two sets and scored four points on three kills and a block. Patch scored 10 points on seven kills and three blocks.
On Feb. 4, Shoji, Langlois and Monza beat Kioene Padova, 26-28, 25-14, 25-20, 25-19. Shoji played as a substitute and scored two points on two aces. Langlois did not play.
Mitch Stahl and Paris beat Ajaccio on Feb. 3, 21-25, 25-19, 25-17, 25-22. Stahl scored seven points on seven kills (.640 hitting efficiency).
Setter Michael Saeta and Chaumont beat Sete on Feb. 3, 25-22, 19-25, 25-20, 25-20. Saeta played as a substitute.
Outside hitter Kyle Russell played as a substitute and scored a point as the Berlin Recyling Volleys beat TV Rottenburg, 25-22, 25016, 25-20 on Feb. 3.