COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 25, 2015) – Playing in front of an empty stadium, U.S. outside hitter Brian Cook (Santa Cruz, Calif.) and Panathinaikos defeated opposite Carson Clark (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Olympiacos, 25-18, 21-25, 25-23, 25-17 in a Hellenic league match on March 21.
Following the match, Olympiacos announced that Clark was leaving the team by mutual agreement.
Olympiacos’ stadium was empty as a punishment to fans. The two teams are bitter rivals and Greek fans sometimes become unruly when the two teams play, not just in volleyball but in soccer and other sports as well.
During a match in February, when Olympiacos lost to PAOK Thessaloniki, Olympiacos fans threw things at the visiting team, including a trash can. This resulted in the punishment.
“I do not like empty stadiums,” Cook said in a translated Greek press release prior to the match. “In the first game in our home, the atmosphere was fantastic. Anyway, with or without fans the same game is played while being easier to hear each other in this case."
Panathinaikos had not defeated Olympiacos since 2010.
In the match, Cook scored 18 points on 14 kills, two blocks and two aces. Clark started the first set, but did not score. He also substituted in the fourth.
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).
CEV CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
The Champions League final will be hosted by Germany’s Berlin Recycling Volleys, which includes libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii), setter Kawika Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii) and outside hitter Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.), They will play Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) and Zenit Kazan in the semifinals at 9 a.m. PT on March 28. Watch it live at http://www.laola1.tv/en-int/live/zenit-kazan-berlin-recycling-volleys/309809.html.
Asseco Resovia Rzeszow, with middle blocker Russell Holmes(Fountain Valley, Calif.) and outside hitter Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.), will face Poland’s PGE Skra Belchatow at noon PT. Watch it live at laola1.tv/en-int/live/asseco-resovia-rzeszow-pge-skra-belchatow/309812.html.
The third-place match will be played at 5 a.m. PT on March 29. Watch it live at laola1.tv/en-int/live/final-four-3rd-place-match/309814.html. The final will follow at 7:45 a.m. Watch it live at laola1.tv/en-int/live/final-four-final/309820.html.
Middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Russia’s host Dinamo Moscow won the first of their two matches against Belgium’s Volley behappy2 Asse-Lennik, 25-16, 25-26, 25-16 in the CEV Cup semifinals on March 24. Holt was one of his team’s scoring leaders with 12 points on seven kills, one block and a match-high four aces. The teams will play again on March 28 in Belgium.
Middle blockers David Smith (Saugus, Calif.) and Dan McDonnell (Glendale, Ariz.) and their French team Tours won the Cup of France, defeating Beauvais, 20-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-18 on March 21. McDonnell was one of the scoring leaders for Tours with 14 points while Smith added 10.
In the Russian Super League playoff semifinals, Holt and Dinamo Moscow trail Zenit Kazan, 0-2. On March 21, Kazan beat Moscow, 26-24, 18-25, 34-32, 25-18. Holt scored eight points on six kills, one block and one ace. On March 21, Kazan defeated Moscow, 25-19, 25-20, 25-22. Holt scored five points on five kills. Anderson is not playing for Kazan in the playoffs.
In the bracket for fifth-eighth place, David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) and Lokomotiv Novosibirsk are 2-0 against Kuzbass Kemerovo. On March 21, Novosibirsk defeated Kemerovo, 21-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-19. Lee played as a substitute in the fourth set and started the fifth, scoring two points with one kill and one block.
Asseco Resovia Rzeszow, with Paul Lotman and Russell Holmes, has advanced to the finals of the PlusLiga after going 3-0 against Jastrzebski Wegiel in the semifinals. On March 20, Rzeszow beat Wegiel, 28-26, 25-18, 20-25, 25-23. Holmes played as a substitute and scored two points on two kills. Lotman played as a substitute and started the fourth set, scoring five points on four kills and one block.
Rzeszow will play the winner of the semifinal between U.S. opposite Murphy Troy (St. Louis, Mo.) and his Polish team Lotos Trefl Gdansk and PGE Skra Belchatow. Gdansk is 2-1 against Belchatow. On March 18, Gdansk defeated Belchatow, 25-21, 25-21, 25-19. Troy scored 11 points on 10 kills and one block. The teams will play again on April 4.
In the battle for fifth-eighth place, U.S. libero AJ Nally (Rochester, N.Y.) and Transfer Bydgoszcz lead AZS Politechnika Warszawska, 1-0. On March 20, Bydgoszcz beat Warszawska, 21-25, 25-21, 27-29, 25-21, 15-12. Nally was credited with 27 receptions, 56 percent positive.
Middle blocker Nick Vogel (San Diego, Calif.) and Friedrichshafen have advanced in the German league playoffs by defeating setter B.J. Boldog and CV Mitteldeutschland, 2-0. On March 21, Friedrichshafen beat Mitteldeutschland, 25-16, 25-23, 25-15. Vogel did not play in the match. Boldog played as a substitute and scored one point with a kill.
The Berlin Recycling Volleys, with Scott Touzinsky, Erik Shoji and Kawika Shoji, also advanced by beating Netzhoppers KW-Bestensee, 2-0. On March 18, Berlin defeated Bestensee, 25-21, 25-18, 25-16. Touzinsky scored five points on five kills and was credited with 10 receptions, 60 percent positive. Kawika Shoji scored two points with a kill and an ace and set his team to a .470 hitting efficiency. Erik Shoji started the first two sets and was credited with 17 receptions, 76 percent positive.
Middle blocker Scott Kevorken (Westlake Village, Calif.) and Lüneburg are 1-1 with Buhl and will play a deciding match on March 25. On March 21, Luneburg defeated Buhl, 25-21, 19-25, 25-21, 21-25, 15-5. Kevorken scored 15 points on 10 kills, one block and a match-high four aces.
Setter Riley McKibbin (Honolulu, Hawaii) and his Italian team CMC Ravenna fell to Exprivia Neldiritto Molfetta, 25-18, 25-22, 22-25, 21-25, 15-12 on March 22. McKibbin played as a substitute.
U.S. outside hitter Joe Sunder (Greensburg, Pa.) and Sir Safety Perugia defeated Vero Volley Monza, 21-25, 25-16, 25-16, 25-21 on March 22. Sunder played as a substitute and scored one point with a kill.