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U.S. Men's Update: Grand Champions Cup

Oct. 17, 2013, 4 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 16, 2013) – Italy has received the wild card into the FIVB Men’s Grand Champions Cup, which will take place Nov. 19-24 at the Kyoto Prefectural Gymnasium and the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

Donald Suxho, right, celebrates with a Trentino teammate at the World Club Championship
   Donald Suxho, right, celebrates with a Trentino teammate on
   Oct. 17 at the FIVB Club World Championship in Brazil.

The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team qualified for the Grand Champions Cup by winning the NORCECA Continental Championship in September. With the victory, the U.S. improved its FIVB world ranking to No. 4.

Besides the U.S. and Italy, host Japan, Brazil (South America zone champion), Russia (Europe zone champion) and Iran (Asia zone champion) will also compete.

Italy, ranked No. 3 in the world, was selected by the FIVB, host broadcaster NTV and the Japan Volleyball Association due to its position as the highest ranked men’s team that finished second at its continental championship tournament.

The team composition at the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup consists of the four continental champions from continents whose teams reached the highest ranking in the preceding Olympic Games, the host country plus a Wild Card selection.

The FIVB also released the schedule for the Grand Champions Cup:

Nov. 19: United States vs. Japan
Nov. 20: United States vs. Brazil
Nov. 21: Teams travel from Kyoto to Tokyo
Nov. 22: United States vs. Italy
Nov. 23: United States vs. Iran
Nov. 24: United States vs. Russia


Setter Donald Suxho (Korce, Albania), a U.S. Olympian in 2004 and 2012, and his Italian club team Trentino Diatec are 1-1 after two matches at the FIVB Club World Championships in Betim, Brazil.

On Oct. 15, Trentino defeated Kaleh of Iran, 24-26, 25-19, 25-19, 26-24.  Suxho started all four sets and scored three points on two kills and one block. He was also credited with 23 running sets on 79 attempts.

On Oct. 17, Trentino fell to UPCN of Argentina, 22-25, 25-23, 25-22, 16-25, 15-13. Suxho scored one point with a block and was also credited with 26 running sets.

Trentino Diatec also won the Italian Super Cup with a 25-23, 25-23, 25-21 victory over Cucine Lube Banca Marche Macerata on Oct. 9. Suxho was named the Most Valuable Player of the final match.

The regular season in the Italian Serie A League will begin Oct. 20.


The Berlin Recycling Volleys, including U.S. setter Kawika Shoji (Honolulu) and outside hitter Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.) opened the regular season with a 25-22, 20-25, 25-17, 25-19 victory over Generali Haching on Oct. 15.

Touzinsky finished with 12 points on nine kills, two blocks and one ace. Shoji added two points on two kills and helped Berlin to a kill percent of 49.


The first three stages of the French league have been played.

Tours, which includes middle blocker David Smith (Saugus, Calif.) and outside hitter Jayson Jablonsky (Yorba Linda, Calif.), is 2-1. St-Nazaire, which includes opposite Murphy Troy (St. Louis, Mo.), is also 2-1. Toulouse, where middle blocker Futi Tavana (Kalaheo, Hawaii) plays is 1-2.

In notable statistics, Troy is fourth in the league in attacks with 58 points and an average of 8.54 kills per set. He is also fourth in the league in scoring (64 points; 4.92 points per set) and is second in aces (six aces; 4.08 per set).


Outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) and his Russia team Zenit Kazan fell in the finals of the Russian Super Cup to Belogorie, 21-25, 21-25, 25-23, 2-23, 15-13 on Oct. 16. Anderson scored 19 points in the match.

The regular season in Russia will begin Oct. 26.


Hypo Tirol Volleyballteam, which includes U.S. libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu) and middle blocker Andy Hein (Carol Stream, Ill.) is 3-0 and in first place in the league after its first three matches of the season.


In the race for the Belgium league cup, outside hitter Jeff Menzel (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Maaseik fell to Volley Haasrode Leuven in the round of 16, 25-20, 25-18, 11-25, 25-21.

VC Euphony Asse-Lennik, which includes middle blocker Jacek Ratajczak (Warsaw, Poland) defeated Axis Shanks Guibertin A, 25-21, 25-17, 25-16 in the round of 16 and will advance to the quarterfinals.