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Men's Update: Health Issue Forces Retirement

By BJ Evans | April 08, 2015, 4:24 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 8, 2015) – USA Volleyball regrets to announce that middle blocker Nick Vogel will have to retire from volleyball immediately due to a health issue.

Speaking from Germany, where he has been playing for the club team Friedrichshafen, Vogel said that in February, he received the results from an echocardiogram done last year and they showed an issue with his heart that concerned doctors.

Nick Vogel
   Nick Vogel attacks off a set from Micah Christenson during the USAV Cup.

The doctors and Vogel, 25, thought he would be able to continue playing if he modified his workouts. But a follow-up test, done as a precaution, showed that any strenuous activity could be dangerous for the 6-foot-9 UCLA alum who grew up in San Diego.

“It was not what I was prepared to hear,” Vogel said. “I was really motivated from last summer from working with John Speraw and Matt Fuerbringer. I have never felt better or jumped higher. It’s a shock that I have something so serious, but can’t feel it at all.”

U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said the team will miss Vogel.

“All of us at USA Volleyball are disappointed that Nick will no longer be with the team,” Speraw said. “His unfortunate early retirement was disappointing to all of us because we thought he had the potential to help our team.

“We’re glad he’s healthy and they were able to diagnose this before it became a more serious issue. In the long run, that’s more important than playing volleyball.”

Vogel will stay in Germany to support Friedrichshafen through the playoffs. The German team is leading its semifinal playoff series against Luneburg, 2-0 and looks to have a good chance of meeting the Berlin Recycling Volleys in the finals.

After that, Vogel will return to the United States to figure out what comes next.

“Coaching is something that I am interested in,” he said. “I’ve always loved looking at the game from a more intellectual standpoint. I also love school and I am excited to go to graduate school.

“I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and to a summer of doing things I’ve been missing.”

The U.S. Men’s Volleyball Team, the 2014 FIVB World League champion, will begin defense of the title in Southern California and Hoffman Estates, Ill., this summer.

USA Volleyball will host Iran at the Galen Center in Los Angeles (May 30-31), Russia at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif. (June 5-6), and Poland at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. (June 12-13).

Galen Center Tickets | Walter Pyramid Tickets | Sears Centre Arena Tickets | USAV World League Page | FIVB World League Page 


The Berlin Recycling Volleys, which includes libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii), setter Kawika Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii) and outside hitter Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.) are ahead 2-0 in their best-of-five playoff semifinal series against the SWD Powervolleys Düren. On April 5, Berlin defeated Düren, 21-25, 25-19, 27-29, 25-20, 15-11. Touzinsky scored 12 points on 10 kills and two blocks and was credited with 27 receptions, 41 percent positive. Kawika Shoji started the first set and then played as a substitute in the fourth and fifth sets. Erik Shoji was credited with 22 receptions, 45 percent positive. The two teams will play again on April 9.

Middle blocker Scott Kevorken (Westlake Village, Calif.) and Lüneburg are down 0-2 to Friedrichshafen in their playoff semifinal. On April 4, Lüneburg fell 25-16, 25-13, 25-20. Kevorken scored two points on one kill and one block. The teams play again on April 8.


U.S. opposite Murphy Troy (St. Louis, Mo.) and his Polish PlusLiga team Lotos Trefl Gdansk have advanced to the league finals, where they will play Asseco Resovia Rzeszow, with middle blocker Russell Holmes (Fountain Valley, Calif.) and outside hitter Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.). On April 4, Gdansk defeated PGE Skra Belchatow, 24-26, 27-25, 25-22, 21-25, 15-13 in the final match of their best-of-five series. Troy led all scorers with 26 points on 22 kills, one block and a match-high three aces. The best-of-five final between Gdansk and Rzeszow will begin April 15.


Middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Russia’s visiting Dinamo Moscow won the first of two matches against Italy’s Energy T.I. Diatec Trentino in the CEV Cup finals, 25-23, 23-25, 25-22, 25-21 on April 7. Holt scored eight points on five kills, two blocks and one ace. The teams will play again on April 11.


Max Holt and Moscow fell to Zenit Kazan in the semifinals of the Russian playoffs. On April 4, Moscow lost, 25-23, 25-22, 20-25, 25-17. Holt scored 11 points on seven kills, two blocks and two aces. Moscow will play Gazprom Yugra Surgut for third place. That series begins April 23.

Middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) and Lokomotiv Novosibrisk defeated Kuzbass Kemerovo, 3-0 in the series to determine the teams that will play for fifth place. Novosibirsk will play Fakel Novy Urengoy in the fifth-place series.


In the final week of the regular season, outside hitter Taylor Sander (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Calzedonia Verona defeated Altotevere Città di Castello – Sansepolcro, 26-24, 25-18, 13-25, 25-18 on April 5. Sander scored 14 points on 12 kills, one block and one ace. He was credited with 26 receptions, 54 percent positive. Verona finished the regular season in fifth place in the league.

Outside hitter Joe Sunder (Greensburg, Pa.) and Sir Safety Perugia finished the regular season in fourth place after defeating Expriva Neldiritto Molfetta on April 5, 21-25, 16-25, 25-18, 25-23, 16-14. Sunder played as a substitute and scored five points on three kills, one block and one ace.

Setter Riley McKibbin (Honolulu, Hawaii) and CMC Ravenna finished the regular season in seventh place. On April 5, CMC Ravenna finished the regular season with a 23-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-23 win over Revivre Milano. McKibbin played as a substitute.


In the final week of the regular season, middle blockers David Smith (Saugus, Calif.) and Dan McDonnell (Glendale, Ariz.) and their French team Tours beat Beauvais, 25-23, 30-32, 25-15, 25-17 on April 4. Smith scored 11 points on five kills, a match-high four blocks and two aces. McDonnell added 10 points on seven kills, two blocks and one ace. Tours finished the season in fourth place and will play Sete, which includes U.S. outside hitter Taylor Crabb (Honolulu, Hawaii), in the playoff quarterfinals.

Libero Dustin Watten (Long Beach, Calif.) and Ajaccio defeated Crabb and Sete, 25-22, 26-24, 25-15 on April 4. Watten was credited with 18 receptions, 94 percent positive. Crabb played as a substitute. Sete finished the season in fifth place and Ajaccio in sixth. Ajaccio with play Lyon in the playoff quarterfinals.

Outside hitter Connor Hughes (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Montpellier finished in 11th in the league standings and did not qualify for the playoffs.


In the first match of the league playoff semifinals, outside hitter Brian Cook (Santa Cruz, Calif.) and Panathinaikos defeated PAOK, 25-23, 18-25, 25-23, 23-25, 18-16 on April 7. Cook scored 14 points on 12 kills, one block and one ace.

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