Men's Update: Showdown Coming in Italy

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | Jan. 26, 2018, 5:24 p.m. (ET)

Taylor Sander attacks for his Italian team Civitanova

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 26, 2018) – Competition in the Italian league will heat up this weekend in the semifinals and finals of the Italian SuperLeague Cup.

On Saturday, Cucine Lube Civitanova, including setter Micah Christenson and outside hitter Taylor Sander, will play Azimut Modena and middle blocker Max Holt in one semifinal.

Sir Safety Conad Perugia, with outside hitter Aaron Russell and setter James Shaw, will play Diatec Trentino in the other semi. The final will be Sunday.

ITALY

Christenson, Sander and Civitanova will be looking to avenge their Jan. 21 loss to Modena, 25-23, 25-21, 25-19. Holt scored eight points on five kills (.833 efficiency), two blocks and one ace. American setter Jennings Franciskovic played as a substitute for Modena. Christenson scored one points on a block and set Civitanova to a .378 hitting efficiency. Sander started the first two sets and scored six points on six kills.

Russell, Shaw and Perugia are coming off a 25-18, 25-23, 26-24 sweep of Biosi Indexa Sora. Russell was one of his team’s leading scorers with 12 points on 10 kills (.563 efficiency), one block and one ace. Shaw played as a substitute. American outside hitter Kupono Fey played as a substitute for Sora.

Libero Erik Shoji and Taiwan Excellence Latina swept opposite Ben Patch and Tonno Callipo Calabria Vibo Valentia, 25-23, 25-17, 25-20. Shoji was credited with 14 receptions, 71 percent positive and 43 percent perfect. Patch led his team with 17 points on 13 kills, three blocks and one ace.

Setter Kawika Shoji, outside hitter Jake Langlois and Gi Group Monza suffered a tough 25-22, 19-25, 29-27, 20-25, 15-8 loss to BCC Catellana Grotte on Jan. 21. Shoji scored three points on two kills and one block. He set Monza to a .377 hitting efficiency. Langlois played as a substitute.

Middle blocker Taylor Averill and Revivre Milano fell to Wizo LPR Piacenza, 23-25, 22-25, 25-20, 28-26, 15-11 on Jan. 20. Averill started the first four sets and scored six points on five kills and one block.

Outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke and Calzedonia Verona fell to Diatec Trentino, 25-20, 25-23, 19-25, 25-20 on Jan. 21. Jaeschke led his team with 16 points on 13 kills, two blocks and one ace. He was credited with 27 receptions, 52 percent positive.

POLAND

In a middle blocker battle, Dan McDonnell and Trefl Gdansk beat David Smith and Aluron Virtu Warta Zawiercie, 20-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-15. McDonnell scored nine points on six kills (.750 efficiency) and three blocks. Smith scored nine points on seven kills, two blocks and one ace.

Gdansk will play ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle in the semifinals of the Polish Cup on Saturday.

Setter Jonah Seif and MKS Bedzin beat Luczniczka Bydgoszcz, 25-23, 16-25, 25-19, 25-23 on Jan. 20. Seif scored seven points on five kills and two blocks and set his team to a .366 hitting efficiency.

Libero Dustin Watten and Cerrad Czarni Radom beat Espadon Szczecin, 25-17, 25-15, 20-25, 25-27, 15-13 on Jan. 19. Watten was credited with 17 receptions, 65 percent positive.

RUSSIA

Outside hitter Matt Anderson and Zenit Kazan beat Kuzbass Kemerovo, 25-15, 25-21, 22-25, 25-12 on Jan. 21. Anderson scored 10 points on eight kills and two aces. He was credited with seven receptions, 57 percent positive.

FRANCE

Middle blocker Mitch Stahl and Paris beat Toulouse, 25-17, 26-24, 25-14 on Jan. 20. Stahl scored six points on two kills, three blocks and one ace.

ALUMS

Former U.S. Men’s player AJ Nally is now living in Denver and has launched a volleyball training app called Four Athletes. To learn more, visit fourathletes.com.