Men's Update: Champions League Battle

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | March 15, 2018, 7:53 p.m. (ET)

Taylor Sander attacks against Skra Belchatow

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 15, 2018) – The volleyball world was buzzing about Italy’s Cucine Lube Civitanova’s comeback victory over Poland’s PGE Skra Belchatow on March 14 in front of a crowd of 9,600 crowd in a CEV Champions League match at Atlas Arena in Lodz, Poland.

Civitanova, which includes setter Micah Christenson and outside hitter Taylor Sander, won the match 25-27, 26-28, 25-13, 25-22, 15-10.

Christenson scored five points on two kills, one block and two aces. He set Civitanova to a .535 hitting efficiency. Sander started the first two sets and scored six points. He was credited with 17 receptions, 53 percent positive.

To watch a replay of the match, click here.

In other Champions League matches, outside hitter Aaron Russell, setter James Shaw and Italy’s Sir Safety Conad Perugia beat Turkey’s Halkbank Ankara, 25-18, 25-22, 31-29. Russell did not play in the match. Shaw played as a substitute and scored on a block.

Setter Michael Saeta and France’s Chaumont beat Italy’s Diatec Trentino, 17-25, 25-22, 25-20, 21-25, 15-10. Saeta played as a substitute.

Outside hitter Kyle Russell and Germany’s Berlin Recycling Volleys fell to Germany’s VfB Friedrichshafen, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23, 18-25, 15-12. Russell played as a substitute and scored a point on a block. American middle blocker Scott Kevorken, who plays for Friedrichshafen, started the first two sets and scored four points on three kills and one block.

The teams will switch cities and play again on March 20-21. The semifinals and finals will be hosted by Matt Anderson’s team Zenit Kazan in Russia.

ITALY

In the Italian league quarterfinals, Russell, Shaw and Perugia beat Bunge Ravenna, 20-25, 26-24, 28-26, 25-19 on March 10. Russell did not play in the match while Shaw played as a substitute.

Christenson, Sander and Civitanova beat Wixo LPR Piacenza, 25-21, 25-20, 25-14. Christenson scored three points on one kill, one block and one ace and set Civitanova to a .397 hitting efficiency. Sander did not play.

Middle blocker Max Holt and Azimut Modena beat middle blocker Taylor Averill and Revivre Milano, 26-24, 25-27, 25-19, 21-25, 15-12. Holt scored 11 points on seven kills and a match-high four aces. Averill started the first two sets and scored five points on five kills.

Outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke and Calzedonia Verona fell to Diatec Trentino, 25-23, 25-17, 19-25, 24-26, 15-13 on March 11. Jaeschke led his team with 18 points on 12 kills, three blocks and three aces. He was credited with 16 receptions, 38 percent positive.

In the playoffs among the teams that finished ninth-14th in the Italian league, libero Erik Shoji and Taiwan Excellence Latina beat BCC Castellana Grotte, 25-18, 25-22, 2516. Shoji was credited with 12 receptions, 50 percent positive.

Opposite Ben Patch led all scorers as his team Tonno Callipo Calabria Vibo Valentia beat Biosi Indexa Sora, 25-23, 12-25, 25-18, 25-20. Patch scored 16 points on 12 kills, one block and three aces. American Kupono Fey, who plays outside hitter for Sora, played as a substitute and scored five points on five kills. American middle blocker Mitch Penning started the fourth set for Sora and scored one point on a kill.

POLAND

Middle blocker David Smith and Aluron Virtu Warta Zawiercie beat Łuczniczka Bydgoszcz, 25-22 25-20 25-23 on March 7. Smith scored 16 points on 14 kills (.813 efficiency) and two blocks.

Middle blocker Dan McDonnell and Trefl Gdańsk defeated Indykpol AZS Olsztyn, 17-25, 21-25, 25-22, 25-17, 16-14. McDonnell started the fourth set and scored one point on a kill.

Setter Jonah Seif and MKS Będzin beat BBTS Bielsko-Biała, 25-18, 25-20, 20-25, 25-21.  Seif scored three points on two kills and one ace. He set his team to a .414 hitting efficiency.

Libero Dustin Watten and Cerrad Czarni Radom fell to Jastrzębski Węgielj, 25-20, 18-25, 25-16, 25-22. Watten was credited with 25 receptions, 48 percent positive.

RUSSIA

In the first match of the Russian playoff quarterfinals, Anderson and Kazan beat Nova Novokuibyshevsk, 30-28, 26-28, 25-18, 25-14. Anderson scored 19 points on 16 kills (.538 efficiency), one block and two aces. He was credited with 21 receptions, 57 percent positive.

FRANCE

Saeta and Chaumont fell to Tourcoing in the final of the French Cup, 19-25, 24-26, 25-22, 25-20, 15-12 on March 10.

ARGENTINA

Middle blocker David Lee and UPCN San Juan Volley have advanced to the semifinals of Argentina’s league playoffs. San Juan beat Libertad Burgi Voley, three matches to zero in the quarterfinals. In the final quarterfinal match on March 1, San Juan won, 25-20, 25-23, 32-34, 28-26. Lee score 18 points on 12 kills, a match-high five blocks and one ace.

San Juan will play Lomas Voley in the semifinals, which begin March 16.

CEV CUP

Jaeschke and Italy’s Verona lost their first semifinal match in the CEV Cup to Turkey’s Ziraat Bankasi Ankara, 18-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-20 on March 13 in Verona. Jaeschke led his team with 12 points on nine kills, two blocks and one ace. The teams will play again on March 20 in Ankara.